Monday, July 13, 2015

ACE Adventure Resort's Shanna Crompton Discusses Success in the Outdoor Adventure Industry

Herrin native Shanna Crompton leads by example for anyone looking to build a rewarding career while thinking "outside the office." She is an Operations Manager, Equipment Manager, Trainer and Trip Guide at ACE Adventure Resort, a popular Girl Scouts travel destination in West Virginia that provides  hundereds of guests with the opportunity to whitewater raft, zipline, stand up paddleboard, kayak and more.  
See what Shanna has to say about thriving in this male-dominated industry during a recent Q&A Session in Misadventures Magazine:

Her Duties:
Operations Manager:
"I am responsible for over 150 employees spanning several departments.  In brief, I deal with scheduling, discipline, safey and personnel issues.  I coordinate daily staff assignments, communicate with other departments to keep logistics running effectively and respond to any emergency (evac) sitautions.:
Equipment and Wetsuit Manager (Buyer/Planner):
"I keep inventory and track depreciation of all our outdoor gear."
"I train all the new guides coming in each spring with the technical skills and safety standards needed to be successful guides while demonstrating ACE's expectations for customer service."
Trip Leader:
"This is where I get to get out on the river with our guests.  Being a Trip Leader, I am legally responsible for anywhere from four to 60 guests and guides, keeping up safety standards and order on each trip ... and making sure everyone has a good time."
How She Got There:

Shanna has bachelor's degrees in International Trade, Spanish and Business Administration and had a corporate career in Spain.  While she flourished professionally, she found the routine routine of it was the right fit.  When a friend asked Shanna to come along with her to ACE, she agreed and started there as a trip guide.

"Training was tough," Shanna said "There were plenty of days, after big flips and long, scary swims that I wanted to pack up [...] but I am stubborn and I wouldn't let myself quit."

As she continually proved herself, she was offered more and more responsibilities, eventually taking on managerial roles, despite resisting the idea for two years.

"Then it hit me. If I took on a man­age­r­ial role, it meant this raft guide world was becom­ing my “grown-up job”. I real­ized I didn’t have to be a stereo­typ­i­cal city busi­ness­woman to be a pro­fes­sional in my work."

Her lessons as a female in a male-dominated field:

" First, as a female, you don't necessarily have to work harder or sweat more to prove yourself.  Anyone with a strong work ethic can move up.

That being said, I've learned to lead by example.  Actions truly do speak louder than words.  If my peers see me working with proper technique and composing myself in a professional manner while still bringing good tips from my guests, they're more likely to emulate that.  That in turn, makes my job easier as a manager.

I've learned tha tin the rafting industry, stereotypes about women abound, but you don't have to live up to them.  Steering clear of those generalities is a major part about why I believe I moved up so quickly."

Her advice to girls and women entering the outdoor adventure industry:

"Be strong and independent.  There aren't guy chores and women chores.  You can learn and conquer feats just as easily as any man.

Don't be a stereotype.  Don't talk a big game, but when it comes down to it play the 'little 'ol me' card to get out of physically demanding work.  It's infuriating.  Respect yourself and others will respect you too.

Read Shanna's entire interview at Misadventures Magazine ... the Outdoors Magazine By and For Adventerous Women.  Thank you to Misadventures Magazine and contributor Katie Dudley for giving us permission to share. 

There's still time to register for GSSI's upcoming trip to ACE Adventure Resort!

ACE is the place to go for adventure! Join GSSI on an exciting trip to West Virginia. Experience a full day whitewater rafting on the New River Gorge with a grilled riverside lunch then hang back and spend time on the lake with water trampolines and the "Blob". You will also get to choose your own additional activity. Do you want to zipline, rock climb, paddleboard or maybe go horseback riding? The choice is yours. Price includes charter bus transportation, lodging for 3 nights, 9 meals, whitewater rafting, lake activities and choice of second activity. 
Date: July 19, 2016 at 6 a.m. to July 22, 2016 at 3 p.m. 
Location:  ACE Adventure Resort - Oak Hill, West Virginia 

Payment Schedule: 
Deposit of $50 is due with online or mailed registration.
Balance due as follows:
$450 (girl) or $485 (adult) due in single payment by October 29, 2015

OR make 3 additional payments as follows:
$150 (girl or adult) due October 29, 2015
$150 (girl or adult) due February 25, 2016
$150 (girl) or $185 (adult) due May 26, 2016

For more information, please contact Program Manager Mary Buchanan at 800.345.6858, ext. 1115 or e-mail