Why I love being a Zipline Instructor
Thursday June 3, 2021
Written by Hailey, an instructor from Go Ape Nebraska.
When I applied to be an Adventure Course Guide for Go Ape, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was asked to come in for an interview and decided to take a chance on my future. I’m so glad I did. This job, though unconventional, has been the best one I’ve ever had. Here’s why I love being a zipline instructor:
1. Adventuring on the Course
Before guests arrive, instructors get to climb around on the course. I’m a coffee fiend but trust me: there’s no better way to wake up than ziplining 440-feet. I also love closing out my day with one last adventure. Sometimes, when the timing is just right, I end my shift ziplining at sunset. All that climbing sure gets a good workout in on the job, and it doesn’t have to stop there. Instructors can do the course on their days off. Once, I went with my family, and another time I brought friends. Sharing this experience with them made it even more entertaining.
2. Hanging Out in the Trees
Imagine spending the entire day in a vibrantly green forest. In spring, we watch the plants bloom, giving new life to the park. In the fall, I feel like a kid again, jumping in piles of leaves we raked. Being in the trees is not only beautiful but feels like true freedom. We see wildlife like deer, turkeys or even snails. Last year we made friends with a stray kitten who would eat cat food right out of our hands. I spent so much time growing up outside, but as an adult, it’s harder to find reasons to get out. Sure, I love lounging around watching Netflix, but I’m genuinely happier when I’m breathing in fresh air. Sometimes I’ll come home from work muddy or soaking wet, but I’m always smiling.
3. Helping Guests
A big part of my job is to help guests safely navigate the course. First, I’ll demonstrate how the equipment works. Then, I’ll help them try it out. Once they have got the hang of it, I’ll jump in wherever I’m needed along their journey. Sometimes that’s simply a pep talk that encourages them to step off the Monkey Drop and enjoy a freefall! Other times, it’s getting up on the course and physically assisting them overcome a crossing. Helping guests get through a difficult moment gives me, as an instructor, a sense of purpose. I’ve learned so many cool tricks and techniques to do so. I didn’t even know it was possible to ascend a zipline, but now, surprisingly, I can ascend, and ascend quickly!
4. Meeting Cool People
I love to chat with thrill-seeking guests. Many stop in while visiting from all over the world. Some have traveled to various zipline parks and tell me about their experiences. The kind of people who are drawn to heights are the kind who have compelling stories to share. That’s no different for employees. My coworkers are some of the most interesting people I know — creative, nutty and, of course, adventurous. It’s always a fun day when you’re working with fun people! We keep track of silly things we say on a white board. We grow closer on maintenance days: without guests, we’ll work together to mulch landing sites or do course construction. During our time off, we even grab a bite to eat once a week. We’ve grown so close while chatting over French fries! I know it’s cliche, but we really are like a family.
5. Watching People Conquer their Fears
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is watching people overcome their fears. Those afraid of heights will sign up to push themselves. Others power through so that their kids can have fun. It’s inspiring to watch scared guests take their first step on the course. With each site, their smiles grow bigger alongside their confidence. Once they ride down the last zipline, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate that accomplishment together.
For some, conquering a Go Ape course is their proudest accomplishment. While no job is perfect, being part of that experience makes even the off-days worthwhile. Those interested in becoming a zipline instructor should visit goape.com/jobs. You won’t regret it.