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Experiential Training Program created for businesses
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The SUNY Fredonia Faculty-Student Association (FSA) has named Ryan Sharp as program coordinator of the new College Lodge Workforce Experiential Training Program. 

"I’m excited,” said Mr. Sharp, a Syracuse area native who previously spent two years as program coordinator of the Outdoor Education Center at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga.   “It is an honor to be selected to start this program.  I feel like this is going to be right up my alley.” 

The FSA has created the College Lodge Workforce Experiential Training Program with a $57,658 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.  The funding will allow FSA the opportunity to add on to its Challenge Course – a series of outdoor team-building tasks -- at the College Lodge in the Town of Brocton .  Mr. Sharp will also have financial support to train his staff and market the program to employers in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Alleghany Counties. 

“Experiential education is a highly effective and flexible method to teach team-building skills, create leaders, build motivation and confidence, foster communication and increase productivity,” said Mr. Sharp.  “We will offer several programs, from a one-day affair on the Challenge Course to a multiple-day visit where catered meals and sleeping accommodations will be provided.  Our facilitators will take groups through the program with the intent of promoting positive change in the behavior of the participants.” 

Mr. Sharp earned his M.S. Ed in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Outdoor Education Administration from Georgia College and State University .  He completed his undergraduate schooling at Cortland College , where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education.  A lifelong outdoorsman, Mr. Sharp spent the past summer working with inner-city youths from Boston, Mass. as Adventure Coordinator at Camp Coca-Cola . 

As program coordinator of the College Lodge Workforce Experiential Training Program, Mr. Sharp believes one of his first duties is to change the perception some may have regarding the prospect of testing oneself away from the safety and comfort of the workplace.

“People may perceive the challenge course as some kind of military-style obstacle course, but it’s really not like that,” he said.  “Our goal, when we get people up here, is to get them to do as much as possible, but each individual can choose his or her level of involvement.”

Mr. Sharp is currently completing the policies and procedures manual for the experiential training program, working with his new staff members and preparing for what he hopes will be an active winter at the College Lodge. 

“One of my goals is to get people in here this winter, to break the place in,” Mr. Sharp said.  “There are exercises and activities we can do indoors, and it would be nice to get some employers out here to take advantage of the program during those winter months.  Then, in the summer, we’re going to want to have as many groups as we can come in for the one-day, two-day, three-day training sessions.” 

Area businesses have already expressed interest in the College Lodge Experiential Training Program, and Mr. Sharp is enthusiastic about the road ahead. 

“It’s good to get people to work outside their comfort zone, because that’s where real learning takes place," he said. " We’re going to help our clients develop more cohesive teams and achieve their goals as an organization, whatever those goals may be.”  

For more information on the College Lodge Workforce Experiential Training Program, contact Ryan Sharp at the College Lodge at (716) 792-4277. 

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