Colorado native and EVO Programs Director, Steve Fragleasso, has always known two things:
ONE: A full-time desk job would never make him happy.
TWO: He had to pursue a career in outdoor recreation.
Let’s take a quick look at what else this guy is all about. (After all, he might be teaching your kids!)
When were you introduced to the great outdoors?
My parents did a really good job of introducing me to adventures outside. We’d go on lots of trips and bomb around in a camper van. They enrolled me in summer camp every year, which got me climbing; it was something I looked forward to every year.
What was so special about it?
Summer camp was 10-12 days, almost exclusively backpacking with one day of rock climbing. Even though it was just one day of climbing, I loved it. I found friend groups that I had not had anywhere else, and I found myself really connecting with like-minded people for the first time.
So what you’re saying is, you were a little socially awkward and climbing helped you come out of that?
(Laughter) Yes, previously I was pretty un-social. Finding climbers was hugely transformative for me.
Is that one of the reasons you enjoy working with kids?
Absolutely. I like teaching them, showing them new things, and then showing them how the lessons we learn climbing can be applied to radically different areas of their lives. The social challenges they experience in small groups can set them up to learn from each other and work together.
That’s an educational approach. As Programs Director, you work with a rather large age range here at EVO. How do you shift gears between those groups?
For young kids, I’ve always thought, ‘I’m not going to try and stop the flow; I’m just going to direct it.’ If they [the kids] see something they’re excited about, I go there with them, instead of saying, ‘no, we’re not doing that.’
Teaching 9- to 14-year-olds is really interesting because they are actively making decisions about who they want to be. Through climbing, they can find self-empowerment, risk management and problem-solving. It’s such a unique way to explore personal challenges. Everyone has to make real decisions without patronizing each other or themselves.
With older kids, I can share more of a technical skill set and help them reach their goals for climbing.
Aside from summer camp, where did you learn your skill sets for climbing?
I worked for a small guide company out of Golden, Colorado [Golden Rock Guides], which is no longer around. After that, I spent 7 years with Avid4 Adventure in just about every role. During the last two years I found myself behind a desk, which was okay, but working here at EVO with so many moving parts is more my speed.
Last few questions: EVO Summer Camps are coming up. What are you excited about in regards to those sessions?
As a former cereal-and-cartoons kid, I love the aspect of ‘unplugged’ play. Seeing kids’ excitement to be away from screens is a big driver for my passion.
Anything else we should know about you?
I may or may not have a picture of me trying to run EVO Director of Operations, Jon Sullivan over with a steamroller.
Thanks very much, Steve! You have the EVO blog blessing to continue teaching kids.
Trust Steve to teach your kiddos the ropes (pun intended)? Summer Camp signups open February 1, 2019. Sign up before February 14 to Save 20% OFF all week-long indoor camps and $50 OFF all 4-day Outdoor Camps.
Interview by Sarah Fountain