At L.L.Bean, we don’t just encourage our customers to get outdoors – we love to spend time outside ourselves. That’s why a group of us started up the L.L.Bean Employee Outdoor Club. This after-hours committee gets together to plan fun and exciting outdoor adventures that are open to employees, and their family and friends.
Past trips have included hiking Mount Katahdin, kayaking around Portland Harbor at sunrise, long-distance bike rides and all-day snowshoe trips. We’ve planned trips for advanced mountaineers and complete novices, sometimes even tailoring trips specifically for families with young children.
One of the great things about working at L.L.Bean is that there are so many outdoor experts here. The person in the office next to you might be an experienced ice climber or a lifelong fly-fisherman. So no matter what activity the Club wants to try, there’s always someone nearby who’s qualified to lead the expedition.
For example, L.L.Bean employees Dave L. and Rick Q., both registered Maine guides, recently led a group of 16 fellow employees through a mountaineering course, culminating in a winter climb of Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in New England and home to some of the worst weather on Earth.
An ambitious mountaineering trip like this couldn’t happen without quite a bit of preparation. The group first met in August to brush up on basic map- and compass-reading skills. Then, they got together each month to learn additional skills and try them out on preliminary hikes in Maine and New Hampshire before tackling Mount Washington.
Along the way, they learned valuable lessons about mental and physical preparedness, and especially about teamwork. For example, when a few hikers were unable to complete a hike of New Hampshire’s Mount Madison under brutally cold conditions, the group decided as a team to turn back just a few hundred feet from the summit rather than split up.
If you love the outdoors, L.L.Bean is a great place to work. For starters, we have access to some of the best outdoor sporting gear around. But even more important, we work with talented, enthusiastic sportsmen and -women eager to share their knowledge with each other. By spending time together in the outdoors, we not only get to enjoy new activities, we also build relationships with our coworkers that will last a lifetime.
Do you have your own group of friends or family that gets together to experience the outdoors? What’s been your greatest adventure?