Adventure as a Career
Matt Loy, 26
Major: Recreation and Leisure Studies, Minor in Outdoor Education
Hometown: Essex, Massachusetts
Matt Loy works as an architect, safety inspector, carpenter and physicist all in one. As an extra challenge, the ’06 graduate from Essex, Massachusetts, performs the combination of jobs in a harness between 10 and 60 feet in the air, designing ropes courses for outdoor education programs around the world.
Since May, Loy, who majored in recreation and leisure studies and minored in outdoor education, has been working for Project Adventure, whose mission is to provide leadership and learning through experiential adventures. His official job title is ‘inspection and repairs coordinator,’ but his work means more to him than performing safety checks on challenge courses or building and repairing courses.
Loy’s new position combines the skills he gained as a Gordon student and the 15 years he worked with Gordon’s La Vida program in upstate New York—which is celebrating its 40th year anniversary.
“La Vida is a 12-day trip in the wilderness that 200 Gordon students take each summer, but to me it’s also a philosophy on life that I can take back to Massachusetts,” says Loy, who recently completed his master’s degree in experiential education from Minnesota State University in Mankato. “That philosophy is to embrace challenges, because ultimately those challenges will bring me closer to Christ and teach me to serve Him.”
Loy hopes his work will encourage others to view challenges as opportunities to grow. Considering the places he’s built ropes courses—from across the U.S. to China and South Africa—Loy has already had an impact on adventure programs across the world.
“I see value in creating opportunities for people to experience God in ways that they may not be able to through their normal routines,” says Loy.
While he finds meaning in seeing his work serve others, Loy is also energized by the physical and creative challenge of building courses. “I’m designing things to challenge people, and no two courses are ever the same—so I’m often at the limit of my own comfort zone,” he said.
While Loy is excited and encouraged by his work with Project Adventure, he someday hopes to be a teacher of outdoor education, combining the skills he’s been learning since his wilderness career officially began at age 14.
“Outdoor education is something I’m good at and is something that’s meaningful to God’s Kingdom,” he says. “It helps people in practical ways.”
—Natalie Ferjulian, 2011