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Following a Dream: from REI Manager to Wilderness First Aid Instructor

Meet Roxanne Tenscher, the kind of skilled outdoor enthusiast you’d love to have around camp.

Roxanne TenscherAlmost 20 years ago—after a long career as a river and mountaineering guide—Roxanne joined REI and eventually became a manager at the REI Portland, Ore., store. It was just two years ago that Roxanne was introduced to the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI), but she was hooked from the get-go.

"I was so impressed with WMI in the ten days that I spent with my instructors,” says Roxanne, “that when the opportunity came up to be part of REI's partnership with WMI, I had to apply." A couple of months later, she and four others became the first graduating class of REI employees who took the WMI instructor training course.
Today, Roxanne teaches a wilderness first aid course about once a month. She even stepped down from her REI management position and transitioned to a sales position so she could spend more time teaching wilderness medicine.

Roxanne has already used her newfound medical skills when hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, which she has been attempting to complete in 500-mile segments, as well as at an urban skateboard park when she attended to a boy who had hit his head in a fall.

What does she enjoys most about teaching WMI courses? The people. "When I first got folded into the WMI family, I thought, 'wow, this feels so familiar!'" she says. "The folks at WMI, like REI, are a group of like-minded people who are healthy and passionate about the outdoors and education." Roxanne says long-term interest is to get more involved with the classes offered by the REI Outdoor School.

Having sat next to the CEO of REI and the director of WMI, Roxanne feels the two organizations mesh perfectly. "REI's mission is to outfit and educate,” she notes, “which is one of the reasons I am still here 20 years later." 
When Roxanne is not at REI or teaching WMI courses, you might find her traveling light and fast on the Pacific Crest Trail (the photos below are of her in the Sierra Nevada section of California), where she has 1,000 miles to go before traveling its full length. Her other favorite activity is kayaking. 

Provided by Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, WMI public relations specialist/writer.

Roxanne on the PCT

Roxanne at Forester Pass


Posted on at 3:35 PM

Tagged: REI Outdoor School, WMI, Wilderness Medicine Institute, rei and wilderness first aid

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wow the view looks amazing up there! where is this?

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englishsteel@121 Staff Member

Yeah Roxanne... So nice to see you last month! Look for more WFA classes in REI stores in 2011! You might even be lucky enough to have Roxanne be your instructor :)

Sky High

Could not think of a better person for the job...Way to go Roxanne!!!!


Can't place the first photo (of the 3). The second photo is Forester Pass, in the Sierra on the border between Sequoia and Kings Canyon. I thought the last photo (from the looks of the rocks) might be the summit of Mt. Whitney, but I doubt it since it appears she has the same clothes on in all three photos, and that would be quite a hike!


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