Live Your Best Outdoor Life with a Job in Tourism

Mani Cuza's summer job turned into a year-round opportunity to flex soft skills and build connections in her field.
Kayaking on the lake at sunset

Work at the mall? Very mid. “A lot of other people my age are working in grocery stores or clothing stores,” says student Mani Cuza. “And I knew that I did not want to work inside doing something like that.” So she made sure her love of the outdoors was baked right into her part-time job.

The summer between high school and university, she started working at Kivi Park in Sudbury. A much-loved local park, Kivi is a 480-acre natural playground that’s home to everything from hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and biking trails to kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing.

Mani works at Kivi Park part-time, year-round. “The best thing about my job in tourism is probably the people that I meet, and the experiences I get to have along with them,” she says. “I like being able to teach them a little bit about what I do out here; I love seeing the look on their faces when they get to experience something like being out in the canoe for the first time.”

Making the Move from Entry-Level to Manager

Mani liked her job’s independence right from the start, she says. “I started at the bottom but I was pretty much my own boss from the beginning.” She worked at Kivi Park all through her undergrad, and the role continues to fit her schedule as a Master’s student.

Her summer job has turned into a year-round opportunity to develop skills and forge connections. Mani’s roles have included handling outdoor equipment rentals, maintenance, and events— and now she’s a manager.  There are a tonne of entry-level positions for those just getting started, she says, adding “I brought my sister in with me this year, and this is one of her first jobs.”

Flex those Transferable Skills

Along the way, Mani has picked up plenty of useful soft skills. “The skills that I’ve learned here definitely can be used in other jobs or volunteer experience: Time management, being able to work by yourself, and being able to work with other people,” she says. “ They are totally transferable for just about anything.”

School and Work… Very Doable

Like some other tourism jobs, Mani’s positions change with the seasons, so she is able to balance work hours with school and studying. “There are ups and downs of busy times and not busy times,” she says. “So you can kind of pick your time and use that time to do whatever it is you need to do.”

Reading a textbook is a lot more fun when you can do it from an Adirondack chair during your lunch break, surrounded by boreal forest on the shores of a beautiful lake, she adds with a laugh. During the busier summer season, she works a 40-hour week—securing that bag for another year of student life.  

Mani smiling dripping kayak paddle mani carrying a kayak

Building Solid Connections

“I’ve made a lot of connections with this job, with my co-workers and my bosses and other people that are working in proximity to me,” says Mani. She’s a physiotherapy student, and her time at Kivi also puts her in contact with professional physios who are out enjoying their best outdoor life. “I’ve met a tonne of physiotherapists who have offered to give me help here and there. The connections I make out here are definitely beneficial.”

Nature is Lowkey Your Co-worker

“The part about this job that I love the most is that it’s not high-tension at any point. Working outside on its own is pretty calming,” Mani says. “But as well, people are here to enjoy their time…being able to just be part of the plan that people have, that they’re just gonna come out and have fun. It relieves a little bit of stress on you, and lets you have fun with them.”

Live Your Best Outdoor Life

Hey nature lovers, adventure seekers and dreamers – tourism understands the assignment. This industry offers:

And since it's poised to expand to almost 2.29 million jobs by 2035, it’s a great time to think about whether a career in tourism is the right choice for your future.

Tourism Rocks
About Bonnie Schiedel

Bonnie Schiedel is the founder of www.tbaywithkids.ca, which covers fun family-friendly attractions, events and restaurants in Thunder Bay. She enjoys canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing and travel, and you can read more of her award-winning work at www.northstarwriting.ca.

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