Co-Founder & Operations Chief
You know those nature documentaries with guides clad in khaki, walking through tall grass, whispering in hushed tones about rare birdcalls? Well, that’s Dale. And no offense to current company, but he’d always rather be in the dusty backcountry in Botswana, his landlocked home in Southern Africa. Now based in Durham, North Carolina, Dale is responsible for the rigorous day-to-day operations of the Challenge The Wild USA offices.
Early in his career, Dale travelled the world in the British Army – rising to the rank of Major – with deployments to Northern Ireland, Canada, the Middle East, and Germany. Later, he worked as a sporting events director for 15 years. (Let him know if you aspire to run an ultra-marathon across the interior salt pans of Botswana, because he can point you in the right direction.) He has also been involved in building Botswana’s safari industry. So if that’s on your bucket list – and really, it should be – he’s got some pro tips for you.
Mindful of people in need, Dale has served on the boards of several nonprofits and has run a fundraising charity in Botswana for 10 years that focuses on the needs of women, children, and the disabled. During that period, the charity has raised USD1.3 million for those in need, including one project that fit specialist wheelchairs for disabled children allowing them to be mobile for the first time ever, in some cases
Dale holds a certificate in Events Management from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and has led expeditions in Botswana and adventure training in the UK and Canada
As co-founder of Challenge The Wild USA, and in his day-to-day running of its Durham headquarters, Dale is fiercely committed to the needs of clients, to ensuring a professional and safely run event, and to the hope that folks walk away with a “wow” story to share at the dinner table.
Co-Founder & Chief of Program Design & Governance
It was Dan's vision for Challenge The Wild (UK), its flagship location, that led to off-the-charts growth after that first hike six years ago. (Ask him about that time when he came up with the concept sat on a rock!) His design is in high demand: UK operations are now hosting 250 trips annually, with bookings more than a year in advance.
Taking calculated risks is in Dan’s blood. It’s why he signed up for a 20-year military career in the British Army – the regulars and reserves, eventually rising to the rank of Captain – where assignments took him to the Balkans, East Africa and the Middle East. His passion for veteran wellness led him to design a Veterans Hiking Club, and to raise funds for ongoing vet support (see Walking with the Wounded and Walking Home for Christmas).
Never one to back down from a challenge, Dan has participated in or led mountain climbing and hiking expeditions across the Pyrenees, Machu Picchu, Spain’s Sierra Nevada, the Alps, the Dolomites, Mount Kenya, and throughout the Lake District in northwest England. He was also part of a dynamite team that recently summited Mont Blanc. He has been awarded several British Army Commendations for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic in training and innovation.
When he (somehow-we-don’t-know-how) finds extra hours in his day, he studies project management. He holds a post-graduate certificate in humanitarian response and has been awarded certificates in health and safety, as well as medical planning.
With all that background and experience, Dan is the guy you’d want around if you were ever ship-wrecked on a desert island with no hope of rescue. He is ruthless in his detailed planning, and is known among his peers as an unfailing optimist.
Support Team Leader
Paul is the type who would enthusiastically “go first” rappelling down a 130-foot tower dating from the 1850s. You know, to show it’s safe. And fun. (But to be honest, mostly so he wouldn’t have to wait another minute himself.)
Paul spent nearly four decades seafaring in the commercial shipping industry, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. The last half of that time was dedicated to working in high-security cargo shipping. His career allowed him to travel the world and it was while posted in Japan that Paul was introduced to the practice of Shinrin-Yoku. The discipline is sometimes called “forest bathing” and strives to achieve and maintain mental health by being outdoors, particularly in forest environments. Relative to the hustle-bustle of a city context, the practice has been shown to promote lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone), lower pulse and blood pressure, and help walkers and hikers to achieve a greater sense of calm.
Paul completed training as a Mental Health Counselor at Bury College (UK) and serves on the board of trustees at Bury Involvement Group, nonprofit dedicated to offering mental health services to adults. With that training, it makes perfect sense that Paul was tapped to be the chief author of Challenge The Wild’s Mental Fitness Workshop, a popular module that hundreds of people have completed in the last few years.
Challenge the Wild USA
Copyright © 2023 Challenge the Wild USA - All Rights Reserved.