A dream come true

by Lyle Gayder | September 1, 2020
Lyle Gayder

Sitting in the desk of my fourth-grade classroom, I remember writing mock articles modelled after those found in my papa’s Ontario OUT of DOORS magazines.

I remember rearranging sentences from the articles and drawing new ads with coloured pencils that featured some of my own new lures that I thought looked sharp.

In my class, we had free time at the end of the day if we completed our assigned work, and while the other kids played board games together, I was always writing.

Manifesting dreams

My daily journal entries always included fishing tales.

I remember imagining how amazing it would be to one day have something of my own published. Fast forward from that classroom to today, and after spending the last eight weeks as OOD’s assistant digital editor, I can tell you having my dream come true lived up to my expectations.

I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to both the print and digital side of Canada’s best-read outdoors magazine, and it has been an honour to be a part of a team so dedicated to promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the amazing natural resources available in Ontario, all during a time where people simply need more outdoors in their lives.

What exactly is an assistant digital editor?

As a kid, I remember my mom telling people that I would have a job that hadn’t been invented yet when people asked what she thought I would be when I “grew up.”

It seems I proved her right, although I make a poor argument suggesting I have “grown up,” even at age 24.

This job simply didn’t exist when my mom expressed her uncertain, yet unworried prediction to friends and relatives – social media was in its infancy, and the digital edition of the magazine itself didn’t even start until 2014.

So what does an assistant digital editor do?

Under the wings of OOD’s Digital Editor Meghan Sutherland and Managing Editor Jason Bain, I prepared digital articles for the website, posted on social media, composed news articles and releases, edited videos, and wrote a piece especially close to me about the impact of border closures on tourism operators in Ontario.

Although I’m an outdoorsy guy who loves getting up and moving, the variety of the projects happening here at the mag kept me on my toes and engaged, even while working remotely from my home office in Niagara.

The position has offered me an opportunity to learn a lot about myself and my goals, in addition to growing as a writer, editor, and content creator by picking up as many tips as possible from the talented team here.

Opportunities in every situation

My passion for fishing has always been linked to the content found in OOD magazines, with countless summer hours spent by the water at our cottage as a kid, analyzing the articles and ads, whenever I wasn’t out fishing myself.

Inspired by the wonder of Ontario’s lakes, rivers, and streams, I devoted a lot of my life to creating memorable experiences for guests and promoting fishing as a guide in Niagara. Until COVID-19 hit, I also worked as a GIS (Geographic Information System) technician with my local government – a desk job with big corporate flavour.

When I lost that job this spring, and couldn’t guide, it felt like the world was burning down around me; I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that sensation.

As the dust settled, I saw some amazing things happening in the fishing community.

I saw new faces popping up everywhere as people started fishing more. There was energy and momentum that suggested people were going to get through the tough times, and that the outdoors was the space where we would do that together.

Knowing how integral OOD was in my own life in developing my passion for fishing, I knew it was my chance to make a childhood dream come true when I saw the posting for the assistant editor position. Things became personal.

I’m proud to say I was a part of the OOD team during this time. I hope that some of the projects I helped with this summer encouraged people to connect with the outdoors, enriching their lives with the outdoors despite uncertain times.

As my time at OOD comes to a close, there’s no telling where things might take me this fall. It’s an opportunity I’m ready for now more than ever.

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