Outdoor pursuits is the recreation and adventure education program at Ohio University’s Recreation Campus. The organization provides students, faculty, staff and the community of Athens with many opportunities for healthy outdoor recreation and leadership development. It also emphasizes experiential learning and environmental awareness.
Many programs offered by Outdoor Pursuits involve immersing yourself in the wilderness of Southeast Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
“I would say our mission or our goal is to expose people to different opportunities that hopefully can empower them,” said Leanne Chapman, graduate assistant for Outdoor Pursuits. Whether it’s through rock climbing or traveling, the challenge course, renting gear from us or just talking to people and making those connections, not only with each other, but maybe with the community and the local natural spaces around here. “
The Outdoor Pursuit Challenge program has grown in popularity throughout the semester and there are four programs that those interested can participate in.
“We have our climbing wall, we have our trips that we run throughout the semester, we have (skills) clinics every now and then, and then we have our Challenge program,” Chapman said.
The Challenge Program focuses on team development goals like problem solving, building trust, creating a positive work environment, collaboration and effective communication. Some of the challenges are physical while others are mental.
“The challenge program is for groups,” said Caeley Grady, graduate assistant for Outdoor Pursuits. “They don’t have to be students here, teachers or teachers. It could be community members or people from Ohio who want to come and work on some kind of team building. Usually, these groups have a goal or goal that they come with, and they will let us know beforehand, and then the activities that we will do will help them achieve that goal. We can do this via mobile team building games or we have the low ropes course or the high ropes course. “
Due to the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Outdoor Pursuits has also developed a one-hour virtual team building program.
In addition to the Challenge program, the organization also offers high and low ropes courses in which the public can participate. Acrobatic and acrobatic courses aim to improve communication, strengthen camaraderie and energize the team involved. High-string courses consist of being suspended nearly 40 feet in the air, while low-string courses are up to 12 feet high.
Outdoor Pursuits also offers zipline and mobile team building opportunities. The zip line is 300 feet long. Mobile team building allows participants to do team building in any location of their choice. This can include the Ping Recreation Center or anywhere on or off the OU campus.
However, it does not matter whether one is experienced in this kind of activity or not.
“For the programming of the challenge courses, for any programming that we have, there is no benchmark,” Chapman said. “We want (Outdoor Pursuits) to be where everyone can do it, regardless of their experiences. That’s the goal: to make people discover different things.
As long as participants book at least 10 people, anyone can try the classes offered by Outdoor Pursuits. Additionally, Outdoor Pursuits tries to keep prices within a reasonable range for students, with registered students paying between $ 12 and $ 25 for programs and unregistered participants paying between $ 15 and $ 30.
More than anything, Outdoor Pursuits tries to create opportunities to make friends and build community, as well as help high school students adjust to OU.
“You make friends,” Grady said. “You find people that you may never have been connected with before. In addition, you learn other skills such as communication and leadership through our activities. We also usually do new adventures for our freshmen, and it’s an experience before the start of the freshman year they go to (in) Minnesota on a canoe trip. They can learn things like communication, teamwork, leadership skills, so that they can learn all these different transferable skills that they can use in their day to day life or in their future.
The organization is also always accepting new members and is open to those who are interested, as well as those who may not have experienced much of the outdoors.
“We are open to everyone. Anyone can come and join us, ”Grady said. “You don’t need to have previous experience in this area. Anyone who signs up for a trip or comes to the climbing wall or rents something, if you don’t know how to use it, we will definitely teach you how to do it. During the trip we will teach you everything you need to know for this trip.
The club has worked to foster new relationships and connections, especially for OU students.
“I got to know a lot of OP staff by going to the wall regularly,” Chris Harmison, a freshman studying music at Honors Tutorial College, said in an email. “Rock climbing in general is an easy hobby to make friends, so when you have the same people riding you over and over again, you make friends quickly! “
For those interested in outdoor activities, the website can be found here.