Outdoor Program offers adventure
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 23:09
There are many students at the University of Southern Mississippi who yearn for the beauty that nature has to offer. However, many feel they are too busy and and cannot to fulfill their desire to explore the natural beauty the world has to offer.
USM has a program that makes such exploration possible. The Recreational Sports department offers an Outdoor Program devoted to helping students experience these natural desires.
“Last year I really enjoyed the whitewater rafting trip on the Ocoee River in Tennessee,” pharmaceutical sciences major Tyler Harris said. “It was a bonding experience with my fellow Southern Miss students while also providing a new experience because it was my first time to ever camp.”
The Outdoor Program holds trips and events every year, from skiing to hiking to whitewater rafting.
“Our goal is to try to encompass outdoor education and fitness, allowing the student body to get out doors, exercise and learn while still having fun,” Outdoor Program trip leader Ted Olack said.
On Saturday, the program will travel to Bryson City, N.C. to go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River and zip-lining at the Zip Line Adventure Park. Participants will also camp alongside the river for the weekend. The all-inclusive price for the event is $200.
From Oct. 11 - 14, the program will host an event called “Project Serve: Montegut.” A group will travel to Houma, La. over fall break to serve the United Houma Nation. The trip will cost $85.
“The United Houma Nation (UHN) is a state recognized tribe of approximately 17,000 tribal citizens residing within a six-parish (county) service area encompassing 4,570 square miles,” according to the UHN homepage.
From Nov. 21 – 25, a trip to hike the first section of the Appalachian Trial in Georgia is planned. This trip comes with a price tag of $130.
“With trips like this one, we are trying to break the bubble of the local trips and expand outward,” Olack said. “We want trips like this to be more memorable than just camping in our own backyard, so to speak. We want to bear witness to the more epic natural wonders our country has to offer.”
Over winter break, from Dec. 14 – 19, a group will join up with Mississippi State Outdoor Adventures to hit the slopes in Colorado on a ski trip. It has not been announced yet how much this adventure will cost.
All events offer training sessions before the trips, and seasoned guides make sure everything goes smoothly.
These events and trips are open to all students, and fees can be charged to student accounts. Fees include transportation, equipment, camping and outfitter fees, lodging, food and instruction.
The Outdoor Program hosts other events, such as the annual Running in Red 5K and the Rattler Ramble 5K and Runners High Kids Fun Run, throughout the year.
The Running in Red 5K took place last Friday in support of the American Heart Association, and the Rattler Ramble 5K and Runners High Kids Fun Run will take place on Oct. 27 in celebration of the grand opening of the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center, where the run will also be held.
“We are trying to create trips for other organizations as well,” Olack said. “Any specific group can come to us, say from Greek Life to any other major organizations or clubs. Basically, if you can get a group of eight to fourteen people we’ll organize a trip and take you somewhere.”
For more information, visit the Outdoor Center located in the atrium of the Payne Center or visit www.usm.edu/rec-sports/outdoor-programs.