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JAN. 19, 2015

Semester 40 Orientation Trek

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Lucas Newton, Outdoor Program Manager

Three days of rain, mud, nervousness, laughter, great conversation and warm food.  Welcome Semester 40 to your first introduction to The Outdoor Academy.  This will be the first of many challenges these 28 students overcome during their four months here at OA.

Hearing the students stories when they arrived back on campus, it continually reaffirms the intentionality behind why we do what we do.  If students stayed on campus those first few days, there would be no way for them to get to establish those deeper and more meaningful connections right away.  Throw a challenge at them, in a smaller group and now they have truly experienced something with one another, and have to learn how to rely on one another in this tight knit community.

From cooking meals together, to setting up a tarp in the rain, to summiting Pilot Mountain, all the elements of living well together come to the forefront on Outdoor Programming trips.  Sure, the students were happy to be back on campus warming up near the woodstoves, sleeping in their own beds, but now know they can accomplish so much more.  Every student I spoke to stated they were happy that they did it and completed their first task, because in April on our 9-day trek, it most likely won’t rain as much and will definitely be warmer than it was these past few days in Pisgah Forest.

Other challenges await, including how to determine how 28 students will share one landline phone, cleanliness of shared dorm spaces, food choices, and how to balance class work/choice periods.  The challenges have only begun, and I am excited to see how far each of these students can stretch themselves.

Give thanks,

Lucas Newton, Outdoor Program Manager