Outdoor adventure program to increase involvement
October 14, 2010
The Campus Recreation Department at UW-River Falls has added a Kinni Outdoor Adventures program to its ever-expanding repertoire of activities.
Advisor to the program Ryan McCallum said that this is something that has been in the works with the Campus Recreation Department for some time.
The program, designed to offer students a variety of outdoor activities, held its grand opening on Friday, Oct. 1.
“The grand opening went really well,” McCallum said.
The program, which offers everything from golf clubs to propane-powered stoves for camping, is a way for campus recreation to offer another side of sports seldom experienced by students during the school year.
“We want the students to know that we have this center on campus, and we want them to utilize it,” McCallum said. “We have a bunch of brand new toys, so come play with them.”
McCallum stressed that the Outdoor Adventures program is more than a way to offer students camping gear for the weekend and rock-climbing on a Wednesday night.
The program works in close collaboration with the Health and Human Performance Department to achieve common goals of reduced student costs.
“We work with HHP to help them out with some of their classes,” McCallum said. “We’ll hopefully be able to reduce their cost and reduce student cost for taking an HHP class.”
In recent years, UWRF has been home to a student-run organization known as Bushwhackers. This program, similar to Outdoor Adventures, was a way for students to plan and organize camping trips and other outdoor activities.
McCallum said that Bushwhackers was disbanded just a little bit too early.
“Its too bad that they aren’t around anymore,” McCallum said. “Now we have all this stuff and finally have the resources to back a club like that, and they aren’t here.”
McCallum made one thing very clear: this is a program for the students. What the students want is what the students get.
“The more involved the students are, the better off everyone is,” McCallum said. “The students make the program what they want it to be.”
With the students clearly on his mind, McCallum said that the ultimate goal is to keep students coming back.
“Studies have shown that as an involved student, you have higher grades, which lead to you coming back as a student, which lead[s] to graduating,” McCallum said. “Everybody wins through retention and campus programs.”
Outdoor Adventures is simple: any student who wants to rent outdoor equipment or explore other outdoor opportunities simply walks up to the desk at Knowles and chooses their flavor.
For a small fee, with the maximum price of rental generally no more expensive than $5, students can rent anything from tents to rollerblades, and anything in between.
Promotion of the program is something that McCallum says is going to be a challenge, yet students around campus say that they have already heard good things about it.
“I think it’s a great way to get people active and experience the outdoors,” said sophomore Tanya Steinhoff. “It sounds like a chance to get in touch with yourself and meet a bunch of new people at the same time.”
Still, McCallum realizes this program is a work in progress. Keeping that in mind, he looks optimistically towards the future.
“This is a program that will evolve over the next five years,” McCallum said. “It will be what the students want it to be; we are here for them.
Outdoor Adventures is open for equipment rental 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The climbing wall at Knowles is open from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday and 7 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday. Equipment can be checked out at the Knowles Center.