Kayla Rand, Editor In Chief
On Saturday, Oct. 28th, several Armstrong students and their guests traveled to Cape Canaveral, Florida to experience a 15,000-ft. aerial jump at the Skydive Space Center. These students were apart of Armstrong Adventures, a program within the Recreation and Wellness Center that connects students to the great outdoors.
For the last eight years, Armstrong Adventures has provided students and its guests the opportunity to experience nature, relieve stress, and learn a variety of new things through the outdoors. Many of the adventure trips include activities such as camping, hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting, and are held six times per semester.
Cat Spears, Outdoor Adventure and Facilities Graduate Assistant, is going on her second year leading the program. Previously, she was an Outdoor Adventure Lead, Challenge Course Facilitator, and Attendant at the University of Central Florida Outdoor Recreation program. “After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I applied for the G.A. position for Armstrong Adventures,” Spears said, “Now I am almost at two years in the program.”
Spears has numerous experience in the outdoor adventure field. She attended National Outdoor Leadership School, a two-week backpacking, hiking, and camping trip through the Wind River Wilderness Range in Wyoming, where she hiked over 45 miles, summated the 13,500-ft. Mt. Geikie, and climbed up to 100-ft. On Mt. Madina.
While outdoor adventures aren’t new to Spears, they are for many students. Armstrong Adventures is a great opportunity to put down the books and take a step into nature, or in allusion to their most recent event – a giant leap. “I wanted to provide an awesome skydiving experience this year,” Spears said. “I used to live in Orlando, so I knew about the Space Center and decided to add it to our list of trips.” Prior to the semester, Spears researches possible outdoor trips, performs a cost analysis, and sends them to the Director of the Student Recreation Center and Associate Director of Facilities for approval. Once passed, she then plans the number of people she can take, which varies each trip since she is the only person leading the event.
“I have to be realistic of how many people I can take,” Spears said. “Because of safety and liability reasons, I sometimes can’t take everyone.”
After every detail is set, heavy promotion takes place. Most of Armstrong Adventures recruitment is done through marketing. Flyers are created and posted, the campus TV monitors display information, and Facebook events are formed to invite students and their guests.
Armstrong’s marketing team also promotes adventure trips through email blasts and social media. Without collaboration from different resources, Armstrong Adventures wouldn’t be as successful as it is today.
“There is room for improvement and growth, but we have come a very long way from where we have started,” Spears said. “I am trying to gain more staff and reshape the program with more activities such as cooking in nature.”
Students are increasingly interested in the program as the years pass, but it still requires dedication to spread the word on future events.
Armstrong Adventures’ next trip will be to Tallulah Gorge, a 2,689-acre state park in Northern Georgia. It will be held from Friday, Nov. 10th through Sunday Nov.12th and will cost $70 for students or $90 for their guests. This fee covers transportation, entry into the state park, equipment, and food.
Home amenities such as water, bathrooms, and showers are included on the trip, however, participants are encouraged to disconnect with their phones to enjoy the experience. To sign up for the Tallulah Gorge event or any Armstrong Adventures’ trip, go to the recreation center to complete a form and submit your payment at the main desk. Afterwards, you will be contacted to attend a pre-trip meeting, so everyone can be prepared and know the expectations of the event.
For more information about Armstrong Adventures go to their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/armstrongrecreationandwellness or contact Cat Spears at firstname.lastname@example.org .