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The Summer Adventure Program extends the popular outdoor experience enjoyed by E&H students to high school juniors and seniors, giving a greater number of young people the opportunity to bond with nature while working with others.
The Emory & Henry Summer Adventure Program is a 12-day experience from Saturday, June 20th through Thursday, July 1st, 2015. During that time high school students will hike the Channels State Park, backpack and boulder in the Grayson Highlands State Park, navigate rivers on stand-up paddle boards, bike the Creeper Trail, raft the Noli Gorge, and hike to the summit of Mount Mitchell. In the evenings they will make camp in the back country or at area campsites.
While undertaking these outdoor adventures, students will learn such skills as preparing a backpack, cooking outdoors, bouldering and navigating in the wild. Students also will maintain a journal and undertake other projects that encourage reflection on the experience.
“This is a learning experience,” said Jim Harrison, director of the E&H Outdoor Program and of the summer program. “But at the same time there is no doubt that this is great fun for the participants. Although these are vigorous adventure activities, they are greatly enjoyable and accessible to a wide range of skill levels.”
“This is a learning experience…greatly enjoyable and accessible to a wide range of skill levels. Jim Harrison
Director of Outdoor Programs
The adventure program provides opportunities for growth, as students learn about their relationship to nature and as they learn how to work with and rely on colleagues during group adventures. “Emory & Henry is fortunate to be located in a region that provides tremendous opportunities for outdoor adventure and individual advancement. Repeatedly we have seen young people blossom as confident citizens and leaders through their communion with the outdoors,” Harrison said.
Emory & Henry’s Outdoor Program has been praised for its diversity of experiences and for the leadership and communication skills it fosters. Last year, Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine ranked the College among the top eight adventure colleges and universities in the East and Southeast.
Along with fulltime program staff, the qualified, competent student leaders who regularly facilitate Outdoor Program trips and clinics will guide and mentor Summer Adventure Program participants.
“A big reason why the Outdoor Program is popular on campus is because fun is contagious, and the student trip leaders love to share the fun and their expertise with other students,” said Harrison.
Emory & Henry is nestled in an outdoor adventure paradise. The Appalachian and Iron Mountain trails, The Virginia Creeper Trail, The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, The Jefferson and George Washington national forests, and the New, Holston, and Clinch rivers are just a few of the adventure opportunities close by.
Because of the program’s growing popularity and prominence, Emory & Henry President Jake Schrum encouraged the development of the summer adventure program. By hosting the program, the College creates the opportunity for a larger number of prospective E&H students to not only experience the environment in which the College is located, but also to bring to their engagement with the outdoors the liberal arts perspective from a top liberal arts school.
“An Emory & Henry education can enrich an outdoor experience in amazing ways, helping students gain insight into the natural world in ways they never would have imagined,” Schrum said. As a member of the College faculty and director of the Outdoor Program, Harrison has been in a unique position to cultivate and guide students into learning opportunities that are a synthesis of academic writing projects and adventure experiences.
After completing his graduate work, Harrison began teaching writing and literature courses in the fall of 1998 at Emory & Henry College. In 1999, he started an extracurricular hiking club, and in 2005 the club became the E&H Outdoor Program. He instituted the E&H Semester-A-Trail program, which offers students the opportunity to remain fulltime students while attempting a thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail.
“Because of the impact that the college’s Outdoor Program has had on the lives of a growing number of students, it makes sense to expand it and extend it to others, hopefully engaging them more fully with the natural surroundings of our region and with this extraordinary college.”
Tuition covers the cost of all meals during the Program, excluding breakfast on arrival day and dinner on departure day. The Emory & Henry Outdoor Program believes the word backcountry means good, quality food. Learning how to prepare tasty meals in the backcountry is one of the best things about the experience.
The Summer Adventure Program is a small camp where big adventures happen.
The E&H Summer Adventure Program will only accept up to twenty students, and six instructors are dedicated to the Program, which means the student to instructor ratio will always be at least 4 to 1, guaranteeing plenty of personal attention and guidance. Our instructors are qualified backcountry leaders, but they are most importantly caring, fun people.
The first day (June 21st) will be arrivals, introductions, orientation, and students will stay on campus the first night in a campus dorm. Day two will begin the backcountry adventure with a hike to the Channels Natural Area Preserve, and after the hike, the group will transition to Grayson Highlands State Park for a night’s stay in the camp ground. Days three through five will be a backpacking trip into the high country, returning to the Grayson Highland campground for night five. Days six and seven will be spent exploring the bouldering opportunities in the Grayson Highlands State Park, and after bouldering on day seven, the group will transition to Beartree Campground. Days eight and nine will be spent biking the Virginia Creeper Trail and Stand Up Paddling on South Holston Lake, and after the SUP trip on day nine, the group will transition to the Nolichucky River Campground. Day ten the group will raft the Nolichucky Gorge with USA Raft, staying again at the Noli. Day eleven the group will wake up early for the Mt Mitchell Summit Bid, and after bagging the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River, the group will return to Emory & Henry Campus for a final night’s stay in a campus dorm. Day twelve (July 2nd) will be presentations and departures.
Jim Harrison, Director of E&H Outdoor Programs, will oversee the Summer Adventure Program and be the primary contact person throughout the Program. He will regularly visit the group and be a constant resource for field instructors.
Andrew Blease, Assistant Director and Program Coordinator for the E&H Outdoor Program, will be the head instructor in the field.
In addition to the Emory & Henry Outdoor Program Staff, five Emory & Henry Outdoor Program trip leaders will serve as instructors to the Summer Adventure Program.
An Emory & Henry education can enrich an outdoor experience in amazing ways, helping students gain insight into the natural world in ways they never would have imaginedJake Schrum
21st President of Emory & Henry College
This experience for Preston turned out to be much more than we all ever dreamed it could be. Thank you all for making this possible for him.
I asked Preston what could be done to improve his experience and he said add Kayaking!!! He had no complaints, whatsoever! We loved the GPS tracking site updates and the FB page. We were able to keep our family and friends updated on Preston's progress through the entire trip! Everyone was very responsive to that.
I would like to say that this entire group had such a profoundly positive impact on him, that it was hard for him to adjust, once he got back home. He came away from this journey definitely inspired and feeling like he had expanded his family unit—that was how much of an impression you all and the students made on Preston. And I think that was the greatest gift of all for him— this feeling of family. This was priceless and invaluable but it was hard for him to let go, when it was time to go home. This part of his journey reminded me of graduating from college and the transitions involved. It was heartwrenching. Again, this meant the world to us, as parents.
There isn't a day that goes by, since the trip, that he doesn't bring up an experience from it, in some way or another. This is his niche in life, I'm sure. He has also started using what he has learned and begun taking his little brother, TJ on mini bike rides and hiking trips. Preston was very serious when he told you all that he wanted to volunteer next year. If any of you plan anything local outdoors activity and wouldn't mind including Preston, it would mean the world to him. Once school starts, he will be taking you all up on that offer of dropping by, so be looking for him!
Jim, let us know if there is anything we can ever do to repay you for your kindness, we can't thank you enough.Linda, Harold, Preston, Kealie and TJ
Family of a 2014 Summer Adventure Program student