By Caroline Yablon | Reporter
Students of the Outdoor Adventure LLC experienced their first of many adventure retreats at Meridian State Park this past weekend.
The Outdoor Adventure LLC in Penland Residence Hall is a program that invites like-minded first-year students who have a passion for the outdoors to live in community and go on adventures with one another. Students go on several adventure retreats throughout the school year to experience outdoor living, while concentrating on “adventure with a purpose” through the LLC’s mission: responsibility, resilience, rest and relationships.
“We don’t just do adventure for fun. Although we do have fun, we do it to understand ourselves and to understand others deeper,” said David Copeland, director of Outdoor Adventure LLC.
The students just embarked on the first retreat of the school year last weekend. It was a chance for the students to grow as a community within the LLC and to be introduced to what the program will look like for the year.
Students bonded with one another through a number of interactive activities such as a mud-fights, ultimate frisbee, paddle boarding and relaxing in hammocks. Students also grew in community by making a meal together and being vulnerable with one another.
“We sat around a fire and shared life stories,” Copeland said.
Wheaton, Ill., sophomore Betty Sledge, Community Leader for the Outdoor Adventure LLC, said sharing life stories and testimonies helped her connect with the students in her group in a more impactful way.
“There were some girls that were interested in learning about what they believe, which was impactful for me,” Sledge said.
This retreat impacted the lives of many of the other students as well.
San Antonio freshman Sarah Skelton said that before the retreat she knew the names of her peers, but by the end of the trip she felt that she knew them on a more personal level.
“The community really became a community,” Skelton said.
Leonardtown, Md., freshman Jane Bailey said the retreat gave her a glimpse of what the Outdoor Adventure LLC will be like going forward.
“It’s peeking through the doorway of opportunities that the program will provide for us,” Bailey said.