Students share ins, outs of Outdoor Adventure Line Camp experience

Incoming freshmen take part in Outdoor Adventure Line Camp held in New Mexico. Graphic illustration by Olivia Havre | Photographer

By Clay Thompson | Arts and Life Intern

Every Baylor student knows about the long-held campus tradition of Baylor Line Camp, which introduces incoming students to campus and forges bonds that can last a lifetime. However, even seasoned Baylor students might not know that there is another kind of Line Camp available to first-year students: Outdoor Adventure Line Camp.

This unique camp experience is planned and run by Baylor Outdoor Recreation — a department dedicated to helping those at Baylor engage in recreational and leisure activities that help to “equip individuals to live balanced, holistic and healthy lifestyles,” according to its website. The purpose of OALC is to “participate in team building activities, backpack for four days and three nights, rock climb and go whitewater rafting.” Zac Huston, assistant director of Outdoor Adventure Campus Recreation, said OALC is more than that.

“What happens on campus, during your time on the trail, you get all of that to the nth degree,” Huston said. “On the trail, they’re not meeting 250 other new Bears, but they’re really forming significant relationships. It’s really a reflection, that power of reflection that students get when they take time to unpack and unplug. We really have created the Baylor experience without even stepping foot on campus in many ways.”

Huston said Campus Recreation had sort of bounced around several locations, such as Colorado, Arkansas and North Carolina, to give more opportunities for both Texan and out-of-state first-year students to be able to access and attend the camp. They had settled at a base camp in an area near Taos, New Mexico, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and while they did run into some challenges this year, Huston said that he felt the camp was a success.

“The biggest obstacle we experienced this year was the New Mexico fires,” Huston said. “There were wildfires in the region that we were at camp. So, the biggest thing we were wondering was, is the fire going to stop? Is the rain going to come? And like most every summer in New Mexico, it shifted to monsoon season just a few short weeks before we got there. We did stay in contact with parents and monitored the situation. But yeah, when we got there, the weather was incredible, and there was so much connection and community flowing there.”

Loveland, Colo., sophomore Sophia Schuemann said OALC went very well this year. She attended OALC the year before as a first-year student, and this year, she got to come back to serve as a student guide herself.

“As a student guide, I basically get to come along and guide them through the things we did — so rock climbing, backpacking and whitewater rafting,” Schuemann said. “When I went the year before as a freshman, I don’t think I realized how much care and effort is behind it. So coming back and getting to be that person was pretty cool.”

Schuemann said she first wanted to go to OALC last year because she found it on the Baylor website, and she had been doing outdoor activities her entire life. She said returning this year as a leader was really fun for her as well, because she loved getting to know the new freshmen who attended and getting them excited for Baylor.

“It was really fun because all of the people that were there went from like, the experiences that I had to never having been outside in their life, and it was kind of cool to be exposed to a lot more people that I had never been around,” Schuemann said. “When I came back this year as a leader, with the new freshmen, getting to know them and getting them to love campus and love the people that are on it — that was just really fun.”

Idalou freshman Addison Heinecke said she had never really gone camping before this camp, but activities like backpacking were exciting to her.

“I think my favorite part was being able to get so close to people in such a short time,” Heinecke said. “Also, the nature, the views were incredible. I felt I got a greater appreciation for nature and just found that community that I’ll have at Baylor.”

Heinecke said her time on the trip was great and that it got her excited to try out other outdoor experiences and activities when she arrives at Baylor.

“I think this trip really opened my eyes to a lot more activities and clubs that I can join once I get there,” Heinecke said. “I would tell other students that I was a little nervous at first because I hadn’t done a lot of the things on the trip that we were going to be doing, but I really loved it. If it sparks your interest, but you’re not sure if you would like to try it out or not, I would say try it out, because there’s no better place than to learn something new with Outdoor Adventure. Everyone knows what they’re doing. You’ll make friends and really strong bonds.”