Winter is still here, but spring is around the corner. Outdoor Edventures is offering a variety of affordable outdoor programs during spring semester, ranging from night skiing at Granite Peak to spelunking at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
Outdoor Edventures, located on the lower level of the Allen Center, provides camping and recreation equipment year-round to students and non-students alike.
Programming and trips have grown over the years, and the staff hopes to get students involved while keeping costs low.
“Our whole goal is to have students get out and explore the world around them,” said Mike Piekenbrock, the recreational activities coordinator.
Piekenbrock is in charge of planning trips and clinics while overseeing student trip leaders. Creating new and exciting programs can be challenging, so he relies on his staff for ideas.
“When I first started, it was just me trying to generate ideas for more trips,” Piekenbrock said. “We’ve got a great group of students. They’ve got a finger on the pulse of the college community.”
Among the programs planned this semester are ice silo climbing in Iowa, cross country skiing at Apostle Island’s ice caves and a weekend canoe trip down the Namekagon River.
The longest and farthest trip of the semester will be a camping trip to Zion and Arches National Parks during spring break. Last year, the spring break trip to the Florida Keys was extremely popular and doubled in size to accommodate extra participants.
“The trips are all-inclusive,” Piekenbrock said. “The prices include everything but food.”
Piekenbrock encourages people of all experience levels to try something new.
“We want to teach new skills,” Piekenbrock said. “Whether you’re beginner or expert, we’ll accommodate you.”
Andrew Sprutta has been a part of staff for three years and is an experienced guide. He will be guiding trips this spring and is thrilled to have the opportunity.
“The trips are for any skill level,” Sprutta said. “We use a common adventurer model on our trips.”
A common adventurer model allows anyone on the trip to opt out of certain activities if he or she is not comfortable. Sprutta said trip itineraries are subject to change but typically do not.
“There’s the group, there’s the weather and the place,” Sprutta said. “We make the best of every day of the trip.”
Safety is a primary concern, and adventurers are assured guides are well trained. Staff are certified Wilderness First Responders.
“Any of the staff who’re interested in guiding get comprehensive training,” Piekebrock said. “Our participants can be confident that our staff know how to react.”
An adventurous trip would not be complete without fond memories and dirty clothes, both of which Sprutta said are part of the programs.
“You go out and you get in the van with people you don’t know,” Sprutta said. “When you come back, you’re giving people hugs and planning trips for next weekend.”