College is a key period in life, full of expanding horizons and a developing sense of freedom in a vast world. Often times, a little guidance can be of great aid.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Adventure Tours aims to provide just that, adventure, to students and the community.
Founded 32 years ago, Adventure Tours has long been a facet of the School of Health Promotion and Human Development, planning and facilitating tours as well as promoting wellness. Over the years, the program has grown to include domestic and international travel opportunities that continue to incorporate components of an active lifestyle, such as hiking, biking, snorkeling, and zip-lining.
“Explore and be well” is the program’s motto.
While Adventure Tour trips are open to the public, allowing students to travel with friends and family members who are not affiliated with UWSP, it provides a unique opportunity for college students in particular.
“Increasing student involvement continues to be one of our goals as we move forward,” said Amy Schmied, communication specialist for Adventure Tours. “We hope to begin offering a few specialty student-focused tours to coordinate with the academic calendar so students may participate over spring and winter breaks.”
Unlike other opportunities students may have to travel during their college years, such as study abroad, Adventure Tours is not for academic credit and trips are, on average, one to two weeks in duration. Taking time away from the classroom, students can focus on the activities and cultural experiences of travel.
“Whether you’re a community member, a student, alumni or a family, our tours are open to almost anyone who is in good health and has a sense of adventure,” said Schmied.
One of Adventure Tour’s upcoming trips is Hidden Cultural Riches of Japan. The trip is scheduled for the summer of 2018 and will be led by Trisha Lamers, director of the Tutoring-Learning Center.
Each tour is led by a current or retired UWSP faculty or staff member who have had personal experience with the location.
Lamers lived and worked in Japan for eight years and used her experiences to put together a diverse program for the 13-week trip.
“We’re going to go to some of the places everybody goes to,” Lamers said. “But I want to take people off beaten paths. I want to take them to people that I know and businesses where I know who the owners are and get more of a personal experience.”
From business owners to high school students to elderly farmers, Lamers wants to expose those participating in the trip to as much of the people and culture of Japan as possible. Trying on kimonos, experiencing traditional dining, trying a hand at calligraphy and paper making are all on the itinerary.
Like all of Adventure Tour’s trips, it will also include getting moving with bicycling, hiking and walking.
Lamers maintains a passion and love for the country and hopes those who attend the trip will take away “an appreciation for different cultures, an appreciation for diversity and a freedom within themselves to realize that there’s so many different offerings than what you’ve seen up to this point.”
Traveling and exploring other cultures can be a pivotal learning experience.
“Everyone should see Japan,” Lamers said. “Everyone will have their lives changed by going to Japan. It’s just a different way of life and a different way of thinking, and just being exposed to that, I think, can change somebody’s life.”
Adventure Tours organizes trips all over the globe. Some of their open tours are the Belize Tropical and Mayan Adventure, the Hike Zion and Bryce Canyon trip and the South African Adventure, though many more adventures are already being planned.
While Adventure Tours offers amazing travel experiences, there are also several opportunities for students to get involved while staying on campus.
Adventure Tours offers a semester-long practicum course for students within the Health Promotion and Wellness major to learn about marketing, brand development and local outreach for adventure and wellness travel.
Any student may sign up for the group’s e-newsletter, which includes information about Adventure Tours trips, as well as photos and travel tips.
Adventure Tours provides new experiences, multinational travel and personal growth to students wanting to stay well and explore the world, near and far. Each trip is a unique experience but is sure to be a lifechanging adventure.
“It’s going to be an adventure,” Lamers said of the Hidden Cultural Riches of Japan trip. “There’s so much depth and richness in the culture that there are always surprises and unexpected things happening and unexpected encounters. I hope that the people who come are going to appreciate just how alive they’re going to feel from all of those unexpected adventures popping up.”
Arts & Entertainment Sectional Editor