Spring Break Adventure Offers Students Leadership Training

Published: March 19, 2015 | Author: Alex Homer | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU Outdoors leads a leadership training in Capitol Reef National Park. While Spring Break offered a relaxing week for many Southern Utah University students, the Outdoor Recreation Center partnered with the National Park Services to offer students a week of adventure and leadership training through a 22-mile backpacking trip through Halls Creek Narrows in Capitol Reef National Park.

This is the second year the Center offered an outdoor leadership training and Briget Eastep, director of the Outdoor Engagement Center, said it allows students practice skills that will challenge them physically and mentally.

“The hope is to train more students so Pacesetters (outdoor student group) can have more qualified leaders to offer more opportunities for the SUU community to learn and adventure in the outdoors,” Eastep remarked.

Sha Guo, a pre-law student from Wuhan, China, who went on the leadership trip said she learned many valuable skills on this adventure along with other skills through the Outdoor Center.

Guo went on to say, “This last year I have been able to go on so many activities with the Outdoor Center. Through the activities, I have learned to communicate better with others as well as to snowboard and snowshoe. The Outdoor Center gives great experience that does not cost a lot of money.”

Giving leadership training and skills to the students on the trip was the focus of the trip according to Derek Bryan, SUU alumnus and currently a graduate student at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, Spring Break Outdoor Leadership trip coordinator.

Bryan said, “While working with the students I love seeing the external growth and the ‘ah ha’ moments they each have when they connect with the curriculum.”

Working toward a graduate degree in experiential learning, Bryan said the trip was a project he organized to finalize his master’s degree, and something he said he aspired to do to give back to his alma mater.

“I was one of the first outdoor recreation graduates and I loved the idea and passion behind it,” Bryan stated. “I wanted to come back and serve the program that got me started formally. We are in a great location, we can make it explode and the possibilities are in our backyard. This program is definitely headed in the right direction.”

Hoping to ensure a future after his graduation along with the leadership training participants, Bryan said he wanted to instruct the students in outdoor education curriculum taught through peer-to-peer instruction. Most of the lessons were technical with a focus on camping and outdoor skills and each student gave the opportunity to serve as leader for the day to “give them a taste of being an outdoor leader.”

“The teamwork just gelled more and more as the week went on because of the,” Bryan said. “It was a pleasure to be out with the students.”

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