The University Record, January 21, 2002

World of adventure open for business

By NoŽl Rozny

In 2000, Outdoor Adventures took trip members kayaking in Lake Erie near Pt. Pelee. (Photo courtesy of Outdoor Adventure Program)
Outdoor Adventures, U-M’s very own on-campus outfitter, does more than rent equipment to faculty, students and staff with a love of the outdoors. It provides a chance for those in the U-M and Ann Arbor community to meet new people at wilderness clinics and weeklong excursions. Albert Bell, student manager and trip leader, knows from experience that Outdoor Adventure’s programs help bring people together. “One of the things it opens up is a whole new group of people . . . the people you meet on the trip won’t be people you meet in your everyday University experience,” says Bell.

Outdoor Adventure’s weekly clinics and trips are taught and led by Ann Arbor professionals and experienced U-M students like Bell. Weekly clinics give participants a chance to gain valuable environmental skills, such as backcountry cooking, bike repair and wilderness medicine. They also can learn how to snowshoe, fly fish, rock climb, cross-country ski or backpack. Daylong, weekend or weeklong excursions are more involved and allow individuals a chance to travel into the wilderness outside of Ann Arbor. This semester, Outdoor Adventures offers weeklong spring break trips that will take participants sea kayaking, white water rafting and backpacking.

In addition to teaching outdoor skills, the programs teach cooperation and build respect between group members. Bell, who has been a trip leader since winter 1999, says that “people get along well,” even if they haven’t met before the trip. Whether backpacking in Canada, cross country skiing at the University Biostation or dog sledding in the Upper Peninsula, he finds the experience exciting and fulfilling for both participants and leaders. By working with other group members, participants “make it a positive experience for themselves,” says Bell.

During the academic year, Outdoor Adventures is open to students, faculty, staff and the general public. Aside from the regularly scheduled excursions, interested parties of eight or more can use the resources at Outdoor Adventures to design their very own adventure weekend. All trip prices include food, transportation, lodging and gear, and pre-trip meetings held to prepare group members for the weekend. For those who prefer to stay closer to home, Outdoor Adventures offers a variety of rental equipment ranging from canoes and kayaks to Bocce ball and Frisbee golf sets. For more information on Outdoor Adventures, call (734) 764-3967 or visit the Web at www.recsports.umich.edu/OutdoorAdv.