As Catherine Malin ’13 makes her way down the tranquil Shenandoah River, she looks for a place to stop and rest. A change in scenery catches her eye: The line of lush forest and farmland thins to reveal a small park. Steering closer, she is able to discern a swing set, a seesaw and hammocks. Just as she begins to wonder if local farmers built this hidden park for kayakers like herself, her question is answered in the form of a sign bearinga single word: “Welcome.”
Malin is a trip leader with the Outdoor Recreation Program, and recalls this memory from the 2011 Pathways pre-orientation program.
“[The program gives] exposure to different types of outdoor trips,” Malin said.
Malin has been involved with the Outdoor Recreation Program since her own freshman year Pathways backpacking trip.
“It’s a good opportunity to get off campus,” she said.
The Outdoor Recreation Program, a division of the Student Recreation Center, began in 2006 and led its first trip, a yoga day hike, in the spring of 2007. Since then, the trips have been expanded to include rock-climbing at the Manchester Wall in Richmond, kayaking on the York River, caving in the Shenandoah Valley and Moonlight Paddles on Lake Matoaka. Moonlight Paddles take place in the evening, while other trips last between a day and a whole weekend.
“[The goal is] to provide all members of the William and Mary community with recreational opportunities [and to get them] outside, having a good time,” Theran Fisher, the Assistant Director of Outdoor Recreation and Student Development, said.
Fisher attended and helped organize the yoga day-hike in 2007, but has since made an effort to keep the trips “student-focused.”
Coming up is the Fall Break Sea Kayak Trip to the shore, for those who will be spending the vacation on campus, and a Moonlight Paddle on October 12. A list of all trips for the fall semester, with descriptions and fees for each, is posted in the Recreational Sports section of the William and Mary website. Upcoming trips are also announced in Student Happenings emails. To register for a trip, see the attendant at the front desk in the Rec Center no less than three days before a day or weekend trip, or up until the actual day of for a Moonlight Paddle.
All trips are open to students, faculty, staff and even their guests, and cap at 12 people, so go hiking for the day with some from your freshman hall, or spend the weekend in the mountains with visiting family and friends.
“We’re so focused on the books and academics here,” Malin said. “Leave the books behind for one day.”