Even though the classroom is the most common learning atmosphere, it’s not the only place learning can happen. The great outdoors is an alternative setting and an active teacher itself that provides lasting experience, as well as mental and physical health.
THE FIRST STEP
Maverick Adventures, a new program idea that plans to make the outdoors more accessible for learning experiences, recently gained one graduate assistant (GA) for further investigation into program implication.
Maverick Adventures is the brainchild of Samuel Steiger, the Adventure Education Program (AEP) Coordinator at MNSU. It has three facets: Equipment Rental, Trip and Travel, and Certifications and Clinics. Equipment rental will allow students, faculty and the public opportunity to rent items such as kayaks, tents, bikes, and countless other necessities for outdoor adventure. Trip and travel programming is geared toward those looking to connect academic credit with outdoor exploration. “Imagine going on a backpacking trip, and getting credit for it!” said Steiger. Certifications and clinics would allow students to learn new skills and gain real qualifications, in areas like CPR, water sports, and more.
A SEMESTER UPDATE
A team of students and faculty presented Maverick Adventures to the MSSA (Minnesota State Student Association) last spring. It was after this meeting that the MSSA granted them funding for one GA. David Childers, one highly involved in the AEP program, has been chosen to fill this GA opening. He is currently formulating a presentation to give to various classes around MSU to raise awareness for Maverick Adventures. He plans to include a survey that will gather student opinions about tuition fee increases and overall impressions of the new program. He is also looking for grants outside of the university that will help jumpstart Maverick Adventures.
Steiger is happy to have a GA who can help him look into the logistics of the new program. Although MSSA did not allocate any funds for Maverick Adventures, he said, “I think we can be thrifty and lead some low cost and high reach programs.” He suggested snowshoe hikes in Rasmussen and clinics in outdoor cooking as examples to give students a taste of what Maverick Adventures is all about.
Steiger and Childers have three main goals for this semester’s progress.
The first one is development. They plan to do more homework on the practical aspects of the program, such as linking trips with credit, physical space needed on campus, and other items.
The second is awareness. They want to continue to raise awareness among students and staff. They plan to do this through their pilot programs and outreach through class presentations.
The final goal is budget development. They are searching for creative ways to find money outside the university, as currently, “There’s not any money for a poster or tape to hang the poster,” said Steiger, laughing.
Although funds are low, interest is high and morale is skyrocketing. Students searching for more information or ways to support the cause can like the Facebook page, “Maverick Adventures – Outdoor Program.”