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Outdoor Adventure Program Offers Canoeing, Rock-Climbing Trips to New Students

Old Dominion University's Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP), in an effort to continue its outreach to students who may not have been exposed to outdoor recreation, is offering excursions this month aimed at new and transfer students.

The Team Expeditions for New and Transfer Students (TENTS) program provides outdoor trips before the first week of class, giving the ODU newcomers an opportunity to meet people from the campus community.

This year two expeditions are planned: a canoe/camping experience on the James River, with several stops at historical landmarks, and a backpacking and rock-climbing adventure in Shenandoah National Park.

The trips are being led by upperclassmen, who will provide a peer-to-peer connection for students getting their first exposure to ODU and offer insight into adjusting to college life. Faculty and staff members also will go on each trip to offer additional support and information about the university.

"We look forward to this beginning a long tradition at ODU for incoming students," said Bridget Nemeth, coordinator of the Outdoor Adventure Program.

"We believe these strong connections with other students, upperclassmen and staff will begin with the TENTS experiences, and last through their ODU experience, and beyond."

Nemeth said participation in the OAP was at an all-time high last year with 10,981 registrations (including the Adventure Center, climbing wall and trips). Thus far, 10 students have signed up for the TENTS expeditions, with six spaces yet to be filled. TENTS is accepting registrations through Aug. 11.

The ultimate goal of the TENTS program is to encourage ODU students to consider the Outdoor Adventure Program as an opportunity to explore the outdoors, push their limits and make new friends.

"We've been really excited with how word has spread about the Outdoor Adventure Program. Students have come to us, excited about our programs, before even starting at ODU. That's part of what's driving the TENTS program," Nemeth said.

The two excursions will run simultaneously from Aug. 19-24. They begin at ODU's Student Recreation Center with challenge course initiatives, equipment packing and a campout on campus. Students from each group then leave the following morning on their five-day adventures.

The canoe/camping trip along the lower James River will include stops at Weston Manor, Westover Plantation, Fort Pocahontas and Hoffler Creek Nature Preserve.

The backpacking and rock-climbing expedition begins on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park with rock climbing at Little Stoney Man and concludes with a hike to the summit of Old Rag Mountain.

Participants will come together on their final day for a closing ceremony and an official welcome to ODU.

For information about the TENTS program, or to register, call the Outdoor Adventure Program office in the ODU Student Recreation Center at 683-3384, or e-mail Nemeth at bnemeth@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: August 3, 2010

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