The Outdoor Adventures program’s recent move to the Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness has allowed more student opportunities despite dropoffs in trip signups.
Over the summer, the Outdoor Adventures program moved from the Student Recreation Center to the new Kaplan Center on Gate City Boulevard.
Assistant Director of Recreation and Wellness Mike Ackerman said that they benefit from the increased space as their program continues to grow.
“It’s exciting,” Ackerman said. “This space is really allowing us to spread our wings.”
Outdoor Adventures has expanded operations with their new areas. Hours of operation are now longer, being open 12-9 p.m. on weekdays and 1-7 p.m. on weekends. The longer availability and increases in staff members and equipment space has allowed greater access for the UNCG community to Outdoor Adventures.
Outdoor Adventures also received an upgrade to their always-popular climbing wall, which now boasts eighteen climbing routes and a bouldering wall for unroped climbing. This has allowed the program to accommodate more individuals using the climbing equipment at one time. Taller than the old Rec Center, the new Kaplan wall features varying difficulties and a route based on NC’s Pilot Mountain.
During the first week of classes, the climbing and bouldering wall saw significant increases in usage.
“Monday through Sunday, it was either just at 500 or right in the 450 to 500 range,” Outdoor Adventures Coordinator Alex Stanczak commented, “and that’s what we saw last week as well.”
Even though more people now use the climbing facilities, Outdoor Adventures has noticed a great decrease in sign-ups for trips hosted this semester. Resultantly, many offered trips are still open and have space available for students, faculty, and staff to enroll.
Trips include biking, canoeing, caving, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and rock climbing, among many others. Outdoor Adventures also offers low-cost equipment rentals for student trips, and can offer assistance in their planning.
Sign-up shortages can be attributed to their new location; however, the staff is confident that as students find ways to the Kaplan Center and the Outdoor Adventures office sign-ups will increase. Ackerman stated that he believes students benefit from Outdoor Adventures activities, both indoors and outdoors.
“We hope that by coming here students are sparking an interesting in connecting with the natural world,” Ackerman said, “and if that happens in an indoor setting, that’s fine, but if we can inspire someone to do something in here, that allows them to go outside with us and do something more connected with nature, I think that is even more exciting.”
Outdoor Adventures is located on the bottom floor of the Kaplan Center next to the swimming pool. Trip signups are available at the Outdoor Adventures desk, which requires a UNCG ID and completed registration paperwork.