Reflections on the 2nd annual Arkansas Adventure Programming Conference

The 2nd Annual Arkansas Adventure Programming Conference was held from Friday, April 5 to Sunday April 7 at the beautiful Horseshoe Canyon Ranch (HCR) near Jasper, AR.

This event was put together by Ozarks Outdoors | University of the Ozarks along with Henderson State University, Lyon College, and the University of Arkansas. It was a weekend for outdoor enthusiasts to connect with others, learn new ideas, and share their own as well.

On Friday night, there was social with live music and what can only be described as very energetic dancing. The climbing walls and a cave simulator called a speleo box in HCR’s barn were put to good use this night as well.

Saturday kicked off at 6:30am with either a trail run or yoga, for those that were up for it that is! The day itself was filled with interesting sessions on topics such as videography in the outdoors, yoga for climbers, whitewater canoeing and demonstrations from outdoor suppliers such as Kelty. While the day was busy, there was time as well to hike around the canyon and enjoy the beautiful scenery there. The canyon is filled with critters such as squirrels, chipmunks and a host of different types of birds, all of which can be seen on a quiet hike. The night ended with a Dutch oven cook-off and the showing of Reel Rock Film Tour 7.

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Even with a busy conference schedule, many participants found time to kick back and relax during the weekend.

On Sunday groups were on their own to do various activities such as climbing, disc golf, or a hike at Lost Valley in Ponca to a canoeing trip. Whatever groups decided to do, everyone enjoyed their weekend and went home exhausted but happy.

More was gained this weekend than information about outdoor education and recreation. People attended from as far away as Wisconsin - they had a twelve hour drive back Sunday! I personally gained many valuable friends from places such as Lyon College and River Falls, both of which I climbed with on Sunday.

This conference was a chance to make connections and network for future opportunities and careers. It was a time to develop climbing experience and techniques and to learn what groups from different states were up to. This conference was an amazing though tiring weekend, and I am already looking forward to the 3rd Annual conference to meet my friends I made this year and to make new ones as well.

Guest post by Sara Sisemore.