Ozarks Outdoors and Ozark Safety and Rescue Educators are teaming up to offer a week-long camp on Leadership, Safety & Rescue for high school age students.
This camp will take place along the Buffalo National Scenic River and includes backpacking, paddling, and rock climbing activities. The theme will be Leadership, Safety & Rescue. Successful participants will gain Wilderness First Aid Certification and Level-3 Swift Water Rescue Training!
When: June 16-22
Where: Buffalo National Scenic River
Who can register: High school age students age 13-18.
This course is held in the outdoors, so we recommend that participants bring the appropriate outdoor clothing, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. All meals are provided for the week. Participants will meet at the Ozarks Outdoors BaseCamp, and transportation to and from the camp destination will be provided by Ozarks Outdoors.
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.
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.
During a time when most job markets are struggling, there are jobs in outdoor and environmental fields, especially if you have experience.
In February 2013, the Outdoor Industry Association published economic data demonstrating that outdoor recreation in the United States represents "6.1 million direct American jobs" (Read the full report). And, according to a 2012 study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington, D.C. (Read the study), the degrees resulting in the lowest unemployment rates when combined with experience are:
- Agriculture & Natural Resources,
- Law & Public Policy, and…
In these degree areas and dozens of others, University of the Ozarks offers its students tailored coursework, in-depth research, internships, study abroad, campus employment and other co-curricular opportunities that can give them career-defining experience that will help set them apart when they hit the job market.
Senior Lauren Ray expects to have numerous career options following graduation because her leadership involvement with Ozarks Outdoors, the Planet Club and Ozarks Outbackers as well as an internship with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership.
Ozarks Outdoors is a vital part of supporting these efforts in areas like health sciences, environmental studies, physical education, ecology & wildlife biology as well as in technical skills trainings, environmental education and outdoor adventure.
Jamie Lewis Hedges, as director of Ozarks Outdoors, is passionate about providing much more than outdoor excursions. He wants students to have the opportunity to expand and polish their professional portfolios while at Ozarks.
"Experience is what Ozarks does," Hedges said. "If there's any defining characteristic of our university, it's that we focus on getting our students from the classroom into the real world."
It's Ozarks Outdoors' mission to enrich the student and community experience through above-standard outdoor and environmental experiences, and this is a cooperative effort across Ozarks' academic departments, campus life, and student leaders. Nothing is more representative of the university's efforts to best position students for entering the outdoor/environmental job market than its outdoor leadership minor.
Beginning this fall, the new outdoor leadership minor will provide an opportunity for students of any discipline to cater their degree toward an outdoor or environmental related field. Graduates with degrees combined with this minor will have access to dynamic careers like outdoor recreation therapy, public lands management, environmental law or policy, environmental conflict mediation, and more.
Matt Friant, a junior environmental studies major from Conway, Ark., currently works as a Program Coordinator with Ozarks Outdoors and aspires to a career in natural resource management.
"Participating in Ozarks Outdoors has helped me a great deal," said Friant. "It has given me the training I need to know about what goes into outdoor recreation programs, plus extra training in some of the outdoor activities I truly love, like rock climbing. These are all fun, but I've also gained skills that could be applicable in the industry that I'm heading into."
Morgan O’Neil, also a Senior, plans to pursue a career in Environmental Law after exploring her options with the US Peace Corps. She participated in a summer internship with Georgetown.
For example, to better prepare for this year's outdoor activities and get a jump start on his career-related skills, Friant attended two professional workshops last summer: a Wilderness First Responder certification course at University of Texas at Austin and a Professional Climbing Instructors Association course in Asheville, N.C.
Ozarks students are no strangers to gaining experience while enrolled in classes that complements and enhance their education in the fields identified by the Georgetown study.
Morgan O'Neil, a senior from Carbondale, Ill., is a triple major in political science, environmental studies, and English. O'Neil plans to pursue a career in Environmental Law. During her time at Ozarks, she took full advantage of avenues outside the classroom to enhance her education. She served as Student Government Association president, the student representative for the university's presidential search committee, and captain of the Lady Eagles' soccer team. She also participated in a summer internship in Washington, D.C. working with a non-profit organization and taking classes at Georgetown.
"Ozarks has given me a thousand opportunities. It has given me the chance to take on different types of leadership roles. It is easy to be involved on our campus," she said.
Several academic departments use professional preparation tracks to help students identify which career, within their academic area, they wish to pursue after graduation and help them select courses that will develop specific, career-related skill sets. These include biology, health science and political science, those degrees that have some of the best employment rates.
For example, Lauren Ray, a senior environmental studies major from Fayetteville, Ark. and program coordinator with Ozarks Outdoors, organized a workday for 11 students. Most were biology majors who got involved in community service at Bearcat Hollow, a huge parcel of National Forest in Northwestern Arkansas set aside for wildlife habitat. Ray and the rest of the volunteers assisted Arkansas Wildlife Federation in the clean-up and restoration of the land and then returned to Bearcat this spring to help plant 1,500 native plum trees.
"As involved as I am with outdoor activities and conservation efforts, this is different than anything I've ever done. Working with the Forest Service and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation opened my eyes to how many strategies are out there for protecting and restoring our wildlife areas," Ray said.
In addition, Ray used her experience as program coordinator for Ozarks Outdoors as well as club president of both Outbackers and Planet Club to land an internship with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. She left there in good standing with an option of returning as an employee to their employ after graduation.
"What people should know about University of Ozarks," Hedges said, "is that here you can get an education in the fields where the jobs are, but at Ozarks that education comes with experience that will make your resume stand out from the pile of 75 other candidates."
Matt Friant, a junior from Conway, Ark., hopes to combine his love of the outdoors, his experience with Ozarks Outdoors and his major in environmental studies into a career in natural resource management.
On April 5-7, 2013, Ozarks Outdoors will host the second annual Arkansas Adventure Programming Conference, a student-oriented weekend dedicated to connecting outdoor/adventure programming enthusiasts from across the state.
Ozarks Outdoors, which integrates outdoor recreational and academic opportunities for the Ozarks campus, sent members to the first conference in April and were happy to host the second annual gathering this coming spring at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Ark.
Clayton Rodgers, a freshman psychology major from West Fork, Ark., and Darby White, a freshman business major from Fort Smith, Ark, are both program assistants with Ozarks Outdoors and have been put in charge of organizing the event.
"This far in advance, our main goal has been to coordinate with Horseshoe Canyon Ranch to make sure we had equipment, etc. available for the entire weekend," Rodgers explained.
"Our next step is to line up all the presenters," he said. "We'll release a concrete schedule of events a little closer to conference time, but there will be rock climbing demonstrations, leave-no-trace presentations, and networking opportunities for outdoor/adventure programmers."
"We'll also have a lot of big name sponsors for the conference, including Uncle Sam's Safari Outfitters out of Fayetteville," Rodgers stated.
Rodgers admits that coordinating such a large event as a freshman was intimidating at first, but he understands how valuable the experience is.
"This is definitely a student-oriented conference. They want the events to be organized by students for students. It is a great opportunity to meet other outdoor professionals in Arkansas," he said.
For more information about the 2013 Arkansas Adventure Programming Conference, visit http://www.outdoors.ozarks.edu/ARAP.aspx or contact Jamie Hedges at 479-979-1386.
This August, new and returning Ozarks students will have a chance for some exciting outdoor recreation in the Ozarks during the "Free 'N' Easy Weekend Adventure."?The three-day post-orientation Ozarks Outdoors event is being sponsored by the Outbackers student organization in partnership with Student Life.
The best part about it, according to Jamie Lewis Hedges, Ozarks' Director of Outdoor and Environmental Experiences, is that students can choose any combination of activities during the three days, making this a real "build-your-own adventure." And thanks to Student Life, it's all available at no cost to any Ozarks student who wants to participate.
The weekend will kick off the evening of Friday, August 24, with a trip to Strawberry Bluff. Located just northeast of Clarksville, the bluff is a popular destination for hikers and climbers alike. Participants will have a chance to explore the bluff then settle in to watch the sunset over a panoramic view of the Arkansas River Valley below.
On Saturday, August 25, the adventure will take students into northeastern Johnson County for a hike along the Ozark Highlands Trail. This 180-mile trail passes through some of the most scenic areas of northwest Arkansas and has been featured in a number of publications, including National Geographic and guidebooks by nature photographer Tim Ernst. The group will make a seven-mile hike, which begins at 9 AM and takes the hikers through the Little Piney Creek watershed, ending at Arkansas State Highway 123.
Saturday evening, students can experience an evening full of fun, food, and friends during an overnight camping trip at Sam's Throne. Located in the Ozark National Forest near Mt. Judea, Sam's Throne offers spectacular views of the valley below and is a popular destination for a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, photography, and wildlife watching.
The following day, Sunday, August 26, students will have a chance to experience another popular outdoor activity, and see why some call Sam's Throne the "Mecca of rock climbing in the Ozarks." The area contains over one hundred named climbing routes of various degrees of difficulty, offering climbing opportunities for students of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Students can choose to go rappelling, rock climbing, or bouldering on designated climbing routes.
Students are invited to sign up for this weekend without any additional charge. Hedges says, "This is a good opportunity for students to get involved in outdoor programming where their pocketbook may not have allowed them to do so otherwise." He added that students who wish to take part in any of the weekend activities are welcome to bring their own gear, but need only bring clothing that is appropriate for the activities they're participating in along with two water bottles. Ozarks Outdoors will provide all transportation and climbing equipment (including climbing shoes) and can provide additional gear if needed for the various weekend activities.
The Free 'N' Easy Weekend Adventure is a great way for students to get engaged in the university's outdoor education and recreation program, Hedges explained, "getting them out there and getting their feet wet so they can know what it's about, what they can do." And according to Hedges, this event is just the first of many outdoor and environmental opportunities that will be offered during the upcoming academic year. "There are a number of rock climbing opportunities on the calendar," he said. "Outbackers will be going up to help with the Bearcat Hollow restoration project. The Shooting Sports Club and Anglers are anticipating a full calendar. Ozarks Outdoors is now clearly established - take some time to look at our website to see the other events we're offering throughout the year."
For more information about the Free 'N' Easy Weekend Adventure, contact Ozarks Outdoors by phone at 479-979-1-FUN (1386) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Ozarks Outdoors program, visit their website www.outdoors.ozarks.edu .