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OL students attend Banff

April 2, 2011

By Callie Stevens, Staff Writer

Last weekend, the back country living skills class went on the annual Banff backpacking trip. The class was lead by Rob Dussler, chair of Outdoor Leadership, and left Friday afternoon for Brevard College in N.C. The group attended a film festival called the Banff Mountain Film Festival, then went on a two-day backpacking trip that the class organized.

Banff Mountain Film Festival is a competition held annually where outdoor enthusiasts send in videos of extreme stunts they have attempted. After the competition, a selection of the best films go on tour across Canada, the United States, and internationally from Scotland to South Africa to China, Japan and points in between.

Each year, the films travel to 30 countries reaching more than 210,000 people at over 550 screenings. Brevard College is one of the sights that is nearest to Young Harris College.

Before the videos start, local outdoor programs hold booths to advertise and give away free items for the event. This is always one of the best parts of the trip because students get a bag of free outdoor stickers and information about possible future employers. After the film festival, the class goes and car camps for the night and wakes up early the next day to start their backpacking trip.

Students had to plan everything from location, to how hard the trip is, to food and even decide what gear is taken. Students had to think about things such as trail length, and if the elevation changes a lot.

Despite the difficulty of the trip, freshman outdoor leadership major, Melissa LeViner from Woodstock enjoyed hiking to the top of John Rock, which is a rock face in Pisgah National Forest located in the Appalachian Mountains in Western N.C. This provided the backdrop for the YHC students to eat their lunch.

“Banff got me really excited [about] being an outdoor leadership major and knowing that I will work in this field,” said LeViner. “It was cool to be surrounded by people that view the world and share the same passions as me.”

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