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OL kicks off classes

September 15, 2011

By Callie Stevens, Staff Writer 

Callie Stevens is a senior Outdoor Leadership major. This year she will give readers a walk through the adventures, lessons and experiences of an OL major. 

As a new year begins, exciting things are going on in the Outdoor Leadership program.  The OL program is welcoming its first senior class and the second-ever junior-level “Discovery Semester,” an immersive experience centered on outdoor leadership coursework. This is the first year that the OL program has had upperclassmen, since the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) approved Young Harris College to offer a bachelor’s degree in OL.

Because of this, the seniors have an engaging semester in front of them. We are enrolled in both “Wilderness as a Metaphor” and a senior seminar. In “Wilderness as a Metaphor” we read and discuss literature in the outdoor community and learn to make connections between lessons people can experience while in wilderness settings.

In the senior seminar class, we will start preparing for an internship during the summer by creating resumes and critical documents.  In both of these classes, we are going on several trips to conferences and festivals. The largest of these are a storytelling festival inTennesseeand the Adventure Education Conference atNorthGreenvilleUniversity. These conferences are going to be fun and educational for me because we will meet a lot of people that could be future employers in the outdoor community. This year should be quite interesting for seniors.

The junior “Discovery Semester” is broken into four classes consisting of group development, water pursuits management, challenge course management and land pursuits management. These classes adhere to a block schedule, meeting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each class is three to four weeks long, beginning with group development.

The classes take a toll on students mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. The “Discovery” group went on their first trip last weekend, where they went whitewater rafting, rock climbing and camping, kicking off what promises to be a semester filled with a lot of learning and adventure.

As a new year continues, I am excited to see what unravels in my senior year. Whether it is my own adventure in or out of class or following the juniors in their “Discovery,” I hope that this year is filled with excitement, exploration and education.

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