The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Outdoor Adventures invites students and community members of all skill levels to explore nature

Photo by Provided

Students paddle down the Rio Grande in the Boquillas Canyon during a Outdoor Adventures trip to Big Bend National Park in December 2017

Texas A&M Outdoor Adventures offers a wide range of activities and services to the Bryan-College Station community.
The program provides a large variety of rental equipment, manages the climbing wall and small bouldering wall in the Recreational Center and organizes day trips, extended trips, and clinics for people of all skill levels. Outdoor Adventures student staff assist with planning trips outside of the ones the program provides. All the resources of Outdoor Adventures are available to both students and non-students.
Outdoor Adventures Director Jason Kurten said the program’s goal is to give the public a safe and affordable way to interact with nature, even if someone may not have a lot of experience or knowledge of the activity.
“Just because you’ve never been rock climbing before doesn’t keep you from being on our trips,” Kurten said. “It actually makes you a perfect client for us because we gear all of our trips for beginners.”
Outdoor Adventures offers multiple rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking and hiking day trips throughout the semester. They also organize several extended trips that change every semester. The program’s next extended trip open for registration will be hiking in Big Bend National Park from Dec. 16 through 22.
People interested in registering for a trip are required to fill out a waiver on MaroonLink. Attendees also have the option to fill out a health history form and provide dietary information.
“Serving and eating good food is a big part of our trips,” Kurten said. “We don’t just eat hot dogs and smores. It’s likely if you’re on one of our trips, you’re going to get soup or stew, you might get curry and rice, or jambalaya.”
According to Kurten, spending time outdoors provides an opportunity to connect with other people in ways that are not possible anywhere else.
“Cohesion that occurs in the outdoors — even amongst a group of strangers — is amazing,” Kurten said. “It’s a good way of meeting new people, people that are different from yourself and forging towards a common goal with them. You don’t get to do that a lot anymore.”
When the climbing facility was built in 1995 along with the Recreation Center, Outdoor Adventures began offering one-on-one rock climbing lessons, climbing wall instructor courses and associated programming. Kurten said although the wall can seem intimidating, some of the phases of the climbing wall are as easy to climb as a ladder.
“I had a friend of mine come to me one time, and getting to the top of the climbing wall was on her 40 by 40 list,” Kurten said. “She came in expecting to have to work with me over several sessions to get her to the top of the climbing wall, but she did it on her first try. It’s way more accessible than most people realize.”
Additionally, Outdoor Adventures has a rental center that includes camping gear, watercraft, rock climbing gear and yard games. They also rent coolers to tailgaters and manage a bike hub to fix bikes. Most recently, they bought two new saltwater fishing kayaks available to rent.
“We’re unique in this area in that we rent this type of gear out to anyone,” Kurten said. “There are some other places in town, they may rent some boats, but we rent the full gamut of outdooring gear.”
Outdoor Adventures was founded in 1984 by Patsy Kott, making the program older than the Recreational Center. Over the years, the program has transformed in some ways to better fit the needs of Aggies.
“One big way that we’ve changed is in embracing the development that occurs within our students through their work here and through their participation in our program,” Kurten said. “They learn things that help them in the classroom.”

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