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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One step away
June 8, 2024

The real importance of Outdoor Adventures

Photo by Photo courtesy of Outdoor Adventures at Texas A&M

The Texas A&M outdoor adventures has a wide array of inventory including kayaks and paddleboards.

Abbey Arends, Class of 2018 and current Outdoor Adventures coordinator, knows a thing or two about the positive effects the outdoors have on mental and physical health.
On Wednesday, March 23, Outdoor Adventures will hold an event at the Student Recreation Center called De-Stress Fest, featuring informationals and activities to help students destress, Arends said. It also will give students a chance to learn how nature improves mental health and how outdoor recreation at Texas A&M can connect students to nature. The event will welcome guests from 4-6 p.m. in Room 243 of the Rec Center.
If students only think of outdoor recreation as one aspect — like the climbing wall — it is important to know there are other opportunities available, Arends said.
COVID-19 had a major impact on Outdoor Adventures. Now, Arends said she feels the program is starting to make up for lost time, including a new project Outdoor Adventures is developing with other on-campus departments called Campus Nature Rx. Focused on the beneficial factors of nature, mental health, emotional health and physical health, A&M did not create the program, but has helped implement it on campus, Arends said.
“We have been partnering with people from the Office of Sustainability [and] campus architecture [classes] to provide outdoor spaces that people recreate in but also just clear their head and destress,” Arends said.
Outdoor Adventures is open to all students and organizations on campus and offers tent and sleeping bag rentals so organizations can run their own events. Student organizations can also work to create a trip with Outdoor Adventures for their organizations, including a customized price.
“Custom trips provide everything catered to what they are looking for,” Arends said.
Outdoor Adventures has something for everyone and accommodations can be made for anyone, Arends said. Staff is trained to always remember not everyone is alike, so accommodations training ensures everyone has the best experience. 
“We have gear that is different that we could modify and make available if people maybe, for instance, if they are taking a backpack trip,” Arends said. “They may not be able to carry their backpack a specific way or a specific quantity of weight on their back. Well, our trip leaders are qualified and have more extensive ability to carry more weight on their back. We can make accommodations for everybody.”
Extended trips have been the most popular events, Arends said. Since international students do not have the opportunity to go home, extended trips give students the chance to do something while also providing everyone with different perspectives.
“We’re here. No matter what level of skill you have in anything, we are willing to work with you to get you to a point where you are comfortable,” Arends said.
Outdoor Adventures holds similar events in the fall and spring, including hiking, backpacking, climbing and paddling for day and half-day trips. Extended trips usually last a week and are held during Spring Break and Thanksgiving break. Paddling and backpacking trips are held during Thanksgiving, Arends said.
This semester, students can participate in kayak row and fly fishing clinics. Students can also participate in a Beginner Backpacking Weekend on March 26-27 in Lake Georgetown. The deadline to register is Friday, March 25.
The registration fee covers all expenses and is paid when signing up for a trip or event, Arends said. Day trips for members are $55 and $68 for nonmembers.
Arends said Outdoor Adventures gives students the opportunity to form a bond with new people, make new friends and gain different perspectives. The book Nature Fix, by Florence Williams, explains how nature makes everyone more human, feel more connected to others and feel happier overall, something Arends said she feels is absolutely true.
Visit Outdoor Adventures for more information on programs and activities.

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