by Megan Bevins | Staff Writer
This May, Adventure WV will be taking rising sophomores (current freshmen) to spend time outdoors, making new friends and lifelong memories. The best part is — students can earn three college credits at the same time!
Participants can choose between two different Sophomore Outdoor Adventure Reorientation (SOAR) trips — one exploring Utah and one traveling around the Mountain State.
Logan Chapman, graduate assistant for Climbing and Guided Trips, says that attending a SOAR trip left him feeling more prepared going into his sophomore year.
“I had strategies for success and connections to on campus resources, and the discussions on trip focused pretty heavily on if we were on the path that was right for us,” Chapman said.
Chapman’s experience with SOAR led him to become involved in Adventure WV, eventually becoming a graduate assistant.
“The most enjoyable part of the trip for me was the connections and friendships that we made, and just immediately there's an instant bond with everybody,” he said. “On top of that, it was doing those things and connecting with other people in beautiful, unique places.”
SOAR Utah will span 14 days, May 8-21. The total cost for the trip will be $850.
Throughout the trip, students will explore the Canyonlands National Park and spend multiple days canoeing through the Green River.
“The nice thing about being on the river is the pace of the trip slows down considerably,” Chapman said. “You get up in the morning, make breakfast, spend time floating down the river and then set up camp for the evening.”
“Another great thing is that you get to access places that you can't get to without being on the river,” he added. “We saw a lot of unique sights, beautiful views and some great wildlife encounters.”
Students will be responsible for their own transportation to Denver International Airport, where the trip will begin. All costs following – including transportation, meals, lodging and rentals – will be included.
In order to receive three full credit hours for this trip, students must attend a pre-trip meeting, go on the 14 day expedition, complete two reflection assignments and attend two group meetings once the trip is over. Students must also attend three fall evening follow-up classes.
SOAR WV will span seven days, May 6-12. The trip will include activities like hiking, climbing and whitewater rafting. The total cost of the trip is $225 or free if you're eligible for the Pell Grant.
Gage Sneed, graduate assistant for First Year Trips, says that the SOAR trips differ from First-Year trips in that they visit different places and create a different sort of community aspect.
“I think my favorite part of the trip is just the difference between a SOAR WV trip and a first year trip,” Sneed said. “Going on both, you kind of just get the experience of the first year trip and the different community and different setting and different curriculum over the first year trip.”
“The community is different, the places you go are different, the activities you do are different, the people you meet,” he added. “Your leaders even have a different mindset and aspect of it.”
There are currently 10 slots open for the SOAR WV trip, but that may extend to 20 depending on demand.
The $225 fee will cover gear, food and transportation for the trip. A packing list will be provided on the trip or available for rental at no cost.
Adventure WV offers the Zachary David Burns Scholarship to aid in the fees for SOAR trips.
Zachary Burns was an Adventure WV participant in 2010 who valued his Orientation Trip experience. Sadly, Burns passed away in 2011. In his memory, Burns’ family established a fund to provide funding to students to participate in SOAR (Sophomore Outdoor Adventure Reorientation).
To apply for the scholarship, you must complete and submit the application linked below. Applicants must be non-WV residents. The scholarship committee will look at things such as financial need, quality of application and enrollment status.