“We want students' first exposure to adventure activities to be in a safe environment,” Pond said. “If you’re going to learn new skills and enhance your knowledge of the outdoors, we want to help with that.” Training will include equipment orientation, instruction on proper technique and first aid.
TRAIL Outfitters is a collaborative effort organized by the College’s department of Campus Recreation, the Leadership, Ethics and Values (LEV) program, and the Center for Social Impact. As part of the College’s strategic plan, an outdoor adventure program helps provide creative educational contexts and leadership development opportunities.
“While valuable leadership instruction occurs within the classroom, we are excited to offer students the chance to practice leadership in a challenging and adventurous environment,” said Abby VanHorn, associate director of Leadership, Ethics and Values. “TRAIL” is an acronym that stands for Teamwork, Responsibility, Attitude, Integrity, and Leadership – all values that are essential to developing the character of future graduates.
Through TRAIL Outfitters programs, LEV will offer leadership and team building exercises for student athletic teams, student organizations, academic classes, faculty departments and staff offices. Improved interpersonal communication, engaged collaboration, enhanced problem solving and reflective leadership practices are the goals of the team building activities.
Pond wants to take advantage of valuable resources available to the North Central community that may not be fully utilized. Campus is located immediately adjacent to the DuPage River, which is suitable for canoeing and kayaking. The pool in Merner Field House is perfect for kayak lessons. The Morton Arboretum is on 1,700 acres in Lisle, Ill., approximately 15 minutes from North Central’s campus, offering numerous outdoor experiences including biking, running, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Four Lakes Ski Area is just down the road in Lisle. The College also has access to a large house in Dixon, Ill. usable for retreats and outdoor education, conveniently located in proximity to a number of state parks and natural resources – including Starved Rock State Park.