Students Embark on Spring Break Team Building Adventure
The Outdoor Pursuits program at New Paltz is part of the Office of Wellness & Recreation’s commitment to provide diverse recreational opportunities for the campus community.
Activities include adventure trips, rock climbing, skiing and many other challenging opportunities that focus on environmental awareness, education, personal development, social interaction and fun.
Last month, Keith Kenney, the Wellness & Recreation director at New Paltz, and 13 New Paltz students embarked on a less-than-typical Spring Break adventure through the Costa Rica Outward Bound program.
As part of a seven-day, multi-element adventure course in Costa Rica, Kenney and the students successfully completed three days of hiking and camping over 26 miles of rain forests and mountains. They also visited Manuel Antonio Beach where they surfed and explored the 1,700-acre national park; spent a day white-water rafting on the Pacuare River, the eighth-fastest river in the world; and concluded the week by exploring the capital city of San Jose.
On the trip students were not allowed to carry I-pods, cell phones, watches or laptops. Instead, students were assigned a job each day and each night they discussed the high and low points of the day, told jokes and learned about the history of Costa Rica.
“We spent two nights in the mountains doing a home-stay with a local family,” recalled Kenney. “We camped on a porch outside in the beautiful tropical weather – we were disconnected from the rest of the world.”
Bianca Camacho’10, a business management major on the trip, said that participating was one of the best experiences she has ever had. “Being in the heart of the mountains, surrounded by all the beauty of the rainforest, was so invigorating and fulfilling that it is still sinking in,” she said. “We saw and experienced how simply life can be lived and how simplicity does not imply unhappiness but, in fact, nurtures happiness.”
Megan Wachs ’12, a metal major, said that of all the traveling she has done, nothing felt more rewarding or beneficial than this trip. “I know that if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to go on this trip I would have regretted it,” said Wachs. “We bonded and grew as a group. We each pushed our individual limits and got to encounter something that few people are fortunate enough to experience.”
Kenney said that it was his most rewarding experience as a professional at New Paltz and he hopes to offer even more team-building adventures in the future. “We learned so much about ourselves and the country of Costa Rica. I hope we can expand on this trip and give more students this wonderful opportunity,” he said.
For more information about the Outdoor Pursuits program, visit www.newpaltz.edu/recreation/about.html.