Imagine waking up to the sound of birds singing, there is a slight frost on the ground as you climb out of your tent and take in your surroundings. Your view makes up for the chill as you see the trees and mountains sprawled out for miles in front of you. That majestic scene was reality for a handful of students from Hesston a few weeks ago, when they went backpacking in Colorado.
September 7 to September 11 a group of twelve students traveled Colorado to participate in the annual hiking and camping trip. While there students got the chance to hike three different mountains, go rock climbing, and even roast their own home cooked meal over a fire.
Clay Stauffer, the professor who led the trip, stresses just how beneficial the experience can be for students.
“The Backpack Camping course is an opportunity for students to engage in experiential based learning. Students learn to react and make decisions in real time.It’s an opportunity to see the amazing wonder of God’s creation in nature, the amazing views from the mountain peaks are breathtaking. It’s exciting to see students work together toward a common goal and connect as students from different backgrounds and experiences. This course contains many aspects of spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and social wellness.”
Sophomore Clay Axness has fond memories.
“I always enjoyed the evenings,” he said. “We would sit around the campfire telling jokes and getting to know each other. We even would cook our food, like rice and ramen noodles, in pots that we held over the fire. It was a really great time!”
Fun times were not the only advantage for those who decided to go along on the adventure. By completing and participating during the activities on this trip each attendant actually gained one credit hour. Camping is just one example of how Hesston students can get out of the classroom and still earn credits.
Throughout the year Hesston offers many different activities, trips, and experiences for students who are looking for unconventional ways to learn. In the late winter students have a chance to go on a skiing trip. This spring, students may take advantage of the chance to travel to Japan and explore language and history. Even this summer those interested in disaster management can go on a service trip and help others or experience a transcultural term in Philadelphia.
Students who want more information on experiential learning should talk to their advisors.