The Outdoor Recreation Club stores camping equipment for the May 14 overnight event in their gear room in the Trever Hall basement.
Photo by Alana Melvin.
A “Camping 101” event, sponsored by Outdoor Recreational Club (ORC), will be held overnight today, May 14, starting at 6:15 p.m. This event aims to teach students some basic camping skills in preparation for any future camping activities.
The event will start with the “Camping Basics” section. All participants will be meeting at Trevor Hall at 6:15 p.m. and then moving to various stations for different learning activities around Main Hall Green and SLUG Campfire in small groups of 10 participants from 7 to 9 p.m., according to sophomore Shae Erlandson, the co-president of ORC.
The learning activities seek to engage students in different introductory camping skills such as packing camping supplies, setting up a tent, building a fire, utilizing portable stoves and tying knots, said sophomore Madeleine Meade, the other co-president of ORC. There will also be a tutorial on “bear hanging,” in which campers learn how to tie bags of food with ropes and hang the bags on high branches overnight to prevent bears and other wildlife from getting the food.
During the “Overnight Camping” section after 9 p.m., students can play games led by ORC, such as “flashlight tag” and “mafia,” hang out casually and sleep overnight on Main Hall Green, according to Meade. Since only the first 24 participants who signed up via Google Form were able to reserve a tent, and ORC has a limited supply of sleeping pads and sleeping bags to lend to other participants, students are encouraged to bring their own sleeping equipment or to simply sleep on grass if they would like to, according to Erlandson.
Erlandson acknowledged that sleeping on outdoor grass is less comfortable compared to sleeping in a dormitory. Having animals and insects around while sleeping is part of the camping experience since people are in their habitats, Erlandson said; ORC has also contacted Campus Safety, who will be aware of the event and look out for the participants.
For COVID-19 safety protocol, masks are required throughout the event except when students are eating snacks or drinking water, according to Meade; students are also asked to eat dinner before attending the event to minimize transmission risks. In addition, given the event will be held in an outdoor space, Meade said, it will be easy for participants to spread out and practice social distancing.
“With COVID and everything, we haven’t [been able to have] this type of event where a lot of people could go to [for a long time],” Meade said. “But since we are doing a completely outdoor event, it’s like one of the safest ways to be together at this time.”
The opportunity to meet new people and spend time together is one of the major draws for sophomore Madison Price, who is new to camping. Besides her interest in exploring camping as a new experience, Price looks forward to engaging in social interactions with people through learning various camping skills together, which she sees as a unique opportunity to connect.
The next morning, students will have the option to participate in a deep-listening walk activity, where students, either alone or in groups, can walk around campus in silence and try to listen to everything around and inside of them, according to Erlandson.
“It is kind of like a walking meditation to be alone with your own thoughts and open to what goes through your head,” Erlandson said.
At the end of the event, ORC will teach people how to clean up campsites and put away supplies based on “7 Leave-No-Trace Principles,” which help ensure that campers leave behind a minimal human impact on the environment, Erlandson said.
As the event is approaching, Meade and Erlandson encourage the student body to explore the process of camping and find their potential passion in these types of activities.
“We think that it is gonna be fun no matter what happens,” Erlandson said. “I think the school is also excited…Just to get outside, learning something and just be surrounded by people!”