The actual significance of Outside Adventures | Sports activities

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Abbey Arends, born in 2018 and current coordinator of Outdoor Adventures, knows a thing or two about the positive effects of nature on mental and physical health.

On Wednesday, March 23, Outdoor Adventures will host an event called the De-Stress Fest at the Student Recreation Center, which will provide information and activities to help students reduce stress, Arends said. It also gives students a chance to learn how the outdoors improves mental health and how outdoor recreation at Texas A&M can connect students to the outdoors. The event welcomes guests from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Room 243 of the Rec Center.

If students only consider outdoor recreation as one aspect — like the climbing wall — it’s important to know that there are other options, Arends said.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on Outdoor Adventures. Now, Arends said she feels the program is beginning to make up for lost time, including a new project that Outdoor Adventures is developing with other departments on campus called Campus Nature Rx. Focused on the beneficial factors of nature, mental health, emotional health and physical health, A&M did not create the program but helped implement it on campus, Arends said.

“We worked with people from the Office of Sustainability [and] campus architecture [classes] Providing outdoor spaces where people can relax but also just clear their minds and de-stress,” said Arends.

Open to all students and organizations on campus, Outdoor Adventures offers tent and sleeping bag rentals to allow organizations to host their own events. Student organizations can also work to create a trip with Outdoor Adventures for their organizations, including a custom price.

“Bespoke trips offer everything they’re looking for,” said Arends.

Outdoor Adventures has something for everyone, and accommodations can be made to suit everyone, Arends said. Staff are trained to always remember that not all are created equal, so accommodation training ensures everyone has the best experience.

“We have other gear that we could modify and make available if people go backpacking, for example,” Arends said. “They may not be able to carry their pack a certain way or carry a certain weight on their back. Well our guides are qualified and have a more comprehensive ability to carry more weight on their backs. We can make accommodations for everyone.”

Extended trips were the most popular events, said Arends. Because international students don’t have the opportunity to go home, extensive travel offers students the opportunity to do something and also offers everyone different perspectives.

“Were here. No matter what your skill level at anything, we’re willing to work with you to get you to a point where you’re comfortable,” Arends said.

Outdoor Adventures hosts similar events throughout the fall and spring, including hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and paddling for day and half-day trips. Extended trips usually last a week and take place during the Spring and Thanksgiving holidays. Paddling and backpacking trips take place during Thanksgiving, Arends said.

During this semester, students can take courses in kayak rowing and fly fishing. Students can also participate in a Beginner Backpacking Weekend March 26-27 in Lake Georgetown. Registration closes on Friday, May 25th.

The registration fee covers all expenses and is paid when registering for a trip or event, Arends said. Day trips are $55 for members and $68 for non-members.

Arends said Outdoor Adventures gives students the opportunity to connect with new people, make new friends, and gain different perspectives. Florence Williams’ book Nature Fix explains how nature makes everyone more human, feel more connected to others, and feel happier overall, which Arends said is absolutely true.

Visit Outdoor Adventures for more information on programs and activities.