Adventurous way out of the comfort zone

Jose Moreno, Writer

The Adventure Recreation Program promotes wellness by offering a wide range of activities to help students keep their minds off classes whilst getting them out of their comfort zones. Sammy Jo Hosler, Graduate Assistant for the program, wants to ensure that there is an activity for everyone that wishes to join in.

Students can look forward to an array of activities such as crate stacking, archery and the Spring semester ski trip.

“This semester we are doing archery,” Hosler said. “We are partnering with XS Archery Club. We are doing some stuff on campus like crate stacking and we are doing an adventure movie night where we have snacks. Next semester we are going to go toward the beginning of the semester (on) our annual ski trip because that is something that the students enjoy doing. This fall semester is my first semester at NEIU, which is why the trip series is small because I am still learning about the student body.”

Hosler shared the process of booking dates for the trip series. She takes into account how the weather is going to be, so it does not hinder the experience.

“I went ahead and looked at what was done previously and how many people attended,” she said. “The numbers weren’t great for attendance and I wanted to bring in something different. For instance, this Friday, we are going horseback riding. Nine people signed up, which is more (than) who attended the program last year. We are also doing archery since a lot of people were interested in that. For the dates, I look for what’s open in terms of weather. We had to do canoeing early because it is going to be cold later on. We try to do our outdoor stuff at the beginning of the semester. We do the indoor stuff towards the end of the semester. I have six trips this semester and some of them are indoors, outdoors or on campus.”

Cost and hesitation over getting out of one’s comfort zone are the main reasons why trip attendance is held back.

“It is generally between one to five for things that are off-campus,” Hosler said. “ I think the cost is definitely one of the obstacles. I try to keep the cost as low as possible for students. Life is expensive, which is why I try to offer some free and some paid events. Another obstacle is trying to get there. CTA is sometimes great and sometimes it is not that great. The distance away is also something that is difficult. Once again, people not wanting to get out of their comfort zone or not doing something unless their friend is not into it. If their friend won’t go then they won’t go.”

Finding venues for off-campus events is a challenge in terms of persuading students to participate.

“I try to keep it relatively close for the students that have to drive themselves,” Hosler said. “When we wanted to canoe the Chicago River, we were going to go downtown and go to a canoe launch down there but they had an event during the time that we wanted to go. So we went to the Skokie Lagoons, which is about a 20-minute drive away. Horseback riding is about 45 minutes away but it’s right outside the city. I try to keep it close but not very far.”

The climbing wall in the P.E Complex is a feature that is often overlooked among students and it should be taken more advantage of.

“Once they realize it is there, they get excited to try it but people don’t know it’s there,” said Hosler.

 Staying active is not the only thing that students can get out of when taking part in the program. They can do personal development by getting out of their comfort zones.

“One thing that people can take out of, is getting experience doing something they normally wouldn’t do,” she said. “For instance, this past Saturday I went canoeing with the group and I took three students who have never been canoeing before and they ended up really enjoying themselves. They get the experience in things they wouldn’t normally do and they get to meet new people.”

The program is a beneficial way for students to take their minds off academic responsibilities.

“Anyone is welcome to do anything that we have adventure-wise including Tuesday and Wednesday, we have an open climb here in the P.E Complex where they climb the climbing wall,” Hosler said. “Being part of the adventure program and getting involved on campus is a great way for students to not overwhelm themselves with just classes and to meet new people.”

Hosler values the importance of highlighting outdoor activities since most think that there are only city-type things to do.

“There’s a whole world out there and a whole bunch of things to do within an hour of campus and the city,” she said. “It is important for people to get out and start to be comfortable with being uncomfortable which is a lot of what adventure recreation is about.”

Camping supplies are easy to obtain with the assistance of the program.

“If anyone wants to rent them, we have them available for a super low cost. We have plenty of tents and plenty of sleeping bags.”

If students have any questions about the program, Hosler is easily accessible through email at [email protected], or students can ask about the program at the P.E. Complex front desk as well.