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Released August 24, 2005


HATTIESBURG – Eight students took a break from cell phones and other distractions of modern life last week as part of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Eagle Adventure orientation program. Socializing, canoeing and camping along the Black Creek Aug. 13-17, four males and four females enjoyed the five-day trip created for incoming and transfer students.

Dr. Brent Wolfe and Dr. Gregor Kay, two recreation program faculty members, and Sarah Martin, a senior in the recreation program at Southern Miss, led the group on the adventure. The trip also included a day at Challenge Country, exploration at Paul B. Johnson State Park, and a final night at the Mississippi Elks Club Camp. In addition, the participants partook in daily journaling, facilitated conversations about readings and current experiences, and explored topics such as self-awareness, loneliness, transitions, and socializing.

“I believe that they all had a great time and really learned a tremendous amount about themselves and what it is like to live in a community,” Dr. Wolfe said. “It was also an excellent way for them to meet some new people before arriving on campus.”

The program was designed to help students adjust to university life, encourage emotional and social development and develop positive attitudes toward the university. The trip also allowed the students to become more aware of local and regional recreational activities.

“All the things we did, Dr. Wolfe tied back into what we’ll be facing when we start college,” said participant Lindsey Doty, an incoming freshman who intends to major in art and psychology. Doty said the group became close, learning to rely on each other in uncertain situations.

“One of the challenges was when they left us alone in the woods for four and a half hours with nothing but water and some notebooks to capture our thoughts. Eventually, we all migrated together and bonded. The exercise taught us a lot about how we need people in our lives and how we cope with being alone,” she said.

Calling the lessons she learned on the trip “invaluable,” Doty said she hopes the university expands the program next year. “All of us (who attended this year) are going to be back next year leading the trip. It was awesome.”

The cost of the trip is $125, and no outdoor experience is necessary. The participants have the option of allowing the Eagle Adventure to substitute the Golden Eagle Welcome Weekend for a GS 100 class credit.

“This was the first year for the program, and we are looking to do it again next year and increasing the size,” Dr. Wolfe said.

Student participants in the Eagle Adventure were Elizabeth Funk of Vicksburg, Chase Thigpen of Hurley, Timothy Freiberg of McHenry, Paul Saputo of New Orleans, La., Kileigh Peturis of Loxley, Ala., Robin Coon of Biloxi, Gregory Matkins of Fulton, and Lindsey Doty of Hattiesburg.

The program was a collaborative effort among the Office of First Year Experience, Admissions, and the School of Human Performance and Recreation.

For more information, contact Dr. Brent Wolfe in the School of Human Performance and Recreation at (601) 266-5651.



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September 15, 2005 11:52 AM