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,
“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
“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.