With two semesters of new protocols and finding creative ways to remain open, the Outdoor Program (OP) at Boise State has some big plans for the spring. These plans include local and safe activities that are in accordance with the BSU Public Health Office.
Jordon Frank, the Outdoor Program coordinator, noted that the experience has really helped the staff with their creativity and has allowed them to showcase what the Treasure Valley and the Boise Foothills have to offer students.
“As far as adapting to it, with COVID, and all the uncertainty, everything has changed and it almost seemed weekly,” Frank said. “But as far as being adaptive, we’ve just been focusing on the stuff that we can do.”
The climbing gym and the outdoor rental center are open to students inside the Rec Center. As the weather warms up, more equipment will become available, according to Frank.
Frank also noted that the number of students making use of the OP is far more than was expected, and allowed for some of the larger programs and events to happen and stay within social distancing and university guidelines.
So far this semester, the OP has almost a dozen trips planned alongside a workshop series that consist of, but not limited to backcountry cooking, nordic skiing and trail etiquette.
“I’m seeing the need for students wanting connection, wanting community and wanting something else to do. And as long as we can, we’re just going to continue to try to fill that, whether it’s more workshops, more activities in the climbing gym or trips,” Frank said. “But it’s just good to see that students are taking advantage of what we have to offer for outdoor programs.”
Katie Hampton is a senior majoring in communications and she is a student leader in the OP. Hampton believes students are wanting to get more involved because they are looking for something to do that is different and outside.
“Being outside, it’s kind of nice because you’re naturally socially distant, like in a raft or climbing, and you can kind of almost forget that COVID exists for a little bit,” Hampton said. “And get that headspace break of like, ‘Okay, this is how we’re meant to be, we’re meant to be outside and being immersed in creation, in nature because I don’t think we’re meant to be cooped up on screens all day.”
“The goal this semester is to make the process of participating seamless and easy for students,” Hampton said.
Workshops and events are easy to register for and rentals are readily available. The staff is there to help educate both experienced students and newcomers.
Grace Beltramo, a junior interdisciplinary major in gender studies, sociology and criminal justice, is the team building and climbing gym manager for the Outdoor Program, and wanted to inform students about the ease of participating in a workshop or trip.
“We’re gonna do pop-up trips,” Beltramo said. “We did them last semester a little bit, but two days before, it would be like, ‘Hey, here’s a hike that we’re doing on this day in this location’, and they would be free, and everyone would come pop up and do that trip.”
The most recent event was an International Women’s Day climbing event in the Rec Center. Registration for all pop-up trips, workshops and events can be found on the Outdoor Program’s page on the Rec Center website.