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Exploring Nature’s Classroom: Rec 100 Classes

Two students with backpacking gear on standing on an Appalachian Mountain.

What better way to experience what the world has to offer than climbing Appalachian mountains, taking on river rapids kayaking, and scaling new heights rock climbing? The REC 100 classes offered at SAU allow you to embark on the journey of taking in God’s creation and testing your own abilities in safe, yet adventurous environments. You’ll be able to go beyond the classroom and create unforgettable memories with amazing experiences.

Rock Climbing: Scaling New Heights (REC 165)

Have you ever looked at a tree and said “That needs to be climbed,” or even the side of a building and imagined yourself as Spiderman? Believe it or not, Rec 165 gives you the opportunity to ascend to new heights and fall in love with climbing. Under the guidance of seasoned instructors, you learn to trust in your harnesses, your belay partner, your own strength, and God to scale the challenge before you. This class is broken up into 4 class periods that meet on Mondays from 6:00-9:00/10:00 pm. 

In the first class, you learn all the safety measures required for checking equipment appropriately, tying foolproof knots, and the “climbing dialogue.” Next, you are taken to the Michindoh Conference Center, where you practice trusting in your partner by scaling smaller climbing walls. The last two classes are held at Planet Rock in Ann Arbor, an indoor climbing gym where you can tie yourself to whichever wall you please, or spend time bouldering in their large bouldering room. This class truly takes you to new heights within your ability.

Backpacking: An Adventure in the Mountains (REC 161)

This isn’t your typical glamping weekend. In the Rec 161 class, you spend four days on the Appalachian trail where the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the place you sleep, and all the things you need are on your back. It may sound intimidating, but believe me, there is nothing more life-changing and beautiful than waking up as the sun rises over the Appalachian mountains—where you hear the whole world emerging from its deep slumber from the night. The air is refreshing, and the people you meet on the trail are amazing. 

When my class went, we met three “though-hikers” — people who are hiking the entirety of the trail which stretches from Maine and ends in Georgia. We were able to hear part of their story and what brought them to the trail. The entire class was able to hike together and have this beautiful shared experience. 

Nearly everything you need for the trip is provided by the class—all you need is a sleeping bag and a change of clothes. One of the best parts of this trip is going to Golden Corral on the last day and stuffing yourself after eating nothing but ramen, GORP (good ol’ raisin and peanuts), and beef jerky. Because of this trip, my fiance and I are making it a goal in life to hike from Maine to Georgia on the Appalachian Trail!

Kayaking: Taking on the River Rapids(REC 162)

What sounds better: being stuffed in your dorm playing video games or watching a TV show when it’s a beautiful fall day, or spending the day in the peace of nature as you find yourself paddling down a winding river in the sun? The Rec 162 class is an amazing opportunity to get off campus and explore hidden gems in the area. Take the class with a friend and embark on this small but exciting journey together, or go in alone and meet some great people in the class! 

The class is only three Saturdays at the beginning of the semester where you learn the basics of kayaking, spend a day out on the lake, and the final class is the river. Once everyone meets up at the campground boat launch at the end of the trip, we all go to a local restaurant to enjoy pizza and fellowship before heading back to campus. It is a great break from classes and an opportunity to get outside more. 

These classes are more than just a way to fill up your schedule. They are truly life-changing experiences that develop your connections with classmates, God, and push your own body to new limits. I will always be grateful for the new hobbies and activities these classes allowed me to explore and I look forward to implementing the things I learned in these classes into the rest of my life so that I might live a life full of adventure and beauty.

Written By SAU Marketing Student Kaitlyn Mallory