From Alexander Osornio, October 5, 2021
The ASI Adventures program continued to promote intimate spaces for students with a love for the outdoors in its virtual campfire event held on September 23, and invited CPP students to share their exploration experiences and learn from one another.
For this latest version of the virtual campfire, moderators Marshall Fielding and Ian Navarro, ASI Adventures Student Advisor and Adventures Education Coordinator, trained attendees to prepare for a backpacking trip. They were also accompanied by ASI Adventures’ student supervisor Sophia Hayek, who shared some of her own outdoor experiences with a small intimate group.
Fielding hopes the Adventures team can continue to help students overcome “the barrier to entry” into outdoor activities by providing them with the knowledge and resources they need.
They shared online resources on finding backpacker locations, accessible guides on what equipment to bring, and how to look for weather or safety conditions like forest fires. Both Fielding and Navarro also shared some of their own backpacking experiences and kind advice.
The Adventures team certainly shared some of their own wishes and experiences with the participants, such as Fielding’s new love for paragliding or Hayek’s love for climbing and hiking with her dog.
While the Adventures team emphasized the importance of preparation, they also talked about the psychological benefits of outdoor recreation. Navarro, a passionate nature lover with lifelong experience, proclaimed it as a way to gain perspective and distance from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Navarro claimed that outdoor activities are important to college students as they help them develop personal bonds with the natural environments around them.
The Adventures Virtual Campfire started last year with the start of virtual learning at Cal Poly Pomona. With the break in personal events, the Adventures program started the Virtual Campfire events in addition to virtual tours through national parks, online tutorials for travel planning and invited guest speakers with background information on outdoor leisure.
Fielding added that the idea for the virtual bonfires came from Joshua Tree National Park rangers, who met with local climbers every Saturday to share vital information about the site.
“We’ve always been inspired by it because it’s a heartwarming moment when people meet to just talk about their experiences in nature,” he said. “When we went virtual, we thought this would be a good time to start rolling out such a program.”
In addition, Navarro believes that including outdoor spaces through a virtual format could help students understand the importance of advocacy for nature conservation. “If you don’t know something … how could you be a voice for it?” He said.
The team also used the program as an opportunity to tailor the experience to what interested the participants most. Hayek noted that the idea of a campfire to prepare for backpacking trips came from contacting the students beforehand. As a result, the event began with the question of which places they wanted to visit the most, such as Yosemite National Park or Inyo National Forest.
One of the resources Fielding mentioned is the Gear Rental Center, which helps students find affordable options for outdoor gear for “everything from a casual day at the beach with friends to overnight backpacking in the wilderness of the mountain ranges” Find. Although the GRC will be closed in the fall semester of 2021, Fielding is hoping to return in the spring.
In addition to virtual programs, ASI Adventures is currently offering personal fishing, climbing, abseiling and planning a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The team also plans to switch the current virtual programs to personal programs while the campus continues to open.
Hayek encourages students interested in outdoor recreational activities “to come down and try an ascent whenever the wall is open” to familiarize themselves with the adventure program.
To register for the next virtual campfire, visit the program page on the ASI portal. To learn more about outdoor planning, regulation or ideas, contact the ASI Adventures team at email [email protected]
Graphics courtesy of Justin Oo.