Adventure learning takes on a new meaning at September Camp

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At George Williams College, students are living their education through September Camp, a series of outdoor, interdisciplinary experiences that take advantage of GWC's lakeside location. Continuing a rich hands-on learning tradition, September Camp unites classroom learning with a focus on mind, body, spirit and service.

“I love the class; it definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone in a way that is fun and challenging,” said sophomore human ecology major Rebekha Crockett. “Most of the activities I have never done before, so I’m glad I get the opportunity to try new things and take advantage of our location.”

On fall weekends, September Camp students learn skills in backpacking, camping, kayaking, rock climbing and sailing on the GWC campus. They also participate in a service-learning project at the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wisconsin’s 1,200-mile hiking trail, where they assist in trail construction, working with professionals from the National Park Service and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“The class definitely creates a sense of teamwork,” said Crockett. “I’m also learning how to be creative, think outside the box and learn to adapt to new situations in order to handle the unexpected with a positive attitude and confidence.”

Throughout the program, students have opportunities to learn different approaches to their majors as well. “September Camp provides an authentic practice for students to work in an outdoor setting,” said Chair and Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management Chris Wells. “For example, social work students discover how they could incorporate therapeutic recreation sessions for clients. Sustainability and environmental management students survey how kayaking and camping skills could enable them to participate in extended field research in remote areas.”

At the same time, students from across all majors work together in an interdisciplinary learning experience. “Students bring their unique perspectives and professional aspirations to the course and quickly realize that they are able to shape their learning to meet their own professional goals,” said Wells.