WSU Outdoor Rec Calling All Adventurers
OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University is offering two opportunities to get individuals involved and engaged in outdoor recreation activities and leadership. July 28-30, Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Program will host the Women Only Rock Climbing Trip, and beginning fall semester, the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education will launch a new Bachelor of Science in Outdoor & Community Recreation Education.
These programs are intended to change the perception of who can be an outdoor adventurer and encourage underrepresented groups, including women, to take full advantage of all the benefits of outdoor and community recreation.
“Women have historically participated less frequently than men, which has limited their access to the many benefits of outdoor recreation that all individuals should enjoy,” said Cass Morgan, WSU program director and assistant professor of outdoor & community recreation education. “Improved physical fitness, self-perception, a greater sense of competence, feelings of accomplishment and stress reduction — these are all benefits people gain through participation in outdoor recreation.”
Female climbing staff from Campus Recreation will lead the climbing trip, which will include two nights of camping and hiking near Ruth Lake in the High Uintas Wilderness. To focus on nature, participants will do without electricity, running water and vehicles. Beginner and intermediate female climbers, age 18 and older, are invited and will learn any skill needed to be successful.
“When you create experiences built around similar motivations or expectations, you are better able to tailor the experience for the participants and consequently help eliminate some of the barriers,” Morgan said. “Having women-specific programming provides an opportunity to overcome some of these barriers and can result in an inclusive environment where women gain technical skills and meet other women, which hopefully results in continued involvement in the sport.”
The cost to attend the trip is $75 for WSU students and faculty and $100 for community members. Basic camping and climbing gear will be supplied to all participants.
Connecting women with outdoor recreation isn’t a new idea, but has been gaining popularity particularly with younger women.
According to the 2016 Outdoor Recreation Participation report prepared by The Outdoor Foundation, women make up 46 percent of outdoor recreation participants. However, in the 17-25 age group, 58 percent of the participants are women. The report surveyed 142.4 million respondents, and 15.9 million of those participants fell in the 17-25 age group.
“Our cultural norms have played a role in perpetuating stereotypical gender roles around the recreation women are ‘supposed’ to do or want to do,” Morgan said. “For example, if I were to ask who comes to mind when I say rock climber, the first image that would likely pop into your mind is a man. The same could be said for other outdoor recreation activities like whitewater kayaking or mountaineering. That changes however, if I were to say yoga, you probably would initially think of a woman.”
Changing stereotypes is just part of the new WSU major focused on teaching the recreation skills and leadership necessary to have a career in the recreation industry. Outdoor & community recreation education will have two tracks: one focused on outdoor recreation administration and the other on community recreation administration.
This major offers students the opportunity to work in various careers such as with the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, municipal parks and recreation departments, campus recreation, youth development agencies, travel and tourism, outdoor education programs and schools, commercial guiding and instruction, and outdoor retail.
“This program is focused on providing students the administrative and management skills necessary for the profession and to equip students to pursue advancement beyond entry-level positions,” Morgan said. “Two classes offered this coming fall, Introduction to Outdoor Pursuits and Recreation and Leisure in Modern Society, are open to all students and are a great way to learn about outdoor recreation activities and possible career paths.”
For more information on the Women Only Rock Climbing Trip, visit weber.edu/outdoor/womens-climbing.
For more information on the new degree program visit weber.edu/HPHP.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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