Adventure trips offer students a new experience

Erika Puch

Instead of sitting inside on the computer, more college students are driven outdoors this time of year.

Ken Powley, employee at Whitewater Challengers, said he has started to see an increase in college students wanting to raft and kayak.

“I think this generation has been so saturated with digital media that the yearning to go outdoors is inherent,” Powley said.

Whatever the reason, students have taken an interest in the outdoors.

“It’s so much different than what you are used to,” junior English major Dan Kane said. “You are usually cramped up in your apartment studying ’til no end.”

Kane said he enjoys adventure sports not only for the excitement, but also for the exercise.

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center designs trips to give students their fill of outdoor adventure.

The intro to kayaking trip allows students to spend a weekend on the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania, about two and half hours from Kent.

No experience in kayaking is necessary to take the trip.

“It is geared towards beginners,” trip leader Jackie Newman said. “We go over what they will be doing on the trip and teach them basic skills.”

Before heading to the river, students meet with Newman to discuss camp set-up, plans for meals and the basic itinerary for the trip.

The first day on the river is spent in standing water, such as a pond, to practice skills and learn safety precautions.

“Some people get a little wet,” Newman said.

The rest of the trip, students and trip leaders kayak down nine and a half miles of class-three rapids. At any time, if a student feels uncomfortable with the rapids they are coached to take the boat out of the water and walk around, Newman said.

The trip is this Friday through Sunday and the cost to students is $175. The price includes all meals, transportation and lodging.

Other adventure trips offered through the rec center include a backpacking trip in the Allegheny Mountains as well as a leader training trip.

If students decide to plan an adventure trip on their own, there are several things that must be considered.

Location is an important factor to consider, Powley said. Students should decide how long they are willing to travel. Many rivers are located within driving distance of Kent.

Powley suggests researching the river before making your decision.

“Find the best fit for you,” Powley said. “There are some trips that first-timers would be scared by.”

Powley said most people should be rafting or kayaking in rapids that are considered class three or four. According to, class three and four rapids are moderately difficult to difficult with numerous high and irregular waves.

Most rafting or kayaking trips have a minimum age requirement determined by the class of the rapids. Some other trips that are more intense require that all kayakers be experienced.

“Pay attention to the river levels,” Powley said. “Spring is when most rivers have the most water.”

Some rivers may become tamer depending on the time of the year. Other rivers are controlled by a dam that adjusts river levels.

Information about most rivers can be found online at

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Erika Puch at [email protected].