By Rick Henneman
Youngstown State University’s adventure recreation department takes students, faculty and staff on off-campus outdoor excursions. Guided biking, hiking and rock wall climbing programs are offered through the Adventure Rec.
RJ Markowitz, interim Adventure Recreation coordinator, hopes that he can get the word out around campus about the competitions and trips.
“Our main goal is to get trips going and generate interest,” he said, “We want to expose students to some of the awesome resources around here. There’s a lot of really great things to do in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.”
Starting on Oct. 4, students will have a place to rent gear for hiking or camping trips. The old C-store, next to the bookstore, will become the new Adventure Rec Resource Center, and Markowitz believes it will enable students to set off on an adventure of their own.
“Instead of us providing them a trip, we are going to provide them with the gear and resources to plan their own trip,” Markowitz said, “We will help them discover local parks and backpacking routes, and students can spend just a few dollars to rent gear.”
Currently the plan is to keep the resource center open on Thursday, Friday and Monday, so that students can plan weekend trips and return their gear on Monday.
The next Adventure Rec trip will be the Journey to the Mill, a hike through McConnells Mill State Park, on Oct. 8. Markowitz encouraged all students to sign up and experience Slippery Rock Creek.
“At minimum, we will be doing six miles,” Markowitz said. “But even if you’ve never hiked before, you should still check it out.”
Megan Guliano, senior accounting major, attended the first trip of the semester, which was a group bike ride on the Mill Creek MetroParks Bikeway. As a fan of spinning, she thought the trip was a great idea.
“When I saw the advertisements for the bike trip, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to cycle outside, explore the Mill Creek area and meet students who also enjoy fitness,” Guliano said.
Thi Pham, a sophomore, also attended the bike trip, and hopes that Adventure Rec will bring it back next year.
“I would definitely sign up again and tell my friends about it,” Pham said. “I had a really good time being out in nature after a long week of school and work.”
All of the excursions this semester will conclude with a meal at a Youngstown restaurant, and Markowitz hopes that Adventure Rec can make it a tradition.
“It’s a great way to get more students interested in the trips and to get them more familiar with the great locally owned restaurants,” Markowitz said.
Those who went on the bike trip ended their day at Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts downtown, and both Guliano and Pham enjoyed it.
“I really enjoyed it,” Pham said. “It was a great way to connect with other people who have similar interests.”
All of the Adventure Rec programs and trips have a sign-up fee. Some include dinner, while others do not. A full list of trips and sign up dates along with other information is available on the Adventure Rec website.