Not your regular camping trip

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by: Cheyenne Lira

Many students get excited about Labor Day Weekend because it is viewed as another day to sleep in and catch up on homework. Some students at Rocky Mountain College take the three-day-weekend and turn it into a time of laughter, adventure, and memories. During the long weekend, Tim Lohrenz, the Director of Outdoor Recreation, and several student leaders, known as Ropes Course Leaders, organize a camping trip for Rocky Students.

Ropes course leader David Mack leads students in activity at Beartooth Christian camp in Fishtail, MT. Photo by Riley Howard

Ropes course leader David Mack leads students in activity at Beartooth Christian camp in Fishtail, MT. Photo by Riley Howard

Ramón Ochoa, a senior and fourth year Ropes Course Leader, was one of the students who went on the camping trip. In addition to having fun, Ochoa shared that some important aspects of the trip are, “to create a deeper friendship with all of the students that go up there, especially with the new students. [Current leaders] also begin to see who could be great candidates for future leaders at RMC.”

The camping trip is not your regular pitch-a-tent and enjoy nature camping trip. It is much more than that. The camping trip is full of new experiences. Some activities available for this last trip included zip lining, paintballing, and going on a one-hour horse trail ride.

Along with giving students the chance to try something new, the trip also gives students the opportunity to meet more of their peers. This is what makes the trip so memorable. Ochoa stated that, “[his] favorite part about taking Rocky students on this camping trip is the fact that [he is able] to see new relationships bloom. Friends are made, bonds created. It’s a great thing, especially as a Ropes Course Leader, to see the challenges you give them, make bonds, and friendships that could and might last a lifetime.”

In order for those bonds to be created, students learn how to work with one another; this is where the Ropes Course Leaders step in. For the first day and a half, students are split up into small groups and are led by the student leaders. The student leaders then give directions and demonstrate “Challenge Activities.” The small group then attempts to execute the challenge that has been given to them. While a major part of the challenge activity is to have fun, the other purpose of the activity is to boost teamwork skills and have students work with one another.

Students participate in Ropes Course at the Outdoor Rec. Labor Day camping trip. Photo by Riley Howard

Students participate in Ropes Course at the Outdoor Rec. Labor Day camping trip. Photo by Riley Howard

While the camping trip is geared towards new students and freshmen, any RMC student can attend. This year multiple upperclassmen joined in on the fun. One of the upper-classmen that went on the trip was senior, Laura Boulay. It is Boulay’s last year at Rocky and she did not experience the trip in the past; this was her last chance to do so. Her perspective of the trip is different than that of freshmen or new students because she has experience on campus. She said, “being a senior on this trip made me realize how much has changed in just four years. I got to see friendships grow in a few days and it reminded me of the friends that I have come to be so close with. It also was interesting to see everyone… worried about looking silly, but as a senior I didn’t mind because I’ve realized that being silly is more fun than holding back.”

The Labor Day camp is held at Beartooth Christian Camp in Fishtail, Montana. The fact that the whole trip is free for students, with meals included, makes up for the limited cell phone service. With all the activities going on, there is hardly time for cell phone use anyway. If you were unable to attend this last Labor Day camping trip, there is always next year. Rally your friends together, put your name on the list, and pack your sleeping bag. It is a RMC experience no student should miss.

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