Outdoor Rec director plans eventful season

by Juliette Torres

While he may be new to his position, Whitworth senior Blaine Eldredge is doing well  at keeping an eye out for new and exciting outdoor events he can bring to students. This is Eldredge’s first year as outdoor recreation coordinator and his second year at Whitworth.

“Double new, I suppose,” he said.

He said he decided to go all out for his fellow Whitworthians. The Outdoor Rec program has a motto that simply states, “Play outside.” The motto is a means  of  pushing students to enjoy new experiences with others; going on adventures and  just plain having fun.

“We’re very excited for a big fly fishing trip on Oct. 13,” Eldredge said. “It’s a day where we’ll take a trip to Idaho and learn how to read a river, have a casting lesson and it’ll all be done with the help of some guides for the trip. And on Oct. 26 we plan to backpack our way through the Enchantments.”

Eldredge said he became the Outdoor Rec coordinator because he feels he’s an idealist. He thinks about outdoor recreation a lot, and wants to  include other students in enjoying outdoor experiences because he thinks they can be life changing.

“By having a connection to the community, we hope to promote growth, passion and action by encouraging an active and engaged lifestyle,” Eldredge said.

Eldredge said he wants the program to be cross campus. Alongside Eldredge, the dorm representatives will be helping out and making events possible. The program will take advantage of the scenery that the area around Whitworth and the great outdoors has to offer.

A recent Outdoor Rec event was the bouldering trip at McLellan Rocks on Oct. 6. Bouldering is free-style rock climbing without a rope.

Freshman Kristen Schoenike said she found the event challenging because she had only rock climbed at an indoor facility, but she decided it was time to try something new. To boulder, all one needs are climbing shoes and some serious muscle.

“You have to overcome your fear of falling and use all of your strength to continue up the boulder you’re trying to climb,” Schoenike said.

Schoenike wasn’t the only newcomer to this event. Freshman Brittany Hoff is also a new participant in Outdoor Rec. Hoff has been climbing before and wanted to try again. Hoff said she found the most challenging part of bouldering to be the fact that there’s no safety line, but overcame it for the trip.

“The thing I enjoy most about outdoor activities is just being outdoors and getting to meet new people,” she said.

Coming up in January, Eldredge has a glissading trip planned that he anticipates will garner a lot of participants. Glissading is  sledding without a sled and involves the use of an ice axe for directing one’s movements.

“It’ll be a little bit of hiking and a little bit of playing in the snow,” Eldredge said.

Contact Juliette Torres at juliettetorres16@my.whitworth.edu

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