Students get active at conference in WELL

Maikalina Madali

Peak Adventures, in collaboration with The WELL, hosted the 19th annual Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference from Friday through Sunday, bringing in students from 15 other universities to Sacramento State.

The conference is designed for those who are interested in the outdoor adventure lifestyle. Students who are searching for a career as outdoor adventure leaders and staff were encouraged to attend.

“We wanted to show students that you can make a living out of this career and be inspired to take one of the many paths of this field,” said Peak Adventures director Jael Young.

The event is conducted voluntarily by one of the 31 university programs under the Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference organization. The host university is then able to plan everything for the conference.

A total of 175 people registered for conference this year. Attendees traveled from California, Nevada and Oregon to represent their universities.

“The goal is to keep this event as affordable as possible for students,” Young said. “Each university involved offers something to contribute to the conference. It’s a community effort.”

The conference consisted of various activities around campus such as rock climbing, kayaking, the ropes course, team building exercises, leadership workshops and outdoor cooking tutorials.

“The conference is great,” said Steven Figone, a freshman business major at Chico State. “We’re given good information, have great discussions and I got to learn how to make sushi.”

One of the more popular activities was the aerial fabrics session. Students crowded around the climbing wall, waiting for a chance to test their strength and dance with the ribbons that draped from the ceiling.

“Students who didn’t have a chance to try it during the session asked for us to do it again,” said aerial fabrics trainer Erica Lieberman, a sophomore bio engineering major at Stanford University. “We’re going to set it up later on for people who missed out.”

Another highlight for the attendees was listening to the keynote speaker Jon Turk, a renowned adventure seeker, author and expeditioner.

“His mannerisms and the way he talked with his hands captivated me,” Figone said. “How he told his stories made me feel like I was actually there. It really is a way of life.”

Besides all of the activities that were offered throughout the three-day conference, the attendees enjoyed being given a chance to connect and build relationships with others.

“I love that we get to network and meet other people with similar interests,” said Brycen Moore, a freshman kinesiology major at Sonoma State.

Young said students are given the opportunity to do some concrete networking, gain important contacts and increase skills that will build strong leaders in the field.

Peak Adventure volunteers were content with the turnout and hoped students left satisfied with unforgettable experiences.

“I want them to leave with memories that they will never forget. We want them to be happy with what we offered here at Sac State,” said Jamie Jackson, senior early childhood education major.

The attendees appreciated taking part in a conference that gave them the opportunity to do what they love with others who feel the same.

“We all have that same sense of adventure. We look for anything that will give us that adrenaline rush,” Lieberman said. “I am so grateful that Stanford provided the funds for us to be here.”

Maikalina Madali can be reached at [email protected]