Students at McPherson College have the opportunity to set out on their own adventures and explore all Kansas has to offer through a new program on campus called Build Your Own Adventure. Offered through the college’s Bulldog Adventures organization, it provides gear and planning information to assist students in taking advantage of the great outdoor spaces in Kansas on their own time.
Bulldog Adventures, a program introduced by McPherson College last year, provides opportunities for students to participate in monthly adventures and on-campus outdoor activities. Offering ventures like hiking, float trips, a fishing derby, and lawn games, Bulldog Adventures utilizes outdoor spaces in and around campus to engage students and develop leadership skills.
“We have great participation in our monthly outings but also wanted to give our students the ability to explore Kansas on their own,” Tony Helfrich, director of Bulldog Adventures, said. “For many of our students, our adventures are their first exposure to this part of our state.”
Adventure gear for hiking like backpacks and trekking poles along with fishing gear, tents, sleeping bags, and other camping gear, disc golf sets as well as other gear like binoculars and hammocks are available for students to check out and use on their adventures. The gear, which was donated to the college through The Outdoor Fund by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s is offered at no expense to the students.
Helfrich, an experienced outdoorsman, is available to help students plan their adventure. A list of hiking trails, fishing sites, camping areas and disc golf courses within half a day’s drive from campus provide plenty of options for students to experience Kansas.
“The adventure programs enhance the collegiate experience in a way that has not been done before,” Helfrich said. “I hope to engage students and spark a passion for adventure by taking advantage of all there is to do in Kansas. It’s an ideal way to socialize in a responsible way while learning skills they can enjoy their entire life.”
Beside the monthly group adventures and the new Build Your Own Adventure program, Bulldog Adventures also coordinates efforts of the student Adventures Club, which is working with the Environmental Stewardship class to develop the McPherson College Outdoor Adventure Education Center at Bulldog Park in McPherson. It also conducts team-building adventures for student athletes and collaborates with other organizations and programs on campus to plan outdoor activities during orientation and throughout the semester. Each week this fall, Bulldog Adventures hosted games on the college lawns where student teams competed for prizes.
Helfrich is looking forward to continuing to grow each of the pillars under the umbrella of Bulldog Adventures and increasing the number of students engaged in outdoor adventures.
“The positive characteristics the great outdoors organically instill in individuals is powerful and having the opportunity to see this take place in students is truly a blessing,” he said.