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Western Outdoor Leadership comes to UA for the first time

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Attendees practice their scuba diving skills at the 2019 Western Region Outdoor Leadership Conference at the Campus Recreation Center on Saturday Jan. 19.

When the word “exercise” is mentioned, many people think of just sweating it out in the gym. The Western Region Outdoor Leadership Conference looked to change that.

This was the first year the conference, which brings together various outdoor recreation programs from colleges across the west, was held at the University of Arizona’s Campus Recreation Center. The event occurred from Friday Jan. 18 to Sunday Jan. 20.

WROLC provided attendees with back-to-back activities they could take from the event and use as alternative ways of staying active.

“Something that we're trying to show people is that there are ways to be active that is more fun than just going to the gym and lifting,” said Zaynah Kmeid, a biomedical engineering major and Outdoor Rec employee. 

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Some of the activities attendees had the option to take part in were canoe battleship, scuba diving, going bouldering and camping. 

There were also workshops at the event, such as healthy living, escape rooms, highlighting women in outdoor leadership and campfire stories.

“We do a lot of workshops, because it's a great skill to be able to stand up and talk in front of like 30 people,” Kmeid said.

The event was open to anyone; people from out-of-state schools came to the event, plenty of whom were from other schools' outdoor programs.

The workshops were all categorized by a main themes, like learning, vision and action, expectation, communication, nature, health and wellness and sharing.

Students could choose which workshops to do based on themes they may be interested in, and Kmeid said most workshops were taught by students, as well. 

"It’s students doing the workshops for us, and they're very knowledgeable on what they're doing. I was interesting in slacklining, so they taught me how,” said Matthew Howe, a student at California State University, San Bernardino who attended the event. 

One student got more out of the event than just being able to partake in outdoor activities.

“I didn't expect to get to know people very well,” University of California, San Diego student Christopher Currie said, mentioning he would definitely stay in touch with friends he made at the event.

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The leadership conference is an annual event that takes place in different western schools' outdoor programs. 

Even though this was the only time the event was going to be at the UA until further notice, students and other members of the Rec Center can still take advantage of Outdoor Rec from here on out. 

“Just try to go outside and try out the outdoor program here, because they have great stuff for beginners,” said Ben Watson, a student at Point Loma Nazarene University. “It’s designed for people that are new to help get them comfortable.”


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