At Washington County Community College, many of its programs are specifically designed to offer students a hands-on learning experience to enable them to transition their academic learning to real world applications. Four students from the Adventure Recreation program recently had that opportunity when they planned, organized, and conducted a rock climbing competition on Saturday, December 16th.
This year’s climbing competition was based around a holiday theme, which was decided upon by the students. Appropriately, climbers were treated to a visit from Santa Claus, cookies donated from Crumbs in Calais, and Christmas music. The theme was a success with climbers, according to the students. A survey was conducted with each climber to enable the students to determine the success of the event. “They enjoyed climbing to the Christmas music,” shared student Spencer McCormick. “People said the event was challenging.”
As a reward for participating, all climbers received swag bags that included stickers, pamphlets and trail maps for local outdoor recreation sites. Winners of the competition received climbing gear, chalk bags, carabiners, and other prizes, many of which were sponsored by The First, Acadia Mountain Guides and Alpenglow Adventure Sports in Orono and Bar Harbor. A raffle was held for a 3-credit course at the college, cookie bags from Crumbs, and gift certificates from local businesses.
A total of 23 climbers participated in the event, which pleased the students. “It’s hard to market around here for a unique event like this,” said McCormick. “We’re pleased with the number of people that came.”
“We put a ton of work into it, but it all worked out. It turned out really well and we met our goals,” said student Kari Goldeen. Several goals were set by the students, including raising $300 for Toys for Tots. At the end of the event, $315 was raised.
The experience has contributed to the students’ understanding and familiarity with event planning, McCormick added. “We had a good introduction to event planning, not just learning about it, but actually doing it.”
For program director Scott Fraser, the event was demonstrative of the program’s approach. “I think this climbing competition is a perfect example of the experiential nature of our program,” Fraser said. “It provides students the opportunity to learn through experience.” He described how the students had to manage risks associated with budgeting, marketing, and the event itself. “They met their goals and hit their targets.”