Last weekend on Oct. 10-11, Azusa Pacific’s Outdoor Adventures hosted its first-ever event: Wilderfest. Wilderfest consisted of four different outings in four different locations all in one weekend. The groups were all over the map, from Malibu to the San Gabriel Mountains, from Ventura to the San Bernardino Mountains. The four groups participated in four individual activities: paddle boarding, surfing, hiking and climbing.
In previous years, Outdoor Adventures had two trips in one weekend but never four. Wilderfest raised those stakes.
“We wanted to offer more trips without doing something every weekend,” Jeremie Riggleman said, assistant director for campus recreation. “Plus, a lot of new guides joined so I wanted to give them the opportunity to lead early in the year.”
Wilderfest accommodated 72 students, including the group leaders. The Ventura surf group involved 12 people, as well as the Malibu paddle boarding. However, the San Gabriel Mountain hike and San Bernardino Mountain climb involved 24 students each. Each group parted ways Saturday morning.
The various groups embarked in hands on activities, that for many, were first time experiences.
When asked to name the highlight of the Ventura surf trip, M.J. Younkers, senior film major and Outdoor Adventures intern said, “Watching people who never surfed before.”
“It’s like seeing them catch a 5-second ride on a wave, then crash. Stand up and yell, ‘That was awesome!’” Younkers added.
Many of the participants who joined in this year’s Wilderfest plunged into an activity and came out wanting more. For some it was the gorgeous views, for others embarking on a new adventure and building community.
Outdoor Adventures takes students on trips where they have never gone before. Letting them discover God’s creation in a way that involves nature, the group shows them places outside of Azusa.
“In nature, [you] see a different side of people that you usually don’t see,” Rebecca Peterson said, senior English major and Outdoor Adventures intern.
Wilderfest brought students the opportunity to engage in the conversation you would typically have when meeting someone for the first time.
“Conversations out on the paddle boards,” Assistant Outdoor Adventure guide Caylee Craycroft said. “Involving the open water, talking about science. Talking about anything.”
Riggleman mentioned that in all Outdoor Adventures events you learn a lot that you can not necessarily be taught.
“You try to make a to-do list or try to do X, Y, or Z. But often you just learn from doing,” Riggleman said.
The San Diego kayaking trip, originally intended as part of this year’s Wilderfest, will took place on Saturday, Oct. 17. The group hopes to add it to next year’s Wilderfest lineup, making it a five-trip event.