In fall 2013, Harding added the outdoor recreation leadership (ORL) minor to its catalog. The program is gaining popularity among students of various majors while serving Harding’s community of mission.
The minor includes several kinesiology courses like scuba diving and rock climbing. The program also requires unique classes such as challenge course facilitation and outdoor living skills. Ben Hansen, a senior Bible major who added the minor last spring, believes ORL is a great addition to any major.
“It’s a unique opportunity, that’s for sure,” Hansen said. “You can use this stuff for anything, to design or facilitate,” Hansen said.
Hansen will graduate with outdoor skills in first-aid, lifeguard rescue and outdoor survival, just to name a few.
Professor of kinesiology, Jay Yingling, said he has plans to grow the program.
“We would love to see, in the next five years, this become a major,” Yingling said. “This goes great with someone going into therapy programs, so marriage and family therapy or professional counseling, because there are a lot of those that have outdoor components or adventure components. Even as just a standalone major, there are a lot jobs out there.”
He also has dreams of having university-owned mountain bikes available for students to rent out, cross-country treks, float trips and starting an outdoor recreation club on campus to build the program.
Harding is also requiring students to participate in other programs for ORL by sending ORL minors to train in a Wilderness First Responder course through the National Outdoor
Leadership School (NOLS).
This course will be in a trek environment, where students will learn to lead youth and family treks, advanced outdoor skills, and emergency response in a wilderness setting.
As always, the mission of Harding is at the core of this new program. This community of mission is upheld by Yingling’s goal to use the minor to reach students with Christ.
“One of the main reasons why I was interested in this is because we have some students that we are not going to reach, and they are not going to understand who God is on a campus or in an urban environment,” Yingling said. “That student has to get out in the wilderness and be out in God’s creation.”
The outdoor recreation leadership minor is an 18-hour minor that requires five hours of kinesiology activities. The program’s course options range from backpacking to scuba diving. For more information, consult the Harding catalog or visit GAC 100.