Honors College students were pushed to their limits Sept. 23 at the University Camp’s challenge course, according to Lt. Col. David Yebra, volunteer assistant developer of the Sam Houston State University leadership academy.
The students went to the camp as a part of the Journey’s Seminar class.
The challenge course includes both “high” and “low” elements. The high elements include three different challenges from 35 ft. above the ground as well as a zip-line across a lake.
“We utilized the challenge course for its intended purpose, which is to bring out specific leadership lessons and to help push people a little bit to the edge of their comfort zone in order for them to learn a little bit more about who they are,” Yebra said. “And in some cases, accomplish something that they never thought they could accomplish.”
Not only does the challenge course help to build confidence, he said, but teamwork as well.
“They get the chance to work with their teammates, others in their classes and others in their organizations, and they get to learn a little bit more about each other,” Yebra said. “And whenever an organization can get to know more about each other as individuals, I think they enjoy working a little bit more with each other.”
Junior criminal justice major Karen Castiblanco said she discovered a lot about herself while traversing course.
“I compared the obstacle course to my life and when I was at the highest points.” Castiblanco said. “I thought of it as one of those tough moments in life, and after I finished the course, the feeling of accomplishment was great.”
The University Camp has been under development for several years and is continuing to change and grow. Along with the challenge course, it includes a lodge, a dining facility, a new pool, a lake and cabins that can be utilized for overnight events.
“The university has a wonderful facility out there at the University camp,” Yebra said.
It is located at 2245 FM 980 in Riverside and is under the direction of the outdoor recreation department, Yebra said.
“I think the challenge course is just a wonderful addition to the university as a whole,” Yebra said. “It offers facilities that are far enough away from the main campus to create a little bit of a distance and a mental separation from the day-to-day activities at the University, but it’s also close enough to the university that it’s not a huge burden on any group or organization that would like to go and utilize the university camp.”
The Journey’s Seminar is a class where professors from across the university speak to Honors College students about their academic or professional careers.
In addition to the university camp, the outdoor recreation department is in charge of the university’s trips and workshops, climbing center, equipment rental and Bearkat camp. The department includes both faculty and student staff members who Yebra said, have been well-trained to safely execute the activities which take place at the university camp.
“It’s a combination of staff and students that make up outdoor rec,” he said. “There are some wonderful coaches and guides that are members of the staff. The staff members, along with the students, have gone through pretty extensive training in order to properly run the challenge course and the initiatives that come along with utilizing the University Camp.”
Although the University Camp is a part of SHSU, there are separate costs to participate in the different activities out there that are not included in the recreational sports fee. Yebra emphasizes the varying activities with different groups that can take place out at the university camp.
“The university camp offers a nice opportunity for an organization, students, staff and faculty, to get away from the university proper, spend some time outdoors, with a team building event or a nice place to even just have a meeting that requires some free-flowing thought,” he said.” The environment out there at the university camp creates just a wonderful atmosphere for discussion and for learning.”
According to Yebra, the experiences and memories made at the university camp, can become life-lessons later on.
“I think it has a nice effect where individuals that leave, feel a little bit better about themselves and about what they’re able to accomplish,” Yebra said. “And maybe when you get to those challenges you will face in life, you might have a little newfound courage to take on those challenges.”
For more information, contact the outdoor recreation department on the university website.