La Vida sponsored two snowshoe events with Gordon students, faculty and staff. One group of 8 students went up north to Maudslay State park to enjoy the beauty of a nice clear day and recent snowfall. Another group of 18 people explored the trails of the Gordon woods on a two-hour hike that took them on several winding paths through the beautiful snow-covered trees.
Participants enjoyed getting out in the wilderness and it was a great day of building community between those who live and work here at Gordon. The theme this year is “together as one”. Our hope is that we can provide more experiences that will facilitate the implementation of this theme throughout the year.
Catch up with recent news from the La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership! Find out about new initiatives, program updates, staff highlights, and more.
Discovery TA Fellowship Program
La Vida often naturally provides an opportunity for fellowship in many of its settings. As our staff have the opportunity to work together, both challenging themselves and the participants they serve, they bond. And the opportunity to work with different people usually occurs regularly. But our Discovery TAs often work with only a few other staff over the course of an entire quad or semester. Apart from their senior instructor and possibly one other TA, they have very little chance to work with other La Vida staff.
With that in mind, we've recently been introducing several opportunities for TA fellowship. Over the course of the last semester, we've had meals, a late-night Giant Swing activity (complete with glow sticks), and TA-only rock gym and offsite rock climbing events.
These events provide a chance to connect and build relationships with other TAs, but they also provide opportunities to learn skills that could help them as they continue to serve with La Vida. The Giant Swing has unique procedures that they were able to learn during that activity. And while belaying skills are similar no matter where you are, the equipment that we use in the rock gym or at an outdoor climbing site is different. More importantly, throughout the many events, the TAs were able to share experiences, solidifying their connections and building each other up, as TAs, students, and friends.
La Vida LEAP Internship Program
This Fall, the La Vida Center kicked off an internship program called LEAP (Leadership Experiences in Adventure Programming). The program is designed to give Gordon College students the opportunity to develop their leadership abilities by involving them in the planning, marketing and execution of a variety of adventure experiences La Vida offers. The LEAP program includes; 10 hours of work each week, mentoring from a La Vida program director and biweekly team meetings. This year our four LEAP interns have led a kayak trip from Ipswich to the ocean, a day hike in New Hampshire and served as Discovery TAs. They’ve also helped offer events for other Discovery TAs and worked in the Rock Gym and for Adventure Pursuits days. Future plans include snowshoeing, more canoe trips and day hikes in New Hampshire and a winter retreat. So far the program has been a great success. The interns are growing in their leadership and facilitation abilities, Gordon students are enjoying a variety of outings and adventures and the program directors are enjoying a deeper connection to students.
This past August marked a new and exciting partnership for Nate Hausman and La Vida’s Adirondack Program. With the support of Gordon’s Athletic Department, Patrick Rich and his runners from Gordon’s Cross Country (XC) team spent five days of pre-season training at La Vida’s base camp in Lake Clear, New York. Patrick, Head Coach of both the men’s and women’s XC teams, had spent significant time with Nate out on the roads and trails surrounding Gordon’s campus last spring running together and through those many miles, the idea came about to have the team spend the first few days of their season together at the base camp. This new collaboration is even more special for Nate since he ran for Gordon as a student in the 1990’s.
In total, almost 25 runners and coaches attended the pre-season training and as a result, it has already become a topic of conversation for the 2014 season. The goals of the time in New York were multifaceted, focusing both on physical training and conditioning for the upcoming season, but also making sure the team had time to spend together, forming the friendships that would serve as the foundation for a successful season. And, of course, there was plenty of excursions to Donnelly’s ice cream stand and swims down in McCauley Pond.
Both Nate and Patrick are hoping this can become a yearly tradition and with time, will become one of many aspects of being a Gordon XC team member that students remember for years to come.
Quad Break Adirondack Service Trip
Recently, 13 Gordon College students and 2 staff members traveled up to the La Vida Base Camp in the Adirondacks of New York to do service projects at the camp and in the park. The students donated their time by doing maintenance on the Hurricane Trail and also digging two new privy holes at Polliwog Pond. La Vida has been doing service projects every Fall quad break for the last three years. It is a great way to give back to the park that the college expeditions enjoy so much over the summer. La Vida has a very strong relationship with the park rangers, and they look forward to working with us each year. This weekend was also a time that new friendships were made, and existing ones strengthened. The group put in a lot of hard work and we are very thankful for their time and effort!
Wounded Warriors at La Vida Rock Gym
The La Vida center recently partnered with Project Adventure to help facilitate an event for Wounded Warriors. These men and women experienced a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound during the service in the armed forces, and are now adjusting to civilian life. One way to help in this transition is for these men and woman to get involved in adventurous activities that can promote a healthy lifestyle. These activities also promote community among those who have had common experiences during their military service. Twelve warriors came to our Rock Gym and experienced the excitement of climbing as well as learning the technical skills of belaying and safety.
Faculty/Staff Giant Swing Event
For the past three years La Vida has been offering the Giant Swing for participants of our programs and for Alumni at homecoming. This year, after several requests, we decided to open it up to the Gordon Faculty and Staff! Twenty-two people participated in the fun including our Associate Vice President for Student Life, Jennifer Jukanovich, as well as several employees of the Lane Student Center and Physical Plant. Students enjoyed helping to pull their professors up to the 50 ft high cable and then watching them swing through the trees with the greatest of ease. We are hoping this will become a tradition in the years to come.
La Vida Adventure Camp 2013
August 2, 2013
Today completes another season of our Summer Adventure Camp! This year we had around 35 college-age Counselors and 33 Junior Counselors to help run the camp. We had high demand for campers to attend, especially in the 11–13 year old program! In fact, we had so much demand that we couldn’t even fit them all in, but we hope that those who did not make it off our waitlist will be able to join us for camp next summer.
As with last year, we continued to offer two options to our 14-15 year olds: “On-Campus” or “Off-Campus." While both options still offer lots of adventure and a few more challenges than the 11–13 year old program, the off-campus option has opened up the opportunity for us to take a group each week for an over-night camp-out in New Hampshire! All around there was lots of adventuring for us this summer and we had a great staff to help keep the fuel running and to make a difference in the lives of Adventure Camp families.
La Vida Service Project
October 16, 2011
This past weekend over Gordon's quad break, 32 students, staff and alumni representing The La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership ventured to the Adirondack Mountains in New York to partner with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to participate in five different service projects throughout the Adirondack Park. Many of those who attended the weekend had just completed their La Vida requirement this past summer, while others have worked for La Vida over the past few years. La Vida's relationship with the DEC has been growing increasingly stronger and stronger every summer as more and more Gordon students give back to the Park when participating in service projects during their La Vida trips. Projects ranged from planting 1,000 tree saplings along the Ausable River and surrounding Lake Champlain watershed tributaries as part of the Trees for Tribs program, to clearing and rebuilding a few of the many trails destroyed during Hurricane Irene last month.
Youth Ministry Symposium—Faith in the College Transition
October 28, 2010
At last week's Youth Ministry Symposium, Cheryl A. Crawford from Azusa Pacific University addressed the question, “will your kids have faith after high school?” The goal was to understand the college transition process and how youth ministries can be more supportive. Freshman year of college is often a time of loneliness that leads students to doubt God and search for identity in a number of places, including those that involve destructive decisions. The encouragement from church, family, and familiar community is no longer present. As a result, involvement in ministry within the first two weeks of college is vital to a student’s spiritual life. This fact only reinforces the value of the La Vida experience. Giving students an intentional opportunity to connect deeply with God before college lowers the chance that they may “sideline their faith… so that they can do the college thing”. Cheryl encouraged youth leaders to connect with students in high school, candidly discuss issues they will face in college, and provide them with support that will last.
October 9, 2010
The homecoming celebration was a wonderful time of fellowship and reflection on God's faithfulness to the La VIda program over the past 40 years! Highlights included a talk by Jim Keilsmier where he discussed how La Vida got it's start and why it is still such a needed experience for today's youth; a presentation by Diana Ventura, reflecting on the impact La Vida had on her life as one who deals with the physical limitation of cerebral palsy; multiple testimoies from students who have been applying the lessons they learned on La Vida to their daily lives; and an important announcement by the Provost, Mark Sargent, endorsing plans to build a much sought after indoor activities area for La Vida, which will allow us to offer more trainings, facilitate activities during inclement weather, and outfit expeditions for our spring Adirondack groups. For more updates and photos of the exciting things happening with La Vida, check out our facebook page by clicking on this link: http://www.facebook.com/GordonCollegeLaVida
La Vida Basecamp Celebration
August 25, 2010
Over 150 people gathered this past week at the La Vida basecamp to celebrate. College expeditions groups celebrated the completion of the 12-day trip and Gordon and La Vida alumni celebrated 40 years of God's faithfulness in the wilderness to the La Vida Program. Go to La Vida's Facebook page to see more pictures!
La Vida Adventure Camp Ends a Great Summer!
August 25, 2010
La Vida Adventure Camp just finished its 14th summer of day camp programs for 11-15 year-olds. It was a great sunny summer of outdoor activities and growth for campers and leaders alike. Campers grew in numbers again, ending the summer with 564 camper spaces filled. It was the largest group of Junior Counselors as well with 17 high school students volunteering their time to serve kids. The 24 Adventure Camp staff enjoyed getting to know middle school kids, teaching them and living in an intentional community on Gordon's campus.
Gordon College La Vida Center Offers Father/Child Adirondack Canoe Trip
May 3, 2010
WENHAM, MA—By offering a father/son and a father/daughter canoe trip in the Adirondacks this summer, Gordon College’s La Vida Center for Outdoor Education aims to provide a unique opportunity in which families can reconnect and develop a deeper understanding of one another without cultural distractions.
Both canoe trips will be July 5–10, 2010, for fathers and either a son or daughter, ages 10–14. The trips will consist of canoeing, portaging, camping, rock climbing, and team-building initiatives on the low and high ropes courses. The cost of the trip is $600 per father/child pair.
“Every La Vida Expedition fosters a community in which participants are challenged to be open with each other. We are excited to see how fathers are able to communicate with their children while on the trip, and hope that by being in God’s creation they are able to form a special bond with one another,” said Nate Hausman, Director of Adirondack Expeditions.
The La Vida Center celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and offers six different programs in the community including Adventure Camp, GORP, and La Vida Rock Gym. The offices are located at the Gordon College campus in Wenham, MA.
La Vida also owns 75 acres of property in Lake Clear, New York, which serves as a base camp for the Adirondack Expeditions.
“La Vida is excited to offer these trips to new and former participants of La Vida. We hope that they will awaken a sense of adventure in families in the North Shore,” said Hausman.
For more information, please contact Nate Hausman or Rich Obenschain at 978.867.4111 or visit La Vida’s website.
La Vida Rock Gym Expanded
April 19, 2010
WENHAM, MA—The La Vida Rock Gym at Gordon College has recently been renovated and expanded to offer a new climbing wall which includes two additional top rope climbs and thirty percent more bouldering area. Two of the walls have also received a covering of texture paint and feature all new routes in a range of easy to difficult ratings.
“We’re excited about the expansion,” says Holly Libert, director of the Rock Gym. “We hope that it will draw more members of the community to use the facility.”
The La Vida Rock Gym offers public climbing hours for the community to practice climbing and belaying skills. Open Gym (public climbing) hours are 6 p.m.–9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and some Saturdays from 12 p.m.–4 p.m. Day Passes are $8 and 10-visit Memberships are $40. The Rock Gym is also available to churches, schools, families, etc. for private group events, such as birthday parties, climbing courses, and team-building.
“While offering fun activities and a great workout, the La Vida Rock Gym seeks to encourage self-confidence, trust, and character formation in an environment that is safe for both beginner and more advanced climbers,” says Libert. “We’re excited to see how the new walls provide additional opportunities to our climbers.”
The La Vida Rock Gym is located at the Bennett Center on Grapevine Road in Wenham. For more information, please visit www.gordon.edu/rockgym or contact Holly Libert at 978.867.4111 or rockgymgordon.edu.
Matthew Loy ('06) Influenced by La Vida
March 31, 2010
"Learning Leadership and Spirituality from La Vida," an article profiling La Vida and Gordon alumnus, Matthew Loy ('06), is added to Gordon College's blog Notes Along the Way. Since helping with the installation of a floor at the Adirondack base camp at age 12, Loy has dedicated eight summers, his education, and his career to pursue and develop the philosophy La Vida has taught him. Check out the rest of his story!
Discovery Classes Start Today
March 15, 2010
40th Anniversary Page on La Vida Website
March 15, 2010
Be sure to check out the "40th Anniversary Celebration" page on our website. Go here to see a description of and to register for Homecoming events for La Vida's anniversary in October 2010. There will also be La Vida alumni gatherings at base camp in upstate New York and in the Washington, D.C. area for those who cannot attend Gordon's homecoming. See page for contact information about these events.
While registering, consider taking a second to fill out an update of your contact information so that we can have up-to-date records for you for the future! Thanks.
Rock Gym Renovation
March 15, 2010
Outdoor Education students attend WEA Conference
March 4, 2010
The Outdoor Education Immersion Semester staff (Rich Obenschain, Nate Hausman, & Matt Loy) recently brought nine of the Outdoor Education students to the national conference on Outdoor Leadership hosted by the Wilderness Education Association. In the fall, these nine students completed their Outdoor Leader certification through the WEA and saw this as a natural bridge to continue their education and development as outdoor leaders. Not only were they able to attend multiple workshops during the three day conference, but they also had the opportunity to network with professionals from around the country.
La Vida Center for Outdoor Education Celebrates 40 years in 2010!
January 21, 2010
La Vida is excited to celebrate with past staff, alumni, participants, and friends during 2010! La Vida began in 1970 as a part of Young Life and has grown to six outdoor education and adventure programs at Gordon College. Stay tuned for more information on how you can join in the celebration!
La Vida is Hiring!
January 21, 2010
La Vida Adirondack Expeditions and the Adventure Camp are currently hiring staff to work the summer programs. Collectively, La Vida hires over 60 staff to work with youth and college students in summer adventure settings. If you or someone you know is interested in joining La Vida's staff, you can find more information about staff opportunities with all La Vida Center programs here or at the Adventure Camp.
La Vida Adventure Camp Camper Brochures Available
January 21, 2010
La Vida Adventure Camp registration is now open for the 2010 summer season. Exciting and adventurous youth programs are available from June 28–August 6, 2010 for youth ages 11–18. For more information or to download a brochure, click here.
La Vida Marketing Intern
January 21, 2010
La Vida welcomes Heather Trapp, a communications major at Gordon ('10) as an intern for the spring semester! Heather has worked as a Discovery TA, Sherpa, and has served with La Vida in Ecuador. She is excited to help La Vida get the word out about Adirondack summer expeditions for youth and to develop marketing materials.
January 21, 2010
This winter brought another change to the La Vida office staff. Katie Madden, a Gordon grad ('06), has returned to be the office administrative assistant after completing a year-long graduate assistantship in outdoor education, ministry, and leadership from the Wheaton College Honey Rock graduate program. Katie brings a wealth of experience to the office, having worked with La Vida for five years in different positions. She is glad to be back on the North Shore and reconnect with past La Vida staff and participants.
Adventure Camp Visits North Shore Camp Fairs
January 20, 2010
Look for the La Vida Adventure Camp display at the Glen Urquhart Summerscape Camp Fair on February 6, 2010, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. The Adventure Camp was also glad to meet families at the Masconomet Camp Fair in early January.
Building up La Vida
January 20, 2010
After graduating from Mankato State University with a masters degree in Experiential Education, Gordon alum Matt Loy ('06) has spent the last year working for La Vida. He has done everything from property development in the Adirondacks to teaching as a part-time faculty on the Immersion Semester in Outdoor Education. This winter and spring, La Vida is glad to have him continue to build up the challenge course facilities at the ropes course and the indoor rock gym.