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CSU Outdoor Program Bridges Community, the Outdoors

student looking out over Fort Collins

Colorado goes neck-and-neck with our fellow outdoor enthusiast state, Utah, each year in which state is ranked the healthiest in terms of activity levels. The overall health of Coloradans could have a large correlation with the number of outdoor recreation opportunities that are simply sitting in our backyard.

As students of Colorado State University, we have access to a resource that not only understands the joy of being in the outdoors but more importantly works to share that feeling with all walks of life. The Outdoor Program at CSU strives to create meaningful and informational events to encourage outdoor recreation.

person smiling at camera while rock climbing
Grant Williams was one of the Outdoor Program’s leaders that attended the April 8 climbing trip. He is climbing the route called, “Liberty.” Photo credit: Kelly Peterson

Finding the courage to become involved in outdoor activities can be difficult, which is why the Outdoor Program is very intentional with their planning and procedures. For example, skiing requires a large amount of equipment and typically a commute up a mountain. This can be intimidating to beginners because of possible costs, such as equipment rentals, transportation and lessons. An activity as simple as hiking can deter people because of the fear of getting lost, having the right shoes or encountering wildlife on the trails. The Outdoor Program recognizes and appreciates these fears and uncertainties.

Ally Bloom, a trip leader and outdoor enthusiast, beamed about her experiences in the outdoors, specifically about leading engaging, enriching trips. Bloom is a student manager with the Outdoor Program and plans trips tailored to provide the “perfect” outdoor adventure. When planning the outdoor excursions each semester, Bloom and her coworkers focus on the weather changes in order to get the most out of each expedition.

“We plan all of our winter snow activities in the spring semester because we know there will be better conditions than in the early season,” Bloom said, explaining how the spring semester trips differ from the fall trips. She also mentioned that “no matter which season it is, the trips OP puts on are in place to foster connection and enthusiasm in the outdoors.” Bloom said the focus is to create events centered around teaching participants safety and planning strategies, so they can go try again on their own time.

The Outdoor Program promotes all their programming to anyone affiliated with CSU- that includes, students, faculty and spouses. Bloom also shared her enthusiasm when international students join the program, “because it shows that the outdoors truly connect people in new ways and it creates a larger community for these students who are thousands of miles away from home.”

From this, Bloom emphasized the community-binding nature of the outdoors. “Don’t be afraid to just jump in — our (Outdoor Programs) are designed to create a new community and help students find other individuals they can learn alongside with.”