If you follow the Intramural-Recreational Sports Facebook or Twitter accounts, you have probably heard of COAR. However you might not really know what COAR is. COAR (Cavalier Outdoor Adventure Retreat) is a program for incoming first year students organized by the Outdoor Recreation program of IM-Rec Sports! The trip is beginner-friendly in terms of outdoors experience and calls for only 2-8 miles of hiking a day in the Shenandoah National Park. This multi-day trip allows rising Wahoos to bond with their peers in a relaxing environment away from the hectic activity of the "real world."
COAR proves to be just as rewarding to the instructors that lead the program as to the actual participants. I got a chance to talk to one such leader, Anne Stoner, who spoke on the amazing experience she had last summer: “For me it was super neat to be able to watch a group of incoming students… form relationships outside of the world of constant distraction.” When asked about some of her favorite memories as a trip leader she said, “The evening times really stand out because we had a fairly significant amount of free time and there was not all that much to do besides communicate with one another, play cards, games, riddles, and music.” The fun did not stop with these groups after the trip was over though. Anne also said that she still catches up with her participants throughout the school year! They go to grab the occasional Rev Soup, and meet up at the Outdoor Rec Center to spend some time climbing.
So if creating lasting relationships with incoming first years and spending your summer evenings in the great outdoors sounds like your cup of tea, then you should keep the COAR program in mind for next year, and apply! Gain valuable leadership skills, and outdoors skills as well! The University of Virginia is surrounded by gorgeous nature trails. Why not spend your summer exploring these trails while having an experience of a lifetime?
Brianna Burnett is a third-year College student majoring in Sociology. She's been involved in Madison House, Women's Leadership Development Program Committee, University Mediation Services, and Outdoors Club.