Tiger Trails

Summer '98

The Friends of Outdoor Action Newsletter

Clio Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

Welcome to the summer issue of Tiger Trails, the Friends of Outdoor Action Newsletter. This issue is filled with the latest on what's happening with OA and our upcoming 25th Anniversary. Look for the OA 25th Anniversary logo marking OA 25th Anniversary events.

See you on the trail,
Rick Curtis '79
Director, Outdoor Action

OA Community Service Programs Continue to Grow

OA continues to expand its Community Service Program working with urban youth as part of our joint mission with the Princeton-Blairstown Center. Even though classes are not in session we have done a number of community service projects this summer with a group of OA leaders who are on campus for the summer. We worked extensively with the Community of Scholars Program, a group of 40 fourth graders from the South Bronx, primarily African-American and Hispanic students, who were on campus for a month-long scholastic program that included reading, writing and math in the morning, and recreational activities like chess, sports, and swimming. The scholars lived in Holder Hall with the teachers and counselors. To start the program off we provided two special trainings with the teachers and staff of Community of Scholars on building a Full Value Contract for their group and a team building session for the staff on the Low Ropes Course. Both were invaluable for them getting prepared to work with the kids. We took the 40 kids and the 15 staff hiking in the Delaware Water Gap. It was quite an adventure as they climbed to the summit of Mt. Tammany. Small groups of scholars came to the Climbing Wall and cheered each other on in several afternoons filled with personal challenge and fun. We received of the Community of Scholars staff praised OA and the leaders who were involved for doing a tremendous job. The leaders really enjoyed working with these kids.

Community of ScholarsWe also worked with the Summer Science Superhero Program sponsored by the Princeton Materials Institute and the Invention Factory in Trenton, a continuation of a program we assisted on last summer. The superheroes are a group of fifteen 9th graders from New Visions, an after school program in Trenton. OA helped to build the Superheroes into a cohesive group by working with the students for the first three days of their program including building a group contract, team building on the Low Ropes Course, and the personal challenge of the Climbing Wall.

These programs are a wonderful example of how the leadership, facilitation, and outdoor skills of OA leaders can have a positive impact on the lives of inner city youth. We know that we are just scratching the surface of what OA can do to enrich the lives of area youth. Look for more reports about new programs we will be starting up in the fall in the winter issue of Tiger Trails or check out the OA Web Site.


Scott Ulrich GS with Scholar Erica Hernandez on a beautiful June day in the Delaware Water Gap.

OA Internship Program to bring new staffing resources to Outdoor Action

After many years in the planning we are very excited to announce that Outdoor Action has initiated a new position of Program Coordinator. This one-year internship program is designed for a recent Outdoor Action graduate to spend a year gaining experience in managing an outdoor education program and help Outdoor Action take some important new steps as we look ahead to our next 25 years. The Program Coordinator will work with all aspects of the OA Program including organizing the Frosh Trip, working with the OA Leader Training Program, developing the OA Community Service Program, planning trips and programs, budgeting and equipment purchases, and supervising facilities including the Climbing Wall, Low Ropes Course and Equipment Room. Thanks to generous challenge grant of $10,000 from a member of the Princeton-Blairstown Center board and a series of donations from the Friends of Outdoor Action board, we have raised the funds to cover the internship for this first year. We plan to begin the position this fall. If you or anyone you know is interested in working with Outdoor Action to expand one of the premiere university outdoor education programs, please call Rick Curtis at 609-258-3552.

25th Anniversary Climbing to New Heights Campaign

The Friends of Outdoor Action Board has targeted OA's 25th Anniversary as the time to initiate a major fund raising campaign for the Outdoor Action Program. OA's current operating budget is approximately $275,000 but annual funding from the University is only $29,000. All of the rest of the funds to support OA come from participant fees and Friends of OA support. Our goal is to raise one million dollars of endowment over the next five years to be able to provide annual endowment income of $50,000. You can help us reach this goal by maintaining your annual membership in the Friends of OA and by giving a special 25th Anniversary gift to the Climbing to New Heights Capital Campaign. For more information on the Climbing to New Heights Campaign check out the campaign information on the OA Web Site or contact Rick Curtis at the OA Office to find out how you can become more involved with the 25th Anniversary Campaign.

OA featured in Backpacker Magazine article

In case you haven't seen it, the August issue of Backpacker Magazine had an article about Frosh Wilderness Orientation Programs called "Outdoor Oriented." Since OA runs the largest wilderness orientation program in the U.S. (based on participant days), OA Director Rick Curtis was interviewed and quoted in the piece.

"I get calls all the time from other schools interested in starting a program," says Rick Curtis, Director of the Outdoor Action Program at Princeton. The school's "Frosh Trips," began in 1974, typically involve more that half the freshman class and include six days of backpacking. This past year's 72 Frosh Trips spanned seven states from Virginia to Vermont."

The article included this photo of OA leaders Mosby Perrow '98 and Caroline Sincerbeaux '98 with group GR46 from Frosh Trip '97 along the Long Trail in Vermont.

The Backpacker's Field Manual Sells Over 20,000 Copies!

Sales of The Backpacker's Field Manual have exceeded expectations. So far the book has sold out 20,000 copies and has now entered its second printing! The positive response from readers from recreational hikers to outdoor professionals has been overwhelming. Here's what one NOLS Course Director had to say, "This manual is the best single-source of substantial outdoor survival data that I've ever found. I think that this is the sort of manual that ought to be mandatory reading prior to any outdoor adventure." You can check out more reviews of the book at www.amazon.com. Do a search for The Backpacker's Field Manual. If you don't have a copy yet, order an autographed copy with your Friends of OA membership. You can check out the Map and Compass section of the book online as well as Tricks of the Trail, helpful hints for backpackers.





OA Annual Report

Over the past five years the participation in Outdoor Action Programs has increased dramatically. As you can see in the chart below even though the number of programs has not increased substantially, the number of participants has nearly doubled since 1993-1994. Clearly Outdoor Action is playing a significant role in the lives of undergraduates at Princeton University.

OA Programs (not including Frosh Trip)

Year # of Events Part. # Leader # Total #
1993 -1994 117 1,682 306 1,988
1994 -1995 85 1,467 299 1,766
1995 -1996 113 2,333 355 2,688
1996 -1997 131 2,584 592 3,176
1997 -1998 127 3,107 472 3,579


Friends of OA Donations

Thanks to everyone who has been able to support Outdoor Action this year. So far we have raised a total of $17,450.00. Of that amount $4,624.00 in dues were used to support OA's activities for the year and $12,385.00 was added to OA's endowment fund. As you can see from the chart below we received endowment gifts for general endowment, the new Climbing Wall, and the Zander Scott '92 Fund which provides Frosh trip scholarships for incoming freshmen.

Gifts Amount

Climbing Wall Fund $225.00
General Endowment $8,465.00
Zander Scott Fund $4,145.00
Total = $12,835.00

25th Anniversary News

We began our celebration of OA's 25th Anniversary this past June at Reunions. Over the next year we will be sponsoring a number of activities and programs both on campus and off to celebrate OA's rich history and to look ahead and build for our next 25 years. Here are some of the events coming up.

25th Anniversary Dinner - Alumni Day February 20, 1999

We'll be sponsoring a number of events during Alumni Day on Saturday, February 20. The big event will be the OA 25th Anniversary Dinner. This will be a time for alumni leaders and friends to remember and celebrate OA's rich history and to look ahead to the future. We will have information on how to register for the dinner in the Winter edition of Tiger Trails due out in November.

The Mt. Princeton '99 Climb for OA's 25th Anniversary - July 13 - 18, 1999

If you missed out on the 1997 Climb of Mt. Princeton for Princeton's 250th, you've got another chance. As part of next year's celebration of OA's 25th Anniversary we will be repeating the extremely successful Mt. Princeton Climb. Last year 248 Princetonians, family, and friends climbed the mountain and the upcoming hike promises to be an equally exciting mix of people.

In order to have a safe and enjoyable hike all flatlanders (including us here in New Jersey) need to spend a few days at altitude to properly acclimatize before hiking up to 14,197 feet. We have put together a great 5-day package. Arrival is scheduled for Tuesday evening July 13. On Wednesday July 14 we have a range of optional outdoor activities including mountain biking, fly fishing, rock climbing, or beginners kayaking. On Thursday, July 15 we will do a day hike to nearby Mt. Shavano to help us get acclimatized. Then on Friday, July 16 is a 5:00 AM alpine start to reach the summit of Mt. Princeton followed by a western barbecue at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Saturday, July 17 can be a day to explore the region or go whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. It is also the scheduled rain date for the climb if weather is bad on Friday. For those who already live at higher altitudes we will have some spaces on the climb for people to participate just in the climb and barbecue. (This option is open only to those who already live at higher altitudes or for people who have been at higher altitude for three days prior to the trip).

We have again booked the Ponderosa Lodge, a rustic lodge with family style dining and bunkhouse accommodations for 100. The Ponderosa provided a great meeting ground for all the climb participants. Cost for the basic program including the four days lodging and food at the Ponderosa, climb of Mt. Princeton and the post-climb barbecue will be approximately $400. For those participating in the optional day activities on Wednesday or whitewater rafting on Saturday there will be an additional outfitters fee. We are giving the Friends of OA special advance notice about this trip. Regular advertising to the entire Princeton University community will take place in the fall. If you are interested in joining us for this great program please indicate that on the enclosed form, and we will send you a more detailed information packet.

OA Goes Regional with Alumni Programs for our 25th Anniversary

If you live in the New England region, there's a new chance to get involved with OA Alumni activities. OA leaders Keith and Stacy Jackson, '94 have put together a trips program for OA and other Princeton alumni in the New England area. Stacy and Keith are coordinating with the Princeton Association of New England (PANE) to offer a series of outdoor trips. They have two hikes planned. The first is the White Mountains in New Hampshire on August 1 (see this issues News from the Trailhead) and the other in the Berkshires near Mt. Greylock on September 12. It's a great way to get together with other OA folks and have your own mini-celebration of OA's 25th. Thanks to Stacy and Keith for putting these trips together. For information on the PANE trips contact Keith or Stacy at 617-441-8113 or check the OA Web Site. We hope that other leaders will be interested in setting up regional activities in other locations across the country. If you are interested in working on developing regional alumni events, contact Rick Curtis at the OA Office or check out the OA Web Site for more information.

Frosh Trip '98 - Number 25!

Summer is here and, of course, that means the Frosh Trip is just around the corner. Can you believe it, trip number 1 was in September 1974 with the Class of '78. Now we are at trip 25 with the Class of 2002. After this fall's trip over 11,000 frosh and leaders will have participated in the program. We are really lucky to have two great students working full-time this summer as the Frosh Trip Program Coordinators, Katherine Byers '00 and Laura Scott '98. They have spent all summer getting ready for 610 new frosh and we still have over 60 students on the waiting list. We have a few less leaders able to come back this fall so in order to accommodate the huge interest in the program we have moved some of our trips off of the Appalachian Trail where group size is limited to 10 to areas that can take 12. Katherine and Laura have developed a number of new routes in the Catskills and on the Tuscarora Trail in West Virginia. This will allow us to take as many students as last year even though we are running fewer trips. We've added a new trip this year called Outdoor Adventure based at the Princeton-Blairstown Center. Frosh and leaders will base camp at remote sites on the Blairstown property and have opportunities for a range of day trip activities including canoeing on the Delaware, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, the high and low ropes courses at camp, the climbing wall, and a trail maintenance project. This trip offers students with no previous outdoor experience a chance to explore the outdoors and should expand the diversity of the students participating in OA, an important goal for the program.

News from the Trailhead

Here's the latest on what's happening to OA Alums out there in the hinterlands.

The Climb Against the Odds Team, Majka Burhardt '99, Bethany Coates '98, Naomi Darling '96, Katie Gamble '98, and Meg Smith '98 all returned safely from their climb of Mt. McKinley with the Breast Cancer Fund. Due to illness of some of the team members and extremely high winds, the group was not able to reach the summit, but in conjunction with their co-team members, four breast cancer survivors, the group sent a message of encouragement to all those dealing with this disease. Members of the group are touring this summer with the Lilith Fair and continue to do work on fund raising and education for the Breast Cancer Fund. The movie of the Climb and a special on ABC News will be out in the fall. We'll have a personal report from the climbers in the Winter issue of Tiger Trails.

John Gager, Princeton faculty member in the Department of Religion and long-time OA leader and rock climber received a Distinguished Teaching Award from President Shapiro at Princeton's Commencement this June. In part the citation reads, "Look for John Gager wherever students are found; at Forbes College where he is Master, in his class on the origins of Christianity, on the soccer field, in a chat group for graduate students of religion, at the climbing wall."

Ian Whan Tong '89 is in his third year as an associate practicing commercial litigation in Ontario. He spent some time last September in the Rockies and is looking for some new kayaking adventures in Baja or the Grand Canyon.

Janine Pisani '92 and Kevin McGuire '93 did their successful fund-raising climb of Mt. Rainier in July. They made it to the summit on a beautiful summer morning. Thanks to them we raised almost $2,000 in donations to the OA Endowment Fund. The big news is that Kevin proposed to Janine on the summit! The wedding is planned for September 1999.

Stacy and Keith Jackson '94 led the first OA Regional Alumni Outing to the White Mountains on August 1. In attendance were Brad Barber '95, Greg Bronner '97, Steve Brown '67 and daughter Carrie Brown '96, and Melissa Markey '96. The group had a great day on the mountain.

Claire Devine '96 has spent the last two years teaching at the Westtown School in Philadelphia. This fall she heads to Stanford to start a Ph.D. in Ecology.

Pete Schwartz *98 defended his dissertation in July and will start a teaching position in Physics at Colorado College in September. If you are out in Colorado Springs, stop in and say hi to Pete.