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Outdoor Action Newsletter

Spring 2004


What is Outdoor Action?

The Outdoor Action Program (OA) is Princeton University's outdoor experiential education program. We offer trips and courses throughout the academic year to Princeton undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff in a variety of outdoor activities. OA trips are led by students or staff who have gone through an extensive Leader Training Program. If you are interested in becoming an OA Leader, see the back of the newsletter for details about the OA Leader Training Program schedule for this semester.

Banff Festival LogoBanff Mountain Film Festival

For twenty eight years, The Banff Mountain Film Festival has celebrated the spirit of adventure and the mountain environment. Each November, the world's best films on mountain themes from climbing and mountaineering to kayaking, mountain biking, parasailing and mountain culture, draw an international audience to the town of Banff, Canada. The festival now attracts audiences of 10,000 with over 300 films submitted from 38 countries. Following the festival, the best films are sent on tour across North American. Outdoor Action and Blue Ridge Mountain Sports are proud to sponsor this year's festival at Princeton University on Wednesday, March 10 from 7:00 11:00 PM (location to be announced). Tickets will be on sale at the Frist Ticket Office starting on Monday, March 1. For details on the list of films see the Banff Film Festival Page.

Frosh Trip 2004 Find Out How to Be A Part of the Team

The Outdoor Action Frosh Trip is one of the largest wilderness orientation programs in the country. Each year we assemble a dedicated group of over 200 students including Leaders, Support Teams and Command Center Managers. If you would like to be part of this year's team, come find out what it takes to become an OA Leader, Support Team Member or Command Center Manager on Tuesday, 2/10, 9:30 PM, in McCosh 28. For more information and to apply online see www.princeton.edu/~oa/ft.


Beginner's Kayaking Eskimo Roll Class

Kayaking is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports and offers an incredible range of activity options from relaxing flatwater paddling to racing, sea kayaking or whitewater kayaking. Winter is an excellent time to learn to Eskimo Roll in a warm pool. The Eskimo Roll is the act of righting a kayak if you flip and is an essential skill for many forms of kayaking. This Beginner's Class will teach the Eskimo Roll and basic kayaking strokes. No previous kayaking experience required. Dates: Sunday evenings 7:30 - 9:00 PM, February 15, 22, 29, March 7, March 28, April 4. Location: Dillon Pool. Course fee: students $55, faculty/staff $70. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Whitewater Kayaking Rodeo Class

Rodeo moves are one of the hottest parts of whitewater kayaking and the best place to learn these moves is to start in the pool. This class will teach the basics of rodeo moves starting with stern squirts and bow pivots and work through more advanced moves such as cartwheels. You must have previous Class II whitewater kayaking experience and a reliable Eskimo Roll. Dates: Sunday evenings 9:00 10:30 PM, 2/15, 2/22, 2/29, 3/7, 3/28, 4/4. Location: Dillon Pool. Course fee: students $55, faculty/staff $70. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Rock Climbing

Climbing WallIntroduction to Rock Climbing Course

If you are interested in learning to rock climb, this 2-week course will teach you all the essential techniques of climbing, including tying in, belaying and climbing techniques like weight shifting, stemming, and laybacks. The course will meet at OA's indoor Climbing Wall in the Armory. Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00 10:00 PM, 2/17, 2/19, 2/24, 2/26, 3/2, and 3/4. Location: OA Climbing Wall. Course fee: Students $55, faculty/staff $70 OA Leaders $40. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Top Rope Climbing Course

To move from a Climbing Wall to climbing on real rock cliffs requires mastering basic rope setup techniques to allow you to climb safely. The course will focus on learning to set up safe systems for top rope climbing in the outdoors including how to set up rope anchors, climbing knots and rope technique, site management, and safety. Classes will meet at Outdoor Action's indoor Climbing Wall in the Armory. There will also be a Saturday field class to a local climbing area to practice setting up top rope climbs at an actual cliff site on Saturday, April 17. Participants should have completed the Introduction to Rock Climbing Course or be belay certified at the OA Climbing Wall. Dates: Monday and Wednesday 4:30 6:30 PM 3/29, 3/31, 4/5, 4/7, 4/12, 4/14 with a day trip on Saturday, 4/17. Location: OA Climbing Wall. Course fee: Students $70, Faculty/Staff $95, OA Leaders $40. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

OA Climbing Wall

The Climbing Wall is an indoor rock climbing practice facility located in the Armory next to the football stadium. Climbers of all abilities are welcome. Experienced instructors are on hand to teach skills and assist in solving particular climbing routes. OA provides harness and climbing shoes. The Climbing Wall is open only to students, faculty, and staff of Princeton University. PUID required. Children of members of the University community may climb with a parent present. The Climbing Wall is open throughout the academic year except during breaks and final exams.

Climbing Wall Open Hours

Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Monday & Wednesday, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Groups can schedule Wall Sessions on Saturdays from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM by appointment. Contact swinkels@princeton.edu or aglotzba@princeton.edu


  • Day Pass: $4 students, $6 faculty/staff
  • Semester Pass: $40 students, $65 faculty/staff
  • Half-semester Pass: $20 students, $37 faculty/staff

CPR Courses

Adult CPR Courses

This American Red Cross course will teach you to recognize and care for life-threatening respiratory or cardiac emergencies in adults. Sign up at the OA TripStore. Course fee: $16. Location: TBA. Dates:

Monday, 4/5, 7:30 - 11:00 PM or
Tuesday, 4/13, 7:30 - 11:00 PM or
Wednesday, 4/21, 7:30 - 11:00 PM

CPR for the Professional Rescuer Courses

This American Red Cross course will teach you to recognize and care for life-threatening respiratory or cardiac emergencies for adults, infant, and children as well as two-person CPR. Sign up at the OA TripStore. Course fee: $16. Location: TBA. Dates:

Wednesday, 2/25, 7:00 - 11:00 PM or
Monday, 4/19, 7:00 - 11:00 PM

Adult CPR Refresher Courses

These American Red Cross refresher courses are for anyone who needs to update certification. You must be currently certified or recently expired. Sign up at the OA TripStore. Course fee: $16. Location: TBA. Dates:

Tuesday, 5/4, 7:30 - 9:30 PM or
Wednesday, 5/5, 7:30 - 9:30 PM

Equipment Rental

Outdoor Action has an extensive supply of backpacking and camping equipment that is available for rental (backpacks, sleeping bags, stoves, cooking gear, tents, etc.) if you are interested in running your own trip. Outdoor Action's Equipment Room (ER) is located at The Armory, next to the Credit Union. The ER is open two evenings a week while classes are in session. Any member of the campus community may rent equipment (PUID required). Rental costs are minimal. Please come and visit! Call with any questions, 8-6417 during Equipment Room open hours.

Tuesdays & Thursdays 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

How Do I Sign up?

Sign-ups for trips and courses are on the OA Tripstore on the Web. Students are billed to their University account. Faculty and staff must pay by check. If you have any questions, please call the OA Office.

OA Web Site: www.princeton.edu/~oa/
OA Tripstore Sign-ups: https://oa.princeton.edu/tripstore/
OA Office: 350 Alexander Street, 8-3552
OA Equipment Room: The Armory, 8-6417 open Tues. & Thurs 7:30 - 9:30 PM for Equipment Rental

This newsletter is published each semester to provide information about Outdoor Action's upcoming trips and programs. The Outdoor Action Program (OA) is Princeton University's outdoor experiential education program administered by the Princeton-Blairstown Center. For more details on OA activities see the OA Web Site.

OA Leader Training Program

On the summitHow Do I Become An OA Leader?

Are you interested in leading a Frosh Trip for the Class of 2008? Complete your Leader Training this spring! OA's Leader Training Program is considered one of the most comprehensive in the nation and has been used as a model by schools across the country. In the Leader Training Program participants develop skills in leadership, group facilitation, outdoor safety, first aid, and valuable wilderness travel skills. Don't consider yourself outdoorsy? You don't need to have any previous outdoor experience to become an OA Leader. We provide all the training you need to learn to lead and facilitate groups in the outdoors. We are looking for a diverse group of students, graduate students and staff who can provide leadership for incoming students. Upon successful completion of the program you are eligible to apply to lead OA trips.

OA Leader Training Requirements

Over the past year Outdoor Action has been working on expanding the Leader Training Program. The goal is to provide leaders-in-training with all of the skills needed to effectively lead their own trips in the wilderness as well as lead Frosh Trips. We have developed a series of workshops to teach you all the essential skills of outdoor leadership. Below are the training requirements to become an Outdoor Action Leader. Many of these trainings are offered multiple times to allow flexibility to fit into your schedule. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

• HEART Wilderness First Aid and CPR Training

HEART (Health Education and Rescue Training) Wilderness First Aid is an intensive course that covers patient examination and evaluation, body systems and anatomy, wound care, splinting, environmental emergencies, and backcountry medicine. Hands-on simulations provide first-hand training in treating patients. This is an excellent course taught by experienced Wilderness First Responders and Emergency Medical Technicians and is highly recommended to anyone traveling in the outdoors. Adult CPR certification by American Red Cross is included. This class fulfills the First Aid requirement for OA Leader Training (other first aid courses do as well, contact the OA Office for more information.) Course fee: $89 leaders-in-training, $100 students, $120 faculty/staff.

*Section A (Monday and Wednesday class, 7:30 - 10:30 PM)
CPR: Mon., 2/9
First Aid Classes: Wed. 2/11, Mon. 2/16, Wed. 2/18, Mon. 2/23, Wed. 2/25, Mon. 3/1
Final Exam: Wed., 3/3

*Section B (Tuesday and Thursday class, 7:30 - 10:30 PM)
CPR: Tues., 2/10
First Aid Classes: Thurs. 2/12, Tues. 2/17, Thurs. 2/19, Tues. 2/24, Thurs. 2/26, Tues. 3/2
Final Exam: Thurs. 3/4

*Section C (Monday class, 7:30 - 10:30 PM)
CPR: Mon., 3/1
First Aid Classes: Mondays - 3/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26
Final Exam: Mon. 5/3

• Facilitator's Workshop

Facilitating positive group interaction and teamwork requires excellent listening and observation skills and a set of activities and techniques to guide people through personal growth and development. This workshop will train OA leaders and others who work with groups in specific techniques for effective team building and group facilitation through fun games and activities.. This is a hands-on, experiential workshop. Be prepared to have fun!

Sunday, 4/4/2004 - 1:00 - 7:00 PM Location TBA.

• Leadership & Group Dynamics Workshop

One of the greatest challenges of being a group leader is learning how to lead and motivate a group, and how to use group experiences to promote self-exploration and learning. This workshop is designed to teach OA leaders and others how to effectively lead groups. This is a hands-on, experiential based workshop so be prepared to be active.

Sunday, 4/18/2004 - 1:00 - 7:00 PM, Carl Fields Center, Liberation Hall

• Leader Training Course

Leading a group on a backcountry trip requires extensive training in wilderness camping skills. The Leader Training Course (LTC) is designed to teach all the wilderness skills necessary to lead multi-day backpacking trips. The course meets one evening a week and includes workshops on route planning, equipment preparation, wilderness travel techniques, map and compass, outdoor cooking, and minimal impact camping. Trip participants will learn how to run a wilderness trip by planning all aspects of the trip, including route, food, and equipment. Participants are required to attend all classes. The text for the course will be the Backpacker's Field Manual, written by Outdoor Action.

Section A Mondays, 7:30 10:30 PM (Except where noted)

Monday, 3/29 Equipment, Clothing & Layering
Monday, 4/5 Route Planning & Knots
Monday, 4/12 Map Reading & Stoves
Friday, 4/16 3:30 - 5:30 PM Navigating with a Compass or
Saturday, 4/17 1:00 - 3:00 PM Navigating with a Compass or
Sunday, 4/18 1:00 - 3:00 PM Navigating with a Compass
Monday, 4/19 Leave No Trace Camping & River Crossing
Monday, 4/26 Outdoor Safety Management & Protocols
Monday, 5/3 Emergency Response and Evacuation, Judgment & Decision Making

Section B Tuesdays, 7:30 10:30 PM (Except where noted)
Tuesday, 3/30 Equipment, Clothing & Layering
Tuesday, 4/6 Route Planning & Knots
Tuesday, 4/13 Map Reading & Stoves
Friday, 4/16 3:30 - 5:30 PM Navigating with a Compass or
Saturday, 4/17 1:00 - 3:00 PM Navigating with a Compass or
Sunday, 4/18 1:00 - 3:00 PM Navigating with a Compass
Tuesday, 4/20 Leave No Trace Camping & River Crossing
Tuesday, 4/27 Outdoor Safety Management & Protocols
Tuesday, 5/4 Emergency Response and Evacuation, Judgment & Decision Making

Section C Wednesdays, 7:30 10:30 PM (Except where noted)
Wednesday, 3/31 Equipment, Clothing & Layering
Wednesday, 4/7 Route Planning & Knots
Wednesday, 4/14 Map Reading & Stoves
Friday, 4/16 3:30 - 5:30 PM Navigating with a Compass or
Saturday, 4/17 1:00 - 3:00 PM Navigating with a Compass or
Sunday, 4/18 1:00 - 3:00 PM Navigating with a Compass
Wednesday, 4/21 Leave No Trace Camping & River Crossing
Wednesday, 4/28 Outdoor Safety Management & Protocols
Wednesday, 5/5 Emergency Response and Evacuation, Judgment & Decision Making

• Leader Training Trips

The final part of OA Leader Training is the Leader Training Trip, a 6-day backpacking trip which pulls together all of the skills you have been learning all semester. During the trip participants will be Leaders-of-the-day and in charge of the group practicing skills. Trips: For students signing up early, simply sign up for the standard Saturday - Thursday trip. Once the spring exam schedules have been posted, students can request to change their trip dates.

Thursday, 5/20/2004 - Tuesday, 5/25/2004 - for those who need to be back before Reunions
Saturday, 5/22/2004 - Thursday, 5/27/2004 - standard trip dates
Sunday, 5/23/2004 - Friday, 5/28/2004 - for those who have Saturday exams

• Mini-Van Driver Training

OA Leaders are strongly encouraged to become authorized van drivers. You must complete an online course and quiz on driving mini-vans. Drivers must also complete a 30-minute road test. To gain access to the online course and schedule a road test see the Public Safety Web Site (http://web.princeton.edu/sites/publicsafety/FleetSafety.htm).

What students say about being an OA Leader

I gained confidence and skill in leadership that has affected many other parts of my life. I feel because of OA, I can pull any group together & create the positive dynamics and interaction needed to accomplish a task.

Some of my closest friendships have been made through OA. I’ve also become more confident of my own capabilities in different areas. I have experimented with new skills. I have deepened my love of the outdoors. The friends I have made through OA are certainly an important gain. OA has helped me to improve my knowledge of taking trips in the wilderness.

I like the values that OA fosters...including a unique combination of individual challenges and the need for cooperation. I wanted not only to give others on opportunity to share the same experience, but by being a part of the outdoor experience to improve my skills as a leader and to learn more about myself.

Planning OA Leader Training into your Schedule

OA offers several sets of leader training each year. Over Fall Break we offer the Fast Track program where you need to complete Wilderness First Aid & CPR before break and then all of the other training components including the 6-day Leader Training Trip take place over break. In the second half of the spring semester we offer first aid and the other workshops once in April and early May with the Leader Training Trip taking place during "Dead Week" after exams. You can mix and match when you take the various courses and workshops as long as you have completed all of the other requirements before going on your Leader Training Trip. 

We encourage all students to take part in the leader training program and have worked out a schedule which we feel is most flexible for a broad range of students. If you are an athlete or have other regular commitments, it is still possible to participate if you plan carefully.

Religious & Observant Students

Outdoor Action makes every effort to schedule Leader Training activities so that they do not interfere with religious holidays and observances. Whenever possible, workshops are scheduled on Sundays after church and not on the Sabbath for Jewish students. For observant Jewish students, the 6-day trip typically includes a Friday or Saturday. There is usually a trip in May that goes out Sunday and is back before sundown on Friday. Please need to contact the OA office ahead of time and let us know of your needs.

Varsity & Club Sport Athletes

Many athletes become OA Leaders either to lead Frosh Trips or other trips during the year. Depending on your sport(s) you may have to plan very carefully for when you can complete the various Leader Training Requirements. For example, crew athletes are often only able to participate in the Leader Training Trip over Fall Break.

Outdoor Action trips and activities are only open to Princeton University students, faculty, and staff. Specially listed activities are open to Princeton University alumni and their families.

All online information at the Outdoor Action Web Site is protected by copyright laws. You may set up links to material found at the Outdoor Action Web Site. Printed versions of the material may be distributed for nonprofit educational use as long as no fees are charged for the material, attributions are made to the author, and no content changes are made. Commercial use of this material either in electronic or printed form is prohibited without express written permission from the author. Copyright 1995 - 2004, all rights reserved, Rick Curtis, Outdoor Action Program, Princeton University. Send your comments and suggestions on the OA Web Site to Outdoor Action