I recently did a program for my hall and sent an email out to several other halls. I wanted this program to be available to anyone over fall break that wasn’t able to go home because of distance or transportation issues or anything else which kept them from leaving school. I wanted it to be a fun time and away from school. I planned a camping trip with one other RA from another building and we each had a resident go from each of our buildings. This was a really good program; both residents liked it very much. For one resident, it was the best time she had had as a college freshman, and for the other resident this was her first time really camping in the outdoors.
Both myself and another RA requested DPOs of $25 each and collected $10 from each resident to go towards food costs and campground fees. I planned everything out well in advance, including pricing everything I would need to buy for the camping trip. We spent $80 on camping food, campground fees, and I took care of transportation by renting a van from our school transportation office.
At the campground we all worked together and set up camp; two of us put up the large tarp canopy which we did by moving the picnic table around to all corners of the campsite so we could get our ropes up really high on trees. The other RA and her resident worked on getting the tent put up and then we worked on collecting firewood and getting dinner started as well as unpacking the rest of the van. Dinner went well and we hit the sack early the first night. The next morning we all woke up and cooked breakfast and cleaned up together. Then we hopped in the van and went to a mountain peak called Reddish Knob where we did a little hiking and enjoyed the outdoors. We then went back to camp and searched for more wood and then went hiking some more to look for this waterfall which we’d heard about. We never found it and decided it was better to get back to camp before all of our daylight was gone and we started up dinner and had a great night. We then hit the sack and packed up the next day and headed back to campus in time for everyone to get a little school work done before the upcoming week.
In all, it was a great time; the residents as well as both myself and the other RA had a great time. I felt like it was a really good bonding experience in that I feel much closer to both my resident and the other RA and her resident. We connected in a way that I think would be hard to do in a large group. It would have been an ideal program for 6-7 total people, but any more than that I think it would be too much to have really connected and bonded with one another.
Submitted by Kiki Holl, Resident Assistant, James Madison University