Bellevue College has many resources for students, even for those who prefer to be off campus having adventures of their own. The Wellness Center focuses on opportunities for experiencing the local natural environment such as forests and trails. “The events we provide really help to increase a student’s sense of community here at the college while allowing them to get an education in many different outdoor adventures that the NW has to offer,” said Wellness Center director Peter Prescott. “Students leave events with a profound sense of accomplishment while making friends and smiling a lot along the way.”
This quarter alone students will have the chance to go on a variety of outdoor adventures. “Most events are full for this quarter,” Prescott warned, backpacking and mountain biking will be fun opportunities next quarter if people couldn’t go this time around. Other options include rock climbing and a “real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices,” called geocaching.
In addition to offering events, the Wellness Center also provides equipment to enjoy the outdoors. Snowshoes, tents, backpacks, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and even bear canisters to protect food are available to rent for only $5 a weekend. Reservations for equipment can be made online or in person during the open hours three days a week, and are open to students, faculty and staff of Bellevue College.
Even if one is new to camping and the outdoors and needs help finding where to start, the center provides resources for planning and researching a trip. This is one example of how the center’s activities “focus on providing leadership, planning, opportunity and education in pursuit of healthier lives,” as stated on the website. PE courses are offered at BC to learn how to snowshoe, and also how to navigate while hiking.
In 2013 the Wellness Center opened a challenge course designed to leave participants “with a better understanding of how to communicate with each other, an appreciation for group work, and a shared sense of accomplishment,” according to the description of the resource. If faculty are curious about the course and are considering using it as part of their curriculum, there are information sessions almost every quarter.
If students become so passionate about the outdoors that they choose to pursue a career goal in this field, Bellevue College actually has a few options for wilderness education. A student can attain a Wilderness Skills Certificate as part of an AA transfer degree and get started working in an outdoor recreational field immediately. They can also use wilderness skills credits towards a four year BA Recreational Leadership Degree, or to get ready for a Washington State Physical Education Teaching Certificate.
If a student, faculty or staff member have any ideas they’d like to submit, the Wellness Center is always looking for more ideas on how to help students be well.