Students expand fitness horizons in Alaska

In order to give students a memorable and rewarding experience for two exercise and sports science courses, the department is offering a unique opportunity for people wanting to take courses in angling and advanced aerobic fitness in the summer.

The classes are going to be taught over a nine-day trip in the Alaskan wilderness.

“We had six students attend last year,” exercise and sport science associate professor Dr. Mickey Kerr said. “We anticipate from the reports from those students that the interest will be good for this year’s trip.”

Last year was the first time that the trip was offered, and Kerr and exercise

Student Justen Aguillon (left), adviser Dr. Cliffa Foster (center) and student Kelsey Greeson (right), along with others on last year’s Alaska trip, proudly display the day’s catch of fresh halibut, while deep sea fi shing.

Student Justen Aguillon (left), adviser Dr. Cliffa Foster (center) and student Kelsey Greeson (right), along with others on last year’s Alaska trip, proudly display the day’s catch of fresh halibut, while deep sea fi shing.

and sport science professor Dr. Jamey Plunk each taught one of the courses that the experience was designed for.

Kerr was in charge of the fishing portion of the trip, while Plunk led the canoeing section. However, instead of canoeing, this year Plunk will be teaching advanced aerobic fitness.

Ample time is given to both activities each day of the trip. “Everyone will run at least 10 hours while we are there,” Plunk said, “and a lot of that time will be spent going to places to fish or just experience nature, so every day will have a good portion of both activities in it.”

For many people, just visiting Alaska is an overwhelming experience. The students who attended the trip last year had trouble picking just one part of it as the section they enjoyed the most.

“I really enjoyed the fishing and the sites,” senior business administration major Ashley Grizzard said. “(Alaska) was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The fishing was so much fun because everyone caught something, and we all learned how to bring up a large fish in the deep sea. Our halibut fishing trip was fun and exhausting.”

Student must complete a few physical prerequisites before going on the trip.

“At this point you have to be able to swim 100 meters in a pool, and you have to be able to hike about four miles in an hour while carrying 16 pounds of weight,” Plunk said. “Those are skills tests that you must pass before you can go.”

While that may or may not seem like too much to ask to some people, students should not let it dissuade them from participating in the trip.

“I really learned that I could survive in Alaska since I am kind of a girlie-girl,” Grizzard said.

“I think I showed that anyone can do this trip and have a blast doing it. I plan on going back soon and fishing more and learning more about the great outdoors.”

Despite the amount of effort and work that people put into the trip to meet the requirements for their courses, both professors and students feel that the trip is rewarding enough to make up for all of that.

“I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone at UMHB,” Grizzard said.

“Everyone can do this trip and learn a lot about themselves. I think that this trip is a once-in-a -lifetime experience,” she said.

Kerr said, “The whole experience just expands your horizons. If a student can afford, or even come close to affording the trip, it is an investment…. It will be one of the highlights of their life.”

Author: Artie Phillips

Bio info coming soon!

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