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New Year, New Adventure

A photo of a backpacking woman T-posing at the edge of a vast desert canyon, green trees are in the valley below.

For those who create New Year’s resolutions, almost always, working out and getting healthier will be on the top of their list.

Many will rush to the local gym and sign up for a membership that they essentially never use long-term.

Working out doesn’t have to be the traditional group fitness class or jaunt on an indoor treadmill. This type of exercise is beneficial, but it can become dull and monotonous. We can get fit and maintain our health by simply venturing into the great outdoors and engaging with the earth and nature.

This year try canyoneering, kayaking, rowing, caving, backpacking, biking, hiking or even rock climbing.

Outdoor recreation is arguably the best form of exercise due to its support of our total health. Movement in nature contributes to not only our physical health, but our emotional and mental wellbeing too!

An activity like hiking can provide different levels of physical challenge, awe inspiring sights and peace of mind. Hiking is also adaptable for any age or ability range. According to the Harvard Health Letter, “Taking a hike on a slightly uneven surface of a trail also provides a natural way to engage the core muscles in your torso and to hone your balance skills. You usually don’t get that type of lateral motion from walking on a treadmill.”

Traversing a trail, river, mountain or nature path is great for our cardiovascular system and can also relieve stress.

Did you know that outdoor recreation is used as a form of mental and emotional health therapy known as wilderness or adventure therapy in the behavioral and mental health communities?

Adventure therapy is the prescriptive use of adventure experiences which kinetically engages cognitive, affective and behavioral levels.

The natural environment of Arizona provides an outstanding setting for one’s fitness goals and even facilitate healing. “Furthermore, moving closer to nature through outdoor adventure enhances mental, emotional and physical well-being in several ways: by easing brain fatigue and daily stress; boosting cognition and creativity; improving mental health; and bolstering safety and security.” Noted in an article published by the Flagstaff Business News, Healing, Growing through Outings in Nature.

This year try an outdoor experience and explore the world around you. You can start by participating in one of the many recreation management trips offered at Scottsdale Community College.

Outdoor Rock Climbing

Trip Date: Feb. 21 and Feb. 29

Experience top rope rock climbing in the local Phoenix mountains during two (2) full day sessions. This fun and adventurous class will include instruction on safety, belaying and climbing techniques. The course will be conducted outdoors on real rock and students will have ample time to practice their skills. All rock-climbing equipment (harness, helmet, climbing shoes) is provided. This course is for both beginners and intermediate climbers.

Outdoor Adventure Skills

Trip Dates: Feb. 29 to Mar. 1

Learn and practice basic camping and backing skills; including equipment selection, wilderness first aid, and “Leave No Trace” principles. This hybrid course begins January 13 and combines online assignments, in-class meetings and an overnight camping field experience.


Trip Dates: Apr. 4 and Apr. 18

Learn how to stand-up paddle board during two class sessions at valley area lakes such as Lake Pleasant or Canyon Lake. Enjoy instructional lessons each session with plenty of time to practice skills and paddle board.


Trip Dates: Apr. 8 until Apr. 12

THIS TRIP IS PENDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PERMITS, WHICH BECOME AVAILABLE IN FEBRUARY 2020. Class will travel to Williams Motel Thursday evening, hike down to Havasupai Campground on Friday, layover Saturday and hike out on Sunday. For more information, please contact David Brown at


Class Dates: Apr. 19, 24 and May 5

Have fun and meet new people while enjoying three (3) beautiful hikes around the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix area). This class will be three sessions; each date we will be hiking at a different local mountain. Hiking to the summit is not mandatory.


Trip Dates: May 2 - 3

Students will explore a beautiful slot canyon complete with waterfalls and swimming holes, experience several top-roped rappels, learn basic canyoneering skills and spend one-night camping at a campground.


Trip Dates: Oct. 26 - 27

Develop cave exploration skills and learn lighting systems and cave conservation essentials according to Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Students will learn cave ecology and the proper use of equipment. Activities will be conducted in active caves, with ample time for cave exploration. Students will spend one night camping at a campground.

All trips are designed for beginning level participants, a basic level of fitness is required. Each class trip will have a mandatory orientation. For additional details and information about these adventurous experiences, contact Joshua Parafinik, at

The Recreation Management program at SCC offers courses centered around interactive trips to canyons, caves, mountains and lakes. These experiences focus on the positive application of play, fitness, recreation, and leisure across the life span. For more information on SCC’s Recreation Management degrees and programs contact David A. Brown, Ph.D., Director of Recreation Management (480) 423-6617.

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