HOP Director to Lead Virginia’s Largest Paddling Club

Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP), has been elected president of Coastal Canoeists, Virginia’s largest canoeing and kayaking club, for 2017.

Coastals is a family-oriented club dedicated to the enjoyment and advancement of paddle sports. It consists of canoeists, kayakers, and others from Virginia and the southeastern United States.

Owens has directed HOP since 2001. He was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains near Cherokee, North Carolina, and got his start in adventure recreation as a river guide on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, while earning his undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation. He is certified as an instructor/trainer by the Wilderness Education Association; wilderness first responder; and single pitch instructor by the American Mountain Guiding Association.


Downriver Racing Team Captures Second at ACA National Championships

The Hollins University downriver racing team bested teams from Penn State, Brevard College, and Bellarmine University to take second place overall in the American Canoe Association Collegiate Downriver National Championships, held October 15 on the Roanoke River.

The competition was part of Roanoke’s Go Outside Festival, October 14-16.

Hosted by Hollins and Roanoke County Parks and Recreation and sponsored by Backcountry Ski and Sports, the race course started at the Little Niagara Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and ended at the Explore Park recreation facility. “It was a beautiful day and the recent rain made the race course perfect,” said Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program.

In addition to finishing second only to Warren Wilson College in the women’s category, several individual team members delivered standout performances:

  • Olivia Foskey ’17 finished first in K1 Short (Short Kayak) and third in OC1 (Open Canoe Solo). “K1 was the most competitive category at the entire event and Olivia’s first-place finish was an extremely impressive showing,” said Owens.
  • Jessica Michael ’17 took second in OC2 (Open Canoe Tandem) and ninth in K1 Short.
  • Emily Blankenship ’18 was fourth in K1 Long and seventh in K1 Short.
  • Kaitlyn Taylor ’17 and Jessica Michael ’17 captured second in OC2.
  • In their first competition, Cate Kirkpatrick ’19 and Abby Parks ’19 finished sixth in OC2.

“The races are a great way to introduce students to paddle sports and give them the opportunity to meet paddlers from other schools,” noted Owens, a member of the Collegiate Paddling Competition Committee for the past two years. He added that Hollins has been competing in downriver racing events for seven years.

 

Photo Caption: Members of the Hollins downriver racing team (left to right): Olivia Foskey ’17, Jessica Michael ’17, Abby Parks ’19, Cate Kirkpatrick ’19, Kaitlyn Taylor ’17, and Emily Blankenship ’18.

 


Hollins to Compete in Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

Hollins University is joining 87 colleges and universities from across the country to compete in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, which kicks off September 4 and runs through October 15.

The Challenge celebrates college students’ ideas, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned school rivalries to combat the inactivity trend among young people.

For six weeks, members of the campus community will take part in the “Mother-Nature-Meets-March-Madness” program with the goal of becoming National Outdoor Champion. An initiative of the Outdoor Foundation, the Challenge will employ prizes, competition, and gamification to fight the growing inactivity crisis in America among youth by helping connect them to the outdoors.

Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP), said, “The Challenge is a great tie-in with two significant milestones this year: the university’s 175th anniversary and HOP’s 40th anniversary. For much of our history we’ve encouraged students at every interest and skill level to stay active in ways that are exciting and a lot of fun. The Challenge represents another opportunity for our students to embrace and enjoy the many benefits of being outdoors.”

“The Challenge is about using technology for good – specifically, for the health and wellness of an entire generation of young people,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We are rewarding and incentivizing college students who spend time outside because we believe they will have memorable experiences, develop a love for the outdoors, and ultimately spend more time protecting and enjoying our beautiful parks and wild places. This is what the Challenge is about – creating a cultural shift that leads all young Americans to the great outdoors.”

In the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, individuals compete to see who can spend the most time outside and active, and earn the title of Outsider of the Year. The college or university that has the most individuals logging outside hours will be named National Outdoor Champion. With the support of Challenge sponsors, schools will provide incentives to their student bodies and larger communities to get outside and active, including stickers, gear, head-to-toe outfitting, and even a trip and an internship opportunity.

At Hollins, HOP is the lead organizer for the Challenge, planning school-wide activities and promoting individual participation. Ultimately, the goal is to have students working to build a stronger outdoor campus community and culture.

The Challenge was developed to combat some of today’s bleak statistics regarding young people and outdoor participation. Research has found that young people spend 50 percent less time outdoors in natural settings than the generation that preceded them. The average young adult today spends eight hours in front of a screen and only a few minutes outside.

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action-oriented outreach, and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors.

 


Director of Hollins Outdoors Joins Coastal Canoeists Board of Directors

Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Coastal Canoeists, Virginia’s largest canoeing and kayaking club.

“I am excited to work with Coastal Canoeists to help grow their presence in southwest Virginia and increase involvement with college and university groups,” Owens said. “Most of all, I hope to take advantage of the club’s great emphasis on camaraderie and sense of unity to open up paddling options to Hollins students.”

Based in Richmond and family oriented, Coastal Canoeists has members of all skill and age levels from across Virginia and the United States who share a passion for water sports and a love for the outdoors. The club encourages environmental responsibility to keep Virginia’s and America’s rivers clean.

 


Library Hike Seeks to Inspire Creativity

coveWyndham Robertson Library and the Hollins Outdoor Program are inviting the campus community to explore the connections between movement, nature, and literature with a Library Hike, September 12 – 22.

Students, faculty, and staff can stop by the library and check out a “hiking pack,” containing a blanket, sunscreen, and bug spray to help with the hike, and a journal, pens, and disposable camera to use when inspiration strikes. Then, they can head off on the trail from Hollins to Carvins Cove Nature Reserve.

Hikers are encouraged to stop and look at books from the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences along the trail, and use the journal and camera to document their creativity. They can leave their journal writings to inspire others, or take the pages with them. All cameras will be developed by the library and photographs may be shared in a library display and/or posted to a curated online collection.

The Library Hike is part of Outside the Lines, a national initiative designed to reintroduce libraries to their local communities. This month, organizations from across the U.S. and Canada are hosting either an event or campaign to get people thinking – and talking – about libraries in a whole new way.

For more information, contact Rebecca Seipp, outreach and humanities liaison librarian, at seippr@hollins.edu or 540-362-6328.


Whitewater Races Capture Third at ACA National Championships

ACAA team of student canoeists and kayakers from Hollins University took on competitors from three other colleges and universities and paddled to a third-place finish at the annual American Canoe Association (ACA) Collegiate Race Series National Championships, held March 29-30 on the Tuckaseegee River in Dillsboro, North Carolina.

In the Women’s Championship division, Hollins faced eventual winner Warren Wilson College, runner-up Albion College, and the University of Virginia. Team members included Tegan Harcourt ’17, Jessica Michael ‘17, Valerie Harrison ‘17, Jentry Campbell ’15, and Ashleigh Mae Leas.

The event’s whitewater races were held on a section of the Tuckaseegee River called the Tuck Gorge. This section includes several major rapids: Railroad (class II), Prudential Rock (II+), and Double Drop (II+).

Founded in 1880, the ACA is a national organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition and recreation. The ACA sponsors over 4,300 events each year, including 200 races.