Wilderness Orientation Program

Meet Some Great People in the Great Outdoors of Virginia

August 22-26, 2016

Before you begin your official Hollins adventure, have an outdoor adventure with HOP, the Hollins Outdoor Program.

Led by HOP director Jon Guy Owens and experienced Hollins students, the five-day wilderness orientation program will take you scaling the high ropes course at Camp Roanoke, canoeing down the James River, and running the rapids of Balcony Falls. You’ll also receive instruction in basic outdoor living skills. Best of all, you’ll meet people who just might turn out to be some of your best Hollins friends.

Space is limited to the first 10 students who register and pay.

How to register

Fill out the registration form on the brochure (PDF), and return it with payment to the address indicated by July 15, 2016.

  • Cost: $275, which includes travel, food, and T-shirt
  • Registration deadline: July 15, 2016

What to Bring

The Hollins Outdoor Program will provide all technical gear for the river and camping. If you have any of your own gear that you would like to use, please contact HOP director Jon Guy Owens: 540-362-6456 or jowens@hollins.edu.

Clothing to bring for the river:
  • Board shorts
  • Light top
  • Bathing suit
  • Sun hat
Clothing to bring for camp:
  • Rain jacket (rain pants are great but optional for this trip)
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts
  • 3-4 t-shirts
  • 4-5 pairs of underwear
  • 4-5 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of lightweight pants
  • Fleece jacket or top
  • Long underwear bottoms
  • River shoes (old sneakers are fine)
  • Camp shoes (no flip flips)
Items to bring for camp:
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Insulated mug
  • 2 1-liter water bottles
  • Sunglasses
  • Small daypack
  • Personal medications
  • Toiletries
  • Baby wipes
  • Contact lens solution
  • Camera (waterproof or with appropriate storage)
  • Journal (optional)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant


Monday, August 22: Check in
  • Check in, move into dorm room
  • Group orientation and ice-breaker activities
  • Pack food and gear
Tuesday, August 23: Camp Roanoke
  • High ropes course
  • Instruction in stove operation and tent setup
  • Camp that night at Camp Roanoke
Wednesday, August 24: Gaia to Eagle Rock
  • Instruction in packing a canoe, river safety, canoe strokes, reading white water
Thursday, August 25: Glen Wilton to Gaia
  • Practice with eddy turns
Friday, August 26: Balcony Falls
  • Return to campus

Trip leaders

Jon Guy 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: instructor/trainer from the Wilderness Education Association; wilderness first responder; and single pitch instructor from the American Mountain Guiding Association. He lives on campus with his wife, Anna Copplestone ’06, and son, Henry.

Olivia Foskey ’17, from Daleville, Virginia is a business finance major with a minor in studio art. She enjoys landscape photography, film, and all things outdoors. The HOP program provided a lot of first experiences for Olivia such as kayaking, canoeing, climbing, caving, and backpacking. She is now on the downriver racing team and was able to get a job at a rock climbing gym in Roanoke through the connections she’s made in HOP.

Jessica Michael ’17, a biology major with a pre-vet track, is from Roanoke. Before coming to Hollins she was not involved in many outdoor activities other than riding. As a first-year student, she went on the Wilderness Orientation Trip and loved it so much that she joined the downriver racing team. Jessica now lives on HOP Hall and spends many weekends outdoors. Her favorite activities are paddling and riding. She rides for the Hollins riding team.

Madeline Maddox ’19, from Brookfield, Connecticut, is pursuing a double major in business marketing and communication studies. She participated in the Wilderness Orientation trip her first year and now is a current member of HOP. Madeline is on the paddling and rock climbing teams, and enjoys spending most of her free time canoeing, kayaking, climbing, paddle boarding, snowboarding, and mountain biking. Her true passion is hiking, which she does often on the local trails in the beautiful outdoors of Virginia.