Wilderness Orientation Program

Jon Guy Owens

HOP Director Jon Guy Owens

Meet Some Great People in the Great Outdoors of Virginia

August 26-30, 2019

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 13, 2018.

  • Cost: $275, which includes travel, food, and instruction
  • Registration deadline: July 12, 2019

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 26: Check in
  • Check in, move into dorm room
  • Group orientation and ice-breaker activities
  • Pack food and gear
Tuesday, August 27: Camp Roanoke
  • High ropes course
  • Instruction in stove operation and tent setup
  • Camp that night at Camp Roanoke
Wednesday, August 28: Gaia to Eagle Rock
  • Instruction in river safety, canoe strokes, reading white water
Thursday, August 29: Glen Wilton to Gaia
  • Practice with eddy turns
Friday, August 30: Balcony Falls
  • Return to campus

Trip leaders

Jon Guy Owens

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 near campus with his wife, Anna Copplestone ’06, and son, Henry.

Photo of Grace Davis

Grace Davis ’21

Hi, my name is Grace Davis from Richmond, Virginia. I am a junior business and psychology double major. I’m on the cross country team, rock climbing team, and paddling team. I love everything outdoorsy, so I’m so excited to be leading this wilderness program trip! Jon Guy is such a great leader for the HOP program, and I’ve learned so much during my time at Hollins. I can’t wait to share it all! Currently, I’m working on becoming a full trip leader for HOP, working on my double major, and I plan to go abroad to Paris for a semester! So basically…HOP is my life. End of story!

Photo of Claire Hintz

Claire Hintz ’19

I am a junior international studies and English double major from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. I love being at Hollins because of the outdoor program, excellent faculty, and wonderful students. My favorite outdoor activities are hiking, climbing, and paddling. I am very excited to meet all the incoming first years and welcome you to Hollins. I will help introduce you to all the amazing outdoor recreation in the area.

Photo of Valerie Seargeant

Valerie Sargeant ’21

Hi, my name is Valerie Sargeant from Richmond, Virginia. I am a junior art history major and psychology minor. I am on the tennis team and paddling team. I love skiing, hiking, paddling, and basically anything that gets me outside! I participated in the Wilderness Orientation Trip as an incoming first year, and I am so excited to be back as a leader! This past J-Term I studied abroad in Greece and I will be studying abroad in London this fall. Hollins has helped me grow so much as a person and the HOP program has been a big part of that. I can’t wait to meet everyone and help you all start your journey at Hollins!