WAFFYS

All scholarships from the Susan Porucznik Cole Scholarship Fund have been awarded! If you are still interested in signing up for a WAFFYS adventure this summer be sure to reserve your spot as soon as possible as there is limited space left!

 

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About

Registration

Registration Dates

Trip Description

Frequently Asked Questions

Susan Porucznik Cole Scholarship

Goals & Research

WAFFY's Forms

WAFFYS - Wilderness Adventures for First Year Students

"...physically challenging natural environment based orientation programs emphasizing small group work help first year students adjust to college life." ~Devlin 1996

WAFFYS (Wilderness Adventures For First-Year Students) backpacking expeditions empower incoming students with a positive personal and social transition into college. WAFFYS gives incoming students the opportunity to challenge themselves and grow as individuals through the process of experiential education. WAFFYS trips are structured to require participants as a group to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results. After teaching the group to competently cook, camp & navigate through the wilderness, our Instructors step back and allow the group to take ownership over their trip and experience the natural consequences of their decisions.

The process of making these decisions as a group helps WAFFYS students become invested in the group’s choices, enhances their decision-making ability and develops meaningful peer relationships that transfer into participants’ first year at UNC. By having positive group interactions, students experience an increase in self-confidence and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the way they relate to others.  

 

Registration

All WAFFYS expeditions begin by teaching fundamental outdoor skills including navigating with a map & compass, technical skills associated with the trip and Leave-No-Trace camping. No previous experience is required to attend these trips. Your Instructors will not “guide” you through the experience. Instead, they will facilitate your group’s development into a self-sufficient, functioning group. You will be given the freedom to explore your own leadership style and experience the consequences of your decisions. Learning to collaborate with a new and diverse group of people in an unfamiliar environment, prepares you to take on similar challenges during your college career. All equipment, food and supplies are provided as part of your trip, you just bring your personal clothing.

To register for a WAFFYS Expedition, click here.

 

Program Dates 

There are 9-10 participants on each trip with three trips offered throughout the summer. You will need to be at the OEC by 5pm on the 1st day of your trip. This will allow you to attend CTOPS.

 

Summer 2014 Schedule:

 

Dates

Days
   

Destination
     

Activity

Fee

July 8-14

7

Wilson
Creek

Backpacking
    

$325
    

July 31-August 6

7

Wilson
Creek

Backpacking

$325

August 29-September 1
  

Wilson
Creek

Backpacking

$185

*Please bring a towel, toiletries, and change of clothes so that you can shower at the end of your trip.

 

Trip Description 

Download the Trip Description.

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Download our Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Susan Porucznik Cole Scholarship

Who was Susan Porucznik Cole?

Susan, also known as Sue, was a member of the Carolina Adventures professional staff. Sue first became involved with the Carolina Adventures program as a volunteer challenge course facilitator. With an unwavering enthusiasm to help out and an eagerness to learn as much as possible, Sue soon began to work in the office as well as on the challenge course. Two years after first volunteering, Sue became the first full time Carolina Adventures employee and worked as the Challenge Course Program Coordinator. Feeling the need to further educate herself and to become an even more competent outdoor educator, Sue decided to return to school at UNC-Chapel Hill to get her master’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. For her final research project, Sue interviewed WAFFYS participants to test the theories on a wilderness adventure program. Please read, Beyond the Trail: Wilderness Orientation Programs and Social Adjustment for Incoming Students to learn more about Sue’s discoveries.

In August of 2004, at the age of 30, Susan was tragically killed in a car accident. It is with both joy and sadness that Carolina Adventures will forever remember Sue and all her wonderful contributions. In her memory, and with many generous donations from family, friends, and colleagues, we have set up the Susan Porucznik Cole Scholarship Fund. We hope that this scholarship fund will allow future UNC students to participate in this wonderfully powerful program.

How much is the scholarship?

Half of your registration fee.

Who is eligible?

All first year students interested in participating in the WAFFYS program

How do I apply?

Please fill out the WAFFYS registration form and check that you are interested in the scholarship. Then read the excerpt located on the Goals & Research. Based on your understanding of the paper, write an essay of between 200 – 500 words explaining how you feel the WAFFYS experience might benefit you. Submit the essay with your registration and half of your payment.

When will I know if I’ve been awarded the scholarship?

After reviewing all essays, Carolina Adventures will notify recipients at least two weeks prior to their trip as to whether or not they have been awarded the scholarship.

Do I need to do anything else?

All scholarship recipients will be asked to write a short thank you letter to the Porucznik family and to contribute some time in the upkeep of our memorial garden created in Susan’s memory.

Can I make a donation to the fund?

Yes. If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund, please make your check out to UNC – CH, and in the memo section of the check write: “Cole Fund” and send it to –

Outdoor Education UNC CB# 3433

Country Club Road

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3433

 

Goals & Research 

The following summary of findings is from a research project conducted by Susan P. Cole using participants from the WAFFYS program. Susan was the Challenge Course Program Coordinator at UNC's Outdoor Education Center and a Master's candidate (December 2003) in the Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. The purpose of this study was to explore the social adjustment process for new students who have participated in a Wilderness Orientation Program.

 Download the the summary of findings.

 

WAFFYS Forms

Medical Information Form

Risk Acknowledgment Form

Clothing List

 

 

 

5.    WAFFYS

WAFFYS - Wilderness Adventures for First Year Students

"...physically challenging natural environment based orientation programs emphasizing small group work help first year students adjust to college life." ~Devlin 1996

WAFFYS (Wilderness Adventures For First-Year Students) backpacking expeditions empower incoming students with a positive personal and social transition into college. WAFFYS gives incoming students the opportunity to challenge themselves and grow as individuals through the process of experiential education. WAFFYS trips are structured to require participants as a group to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results. After teaching the group to competently cook, camp & navigate through the wilderness, our Instructors step back and allow the group to take ownership over their trip and experience the natural consequences of their decisions.

The process of making these decisions as a group helps WAFFYS students become invested in the group’s choices, enhances their decision-making ability and develops meaningful peer relationships that transfer into participants’ first year at UNC. By having positive group interactions, students experience an increase in self-confidence and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the way they relate to others.

 


a) Registration (include link to http://fuji.ovcsa.unc.edu/waffy/)

Registration

All WAFFYS expeditions begin by teaching fundamental outdoor skills including navigating with a map & compass, technical skills associated with the trip and Leave-No-Trace camping. No previous experience is required to attend these trips. Your Instructors will not “guide” you through the experience. Instead, they will facilitate your group’s development into a self-sufficient, functioning group. You will be given the freedom to explore your own leadership style and experience the consequences of your decisions. Learning to collaborate with a new and diverse group of people in an unfamiliar environment, prepares you to take on similar challenges during your college career. All equipment, food and supplies are provided as part of your trip, you just bring your personal clothing.

Registration Dates

There are 9-10 participants on each trip with five trips offered throughout the summer. You will need to be at the OEC by 5pm on the 1st day of your trip. This will allow you to attend CTOPS.

 

 

Click here to register!

Change of clothes:
Please bring a towel, toiletries, and change of clothes so that you can shower at the end of your trip.

Address:
Outdoor Education Program-WAFFYS
UNC-Chapel Hill, Campus Box 3433
Country Club Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Additional questions direct to:
David Yeargan, Expedition Program Manager
dyeargan@email.unc.edu
919.843.3233

 


b) Trip Descriptiion

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Carolina Outdoor Education?

We seek to enhance the campus community by providing experientially based adventure programs designed to both challenge and empower participants to reach beyond their perceived physical and mental limits. These experiences allow participants to achieve greater self-confidence, while developing the communication skills and support network essential to their success as a college student. 2009 will be the ninth year if the WAFFYS program.

How long do trips last?

Trips are seven days in length. The first day you meet your group at 5 pm. This allows time for travel and for students who are attending CTOPS sessions to complete their second day of CTOPS before the trip.

Where will the trips be taking place?

The Wilson Creek Area of Pisgah National Forest, between Grandfather Mountain and Linville Gorge. It is about a 4 ½ hour drive from Chapel Hill. This area is steep and rugged with countless waterfalls and virgin old-growth forest. The deep coves and mountain streams keep this area relatively cool during the hot North Carolina summer.

How safe is WAFFYS?

Adventure activities are inherently risky. To remove all risk from WAFFYS would prevent the participants from reaching the program’s goals. Carolina Outdoor Education is accredited by the Association of Experiential Education (AEE). AEE’s standards-based evaluation process by objective, independent reviewers has become the industry-accepted level of professional evaluation for experiential and adventure programs. Attaining accredited status through the AEE Accreditation Program is solid evidence of an organization’s commitment to quality and safety, belief in professional standards, and allocation of resources toward continued excellence and improvement. Programs that achieve AEE Accredited status can be confident that they meet or exceed recognized industry standards.

What will students need to bring?

Just their personal clothing and hiking boots. You will be provided with a list of necessary items. We have a surplus clothing bin you are welcome to borrow from, if you are missing anything from the list.

Who usually attends this program?

Wilderness Adventures for First Year Students is open to all incoming first year students. Students from a variety of different backgrounds attend our program. By providing all equipment except personal clothing and teaching the basics of wilderness travel, participants with a wide range of economic backgrounds and experience levels are able to take advantage of this opportunity.

How physically fit do I need to be?

All WAFFYS trips are physically demanding by nature. While backpacking, hiking distances will range from three to eight miles per day and packs will weigh from twenty-five to forty pounds, or no more than one-third of an individuals body weight. Participants on all trips should have a moderate level of physical fitness. If you have questions or concerns about your fitness level, please do not hesitate to contact us for specific details about your trip

How much does WAFFYS cost?

$325. Your fee covers the operating expenses for your trip such as food, Instructor wages, and camping permits. All equipment, vehicles, facilities, administrative costs, and insurance are paid for by Parent’s Council grants and money generated by general student fees. The support of the University community allows us to offer these trips at a fraction of the cost you would pay for a similar experience through an independent organization. There are scholarships available that cover ½ of your trip fee.

Who leads the trips?

Our Instructors are UNC students, many are WAFFYS alumni that are carefully selected and required to go through a minimum of 30 hours of wilderness leadership training and a five day staff expedition every spring break. Instructors spend several trips as an Apprentice before moving up to Assistant Instructors. Assistant Instructors must demonstrate extensive leadership competence and obtain Wilderness First Responder certifications (72 hour course on how to handle emergencies and illness in the backcountry) before moving to Lead Instructor. Each trip will be led by a Lead Instructor, an Assistant instructor and an Apprentice.

Where will I go to the bathroom?

Learning to go to the bathroom in the woods will be part of your curriculum. You will learn how to properly dispose of waste and how to keep clean in the backcountry. There are showers at the Outdoor Education Center that we will make good use of prior to the final banquet.

What about tobacco?

All Carolina Outdoor Education trips are alcohol, drug and tobacco free.

Where will we sleep?

Learning to select safe campsites and properly pitch your tent will be an important part of your trip.

What if I have more questions or concerns?

Call 919-843-3233 and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have, we can also put you in touch with a WAFFYS alumni who can give you a first hand account of their experience.


d) Scholarship Information

 

SUSAN PORUCZNIK COLE SCHOLARSHIP

 

Who was Susan Porucznik Cole?

Susan, also known as Sue, was a member of the Carolina Adventures professional staff. Sue first became involved with the Carolina Adventures program as a volunteer challenge course facilitator. With an unwavering enthusiasm to help out and an eagerness to learn as much as possible, Sue soon began to work in the office as well as on the challenge course. Two years after first volunteering, Sue became the first full time Carolina Adventures employee and worked as the Challenge Course Program Coordinator. Feeling the need to further educate herself and to become an even more competent outdoor educator, Sue decided to return to school at UNC-Chapel Hill to get her master’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. For her final research project, Sue interviewed WAFFYS participants to test the theories on a wilderness adventure program. Please read, Beyond the Trail: Wilderness Orientation Programs and Social Adjustment for Incoming Students to learn more about Sue’s discoveries.

In August of 2004, at the age of 30, Susan was tragically killed in a car accident. It is with both joy and sadness that Carolina Adventures will forever remember Sue and all her wonderful contributions. In her memory, and with many generous donations from family, friends, and colleagues, we have set up the Susan Porucznik Cole Scholarship Fund. We hope that this scholarship fund will allow future UNC students to participate in this wonderfully powerful program.

How much is the scholarship?

Half of your registration fee.

Who is eligible?

All first year students interested in participating in the WAFFYS program

How do I apply?

Please fill out the WAFFYS registration form and check that you are interested in the scholarship. Then read the excerpt located on the research page (http://campusrec.unc.edu/oec/waffys/goals_research.html) of the WAFFYS website Based on your understanding of the paper, write an essay of between 200 – 500 words explaining how you feel the WAFFYS experience might benefit you. Submit the essay with your registration and half of your payment.

When will I know if I’ve been awarded the scholarship?

After reviewing all essays, Carolina Adventures will notify recipients at least two weeks prior to their trip as to whether or not they have been awarded the scholarship.

Do I need to do anything else?

All scholarship recipients will be asked to write a short thank you letter to the Porucznik family and to contribute some time in the upkeep of our memorial garden created in Susan’s memory.

Can I make a donation to the fund?

Yes. If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund, please make your check out to UNC – CH, and in the memo section of the check write: “Cole Fund” and send it to –

Outdoor Education UNC CB# 3433

Country Club Road

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3433

 

e) Goals & Research

 

Goals & Research

The following summary of findings is from a research project conducted by Susan P. Cole using participants from the WAFFYS program. Susan was the Challenge Course Program Coordinator at UNC's Outdoor Education Center and a Master's candidate (December 2003) in the Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. The purpose of this study was to explore the social adjustment process for new students who have participated in a Wilderness Orientation Program.

The WAFFYS participants in this study came from different backgrounds of wilderness experiences. Overall, the program was beneficial and helped the students develop into who they are now on their college path. Participants stated that their gains far exceeded the students' initial expectations for participating in WAFFYS. After the data was analyzed, three common themes emerged: peer development, self-confidence, and decision-making skills.

Peer Development

The theme of peer development actually was comprised of two aspects: meeting new people and working with a new group of people. Participants all stated that wanting to meet new people was a reason for taking part in the program. Developing new friendships is often a critical goal for students. “Attachment to a positive peer group is seen as an extremely valuable step for students making the transition to University life” (Gass, 1999, p.374). Students stated that their goals for meeting new people were met and surpassed through WAFFYS. Throughout the trip students learned more about each other and realized that while they each had different interests, they now shared this common bonding experience. The common WAFFYS experience was powerful to the participants. These students experienced a stronger connection to each other through the social interactions during the trip, such as the van ride to the trailhead, hiking, and talking in camp. The following quotes illustrated how comfortable the participants felt sharing thoughts, feelings, goals, and fears about school with each other on the trip.

It was intense doing everything together, relying on each other and you had just met them. It was great because, I mean, you, you, quickly form a completely different relationship than you have made other ways by having to just be together and totally rely on each other.

We talked about everything, how that day went, where we were from, our expectations, worries about school. The most important thing is that you have a shared experience, so even if you have nothing else in common. That gives you something to talk about and bond over.

“Adventure activities, especially those that are conducted in small groups, are extremely well-suited to nurturing the formation of positive peer group development with incoming students” (Gass, 1999, p. 375). Having a small number of students on the WAFFYS trip made it comfortable for each of them to truly be a part of the group and in that process learn something about themselves. In looking back at the WAFFYS experience the students discussed personal benefits of the program as illustrated by the following quotes:

When I came here it was like I have this entire group of friends that I like hang out with a lot that’s based from WAFFYS…But like a lot of who I am here stood from friends I made at WAFFYS.

It was nice to have a smaller group of people, once had met all those people and been overwhelmed almost, and then just to come back and see this small group of people who had the same feelings that I did. That was nice.

“These meaningful peer relationships continue to be reinforced as students utilize their behaviors learned and implemented from their adventure experience in their established peer reference groups as they enter college” (Gass 1999, p. 375). Developing a strong peer connection allowed the students to explore and learn about each other and themselves and lead to the second key theme of this study, self-confidence.

Self-confidence

The students expanded their peer development and experienced increased self-confidence by successfully working with a new group of people from varied backgrounds in unfamiliar and challenging settings. An increase in self-confidence was identified by participants as the act of going out and trying something new such as backpacking, completing the physical challenge, and having that sense of accomplishment as a group at the end of the trip. The following quotes illustrate the valuable personal awareness for the participants as they acknowledged an increase in self-confidence by participating in the WAFFYS program.

It definitely helped me in the beginning ( of the school year ) because I was really worried about coming to Carolina. It just opened up a lot of possibilities. I think through out the year I was more willing to participate in things I probably would have never done before just like club.

I think I just had the guts to talk to people more…I was more willing to branch out and meet other people because I found out I could meet other people here and not just people from my high school.

It showed me how much strength, inner strength that I do have I’m just one of those people that if it isn’t hard I don’t give up, but if it is hard I just don’t even try…But this was just kind of a thing, well its hard but I’m gonna finish it. And it showed me I do have strength to do stuff…It just bridged over just as a building block in my college life. It was kind of like a new, not a new personality but a new inner strength person that I was going to be in college rather than in high school.

One participant didn’t necessarily feel challenged physically, which was disappointing for him at first. However, in retrospect he recognized that his self-confidence increased in regards to working with other people. Throughout his freshman year he became conscious of the fact that there are a lot of different people in a college community and dealing with them was not always easy.

….Working with people that were different than I would otherwise choose to work with. I think WAFFYS proved to me that I can work with people that are different so maybe if I hadn’t done WAFFYS I would have given up on some things that I otherwise didn’t.

A positive experience in the adjustment into college can have a long lasting effect on students. Devlin (1996) found that, “…looking at risk taking and freshman-year self-confidence variables, program participants indicated they were bigger risk takers and had higher self-confidence at the beginning of their freshman year” (p.329). The participants noted an increase in self-confidence, which lead to positive feelings about themselves and a readiness to take on the challenges of college. Increasing self-confidence might not have been a specific goal for the students coming to WAFFYS, but that is what emerged for these participants.

Decision-making Skills

The third theme that emerged from this study was the importance of decision-making skills.

When the group arrived at the outdoor center they were unaware of what was ultimately ahead of them. They knew they were going backpacking and that they were going to meet new people and hopefully have some fun. The students did not realize that decision-making skills were a key element of the program. Even so, each of the students acknowledged the decision-making aspect of WAFFYS was a positive building block, because college life was full of making decisions on their own.

I thought it was going to be just like home where your parents tell you what to do and you have to do it. And it wasn’t, you know, just like being in college kind of. Because we make our own decisions whether they are right or wrong. We make them ourselves.

Well I thought WAFFYS did a lot more than what I had expected to begin with, like in how we met each other and like had all these decisions to make together. You don’t have your parents telling you to do anything, so you know, everything from whether to go out tonight or study. So the decision-making and all that kind of worked on giving me some confidence in social skills in things like that and also you know little things, not being woken up by the instructors. You know that definitely transferred.

I think it (WAFFYS) definitely helped me just in general. Making decisions because I guess I was like, I am on my own now and nobody is going to take care of me except myself.

The instructors gave guidance throughout the trip, but the group was responsible for making such decisions as when to stop, when to eat, which way to go, and what time to wake up. The participants quickly learned to make decisions as a group. The group took ownership for their trip. As shown in the following quotes, the students identified that being responsible for the decisions made on the trip were valuable pieces of the experience:

I guess what was good about WAFFYS was that what we were working to get done had to be done or we couldn’t sleep or we couldn’t eat or couldn’t do anything, so maybe that put into perspective other decisions we had to make once we got to school.

WAFFYS was probably more beneficial than other types of experiences just cause those decisions are just so much more important and have so much more weight to them. I mean just the whole being comfortable with me and other people, meeting new people and you know just being comfortable knowing that people will like you and all that kind of stuff from WAFFYS carried over to other stuff I was doing at school.

A personal investment from each of the students was made on his or her trip. While not anticipated, the decision-making aspect of the trip was defiantly a strong element within the WAFFYS experience. Transferring the skills of making decisions to the college atmosphere became an important outgrowth of the program. Besides offering a fun way to meet people, the program was able to give the students some guidance in transferring their decision-making skills beyond the trail. These students saw the relevance of making group decisions, and the experience was with them as they started to explore college life. DeBoer (1983) stated, “First year students are faced with a new social environment, new friends and new activities available to them. They must make decisions about how to apportion their time between clubs, athletics, studying and parties, among other things”(p.344).

Having the experience of participating in a challenging program such as WAFFYS, students learned that decisions were their own. Going to college is about education, but it is also about growing up, being on your own, exploring new interests, and figuring out what you want to do. As Winston, Miller, & Prince (1982) stated, “during the college years young adult students begin to gain independence from their parents, to search for a sense of autonomy, and to form concepts about themselves as separate adult persons” (p.1). Trip leaders purposefully left the decision-making to the group so that participants could experience being on their own and making choices for themselves.

Wilderness Orientation Programs (WOP) can fit into a college curriculum if the program takes the time and energy to look at what is to be gained from participating in a WOP. As M.A. O’Keefe (1989), found in her study of wilderness orientation programs around the country, there are certain activities that can help “…to increase students ability to reason well, make choices and take responsibility for those choices” (p.113).

Conclusion

In conclusion the WAFFYS experience provided participants with a positive personal and social transition into college. Three reasons support this conclusion: 1) because of the interactions the students had in the small group they were able to develop new peer relationships that transferred to their freshman year, 2) by having a positive group interaction, participants were able to experience an increase in self-confidence that allowed each of the students to learn new things about themselves , and 3) through the awareness of decision-making skills, participants learned that the decisions they made were their own and nobody else’s.

References

Cole, Susan P. (2003). Beyond the Trail: Wilderness Orientation Programs And Social Adjustment for Incoming College Students. Unpublished manuscript, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

DeBoer, G.E. (1983). The importance of freshman students’ perceptions of the factors responsible for first-term academic performance. Journal of College and Student Personnel, 24, 344-349.

Devlin, A. S. (1996). Survival skills training during freshman orientation: Its role in college adjustment. Journal of College Student Development, 37 , 324-334.

Gass, M. A. (1999). Adventure programs in higher education. In Miles, J.C. & Priest, S. Adventure programming (pp. 373-383). State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.

O’Keefe, M. A. (1989). An assessment of freshman wilderness orientation programs in higher education: A descriptive Delphi study. Dissertation Services (UMI No. 8907352).

Winston, R. B., Jr., Miller, T. K., & Prince, J. S. (1982). Assessing student development (2nd ed.). Athens, GA: Student Development Associates.

 

 

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