UNCP's Outdoor Education Center is dedicated


The new Outdoor Education Center, complete with "ropes course" and 50-foot climbing wall, was dedicated March 12 in a wooded area on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

The center's program also got a new logo and name - "Higher Ground" - following a campus-wide contest.

OEC logoChancellor Allen C. Meadors praised the program for adding a unique attraction to the university and for the hard work of the individuals and groups who worked to make it happen.

"Outdoor education facilities - particularly ropes courses and climbing walls - are becoming an integral part of university campuses nationwide. And for good reasons," Chancellor Meadors said. "These facilities -- coupled with a variety of programming approaches -- have the ability to address educational, recreational, therapeutic, community and staff developmental needs. These outdoor education facilities and programs are experiential in nature."

"These programs operate by a philosophy of cooperation and support that appears to be lacking in many areas of society," he said. "This facility is not only a great educational and recreational tool OECfor UNCP students, faculty and staff, it is a potential tool for bridging the university to the community by offering programs that can positively impact everyone who participates."

Scott Haith, coordinator of the new Higher Ground Program, said the challenges of this course are useful in developing individuals and groups.

"The program will help develop self-esteem, teamwork, leadership and problem solving skill for those up for the challenge," Haith said.

"Participants press themselves to step outside their comfort zone when they climb the 50 feet wall," Haith said. "Hopefully, that initial step outside of the comfort zone will transfer to other parts of the person's life."

The site is located in a large wooded site on UNCP's north campus and lends itself to further development. Planners are hoping to add a 12-feet "bouldering" wall this summer to instruct young climbers and individuals who are afraid of heights.

Student groups like the Student Government Association, which helped fund the project, will make use of the program as will off-campus groups from around the state.

Funding for the project was a collaboration of UNCP's Physical Education Department, Sponsored Research and Programs and the Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development and the Lumber River Council of Governments.

Senior art major Bridgette Canon won both the naming contest and logo design contest.

For questions about the Higher Ground Program, contact Scott Haith at 910.522.8410 or scott.haith@uncp.edu.