All photos by Paloma Mattern; Students clap and cheer as they watch their fellow classmate climb a 40-foot telephone pole.
All photos by Paloma Mattern; Students clap and cheer as they watch their fellow classmate climb a 40-foot telephone pole.

Outdoor Adventure class takes on high-ropes

August 5, 2019

Tests are the norm when taking college classes, but this summer, students in Dr. Liana Davis’s class were tested in a completely different way … including jumping off a 40-foot telephone pole.

Outdoor Adventure is a class in the Kinesiology department offered to all TAMU-CC students, and instead of hitting the books, students may surf, kayak or even go scuba diving.

The Summer II version started with probably the most challenging assignment of all: the high-ropes obstacle course.

Students carpooled and met at Youth Odyssey, located near Odem, on July 17 for this adrenaline-filled activity. For Dr. Davis, a professor in the Kinesiology department, classroom work isn’t part of the syllabus.

“This is the third time I have taught this course and I love it,” Dr. Davis said as she watched her students prepare for the high-ropes obstacle course.

After properly securing on a harness and helmet, students were prepared for the obstacle course. One of the challenges included climbing up a 40-foot telephone pole, standing up and jumping towards a trapeze swing.

The feat alone might sound challenging, but to Fernando Arevalo, the most difficult part was the wobbling of the pole. “Oh shit,” he said as he reached his foot onto the top peg while trying to maintain his balance.

Fernando Arevalo, a senior majoring in media studies, faces his fear of heights in the Outdoor Adventure class.

Senior Valeria Uresti, a Kinesiology major, was the first in the class to jump and reach the trapeze.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking seeing other people going through it,” Uresti said, “but after accomplishing it, I was full of energy and happy with the experience. I would definitely do it again!”

Valeria Uresti, a senior in Kinesiology, balances on top of the telephone pole before jumping towards the trapeze bar.

While there are many skills that could be helpful in participating in these activities, Youth Odyssey believes that offering encouragement towards others could be the extra lift that students may need. While waiting for their turn, fellow classmates would cheer and watch those climbing the high-ropes.

“The encouraging definitely helped,” senior and Criminal Justice major Benito Cavazos said. “It was the only reason I just didn’t climb back down at one point.”

Students even had the opportunity to cheer on Dr. Davis as she climbed the rock wall and zip-lined across the field.

Dr. Davis has only taught this class in the summer, but it is also offered in the Spring and Fall.

“I wouldn’t imagine there to be a difference,” said Davis, “but I have heard that they do camping sometimes during the year.”

Although Outdoor Adventure is a class in the Kinesiology department, it is open to all majors. Students choose to sign up for this class for different reasons. Fernando, a senior majoring in media studies, said he chose to take this class as his last “hoorah” before graduation. Others take it to face their fears, boost their GPA, or to simply participate in the activities.

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