Experience what the Wellness Center has to offer

This summer, students will have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities such as rock climbing, sea kayaking, a guided hiking and “possibly a bike tour of the San Juan Islands,” according to Health and Physical Education Program Chair Ray Butler. “There are fewer summer activities with less people on campus”, he said.
“The Northwest is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and we really want to help community members connect with the natural world.”
Such a variety of recreational activities are offered each quarter through the BC Wellness Center for a fraction of the price that participants would usually pay. “A day of kayaking or a day of rock climbing with the level of instruction and attention they get would cost them about $75, so they’re getting it for a greatly discounted rate,” said Peter Prescott, who coordinates Wellness Center events. These events start at just $5. These events also act as introductions to 1-credit P.E. classes. Prescott said, “[Students] get a small taste of the education, and then if they’re looking for more in-depth information, they’re made aware of the Wilderness Skills Program classes.”
“The Wellness Center provides students, faculty and staff with an opportunity to explore others’ values, cultures and passions,” Butler said. “Individuals exposed to diverse people, cultures and ideas are much more likely to choose a healthy path in life rather than letting the environment choose that path.”
“There are seven components of wellness,” he added, “including social, emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, environmental and occupational. Helping others embrace the wellness concept and understand how all these components are interconnected in each of us is the core goal of the Wellness Center.”
These community-oriented events allow students to find pleasure in physical activities, rather than simply going to a gym to run on a treadmill. “Sometimes people feel like they’re rats on a wheel,” Prescott added. Conventional exercise regimens don’t work for everyone. “Our hope is, by making wellness opportunities more available, that people realize that exercise doesn’t need to be at a gym or ‘exercise for exercise’s sake.’ Exercise can be for recreation.”
Butler said, “Promoting physical fitness is important, but participants also connect with others and have unstructured time to really get to know each other.” Prescott echoed this: “When you do[…]community-based exercise, you really do get a chance to create and foster those relationship[s] where people are there to support you in that endeavor. I don’t think a lot of people think of it as exercise. When people go rock climbing, they don’t come back saying ‘Wow, I had a really good workout today.’ Instead they say, ‘Wow, I had a really good time rock climbing today.’ In fact, they have killed multiple birds with one stone.”
“It’s amazing how many life-long friendships form while sitting around a campfire or providing moral support in a sea kayak outing,” Butler said. “So much of what we learn on a liberal arts campus occurs outside the classroom.”
“Everyone gets something out of the activities that are a little bit different,” Prescott said. “I look at outdoor recreation […] as a chance to disconnect with a lot of our overly-connected lifestyles. The concept of simplicity is really powerful for me.” After participating in these events, “students start to understand how freeing it is to do an overnight backpacking trip because everything that you’re concerned about is literally on your back. That is your focus point. In that sense it can become an escape, it can become a form of meditation, it can become something that’s really soulfully powerful for you, and you get to kind of turn it, on then turn it off. Reality sets in: We have to come back. We have work, we have school. But for that short period of time, you get to lead a very simplistic lifestyle.”
“The challenges one faces on their first rock climbing or overnight bike tour fosters self-efficacy and improves a belief in one’s ability to succeed,” Butler concluded. “Accepting these challenges creates perspective and makes everyday problems more manageable. Disciplining yourself to finish that research paper just seems easier after climbing a 4000-foot mountain.”