Ever wanted to watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain, explore a winter forest on skis, or beat your personal record to the top of a indoor climbing wall?
The Shenandoah Outdoor and Adventure Recreation program can help you do all that and more. SOAR offers a wide range of outdoor adventures for all different levels. We’ll teach you the skills you need to go on your own explorations, and make sure you have the equipment you need to see the best of the Shenandoah Valley during your time at Shenandoah University.
Looking for a way to build leadership, marketable job skills, and spend more time outdoors? SOAR is always looking for students to become trip leaders. All that’s needed is a desire to educate and a love of adventure.
SOAR introduces the campus community to a wide variety of outdoor activities, with offerings for all experience levels. Participants develop basic skills for safe and environmentally responsible exploration of natural resources in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. SOAR fosters a life-long appreciation for and participation in the outdoors.
I chose Shenandoah because of the region. As an avid backpacker and hiker, I loved how close campus is to Shenandoah National Park, Harpers Ferry and the Appalachian Trail. I love how SOAR gives students a way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! Over spring break I traveled with SOAR to backpack on the North Carolina section of the AT. We had a lot of fun in Hickory, Asheville and Hot Springs as well as our backpacking experience.
—Josiah O’Sullivan | Biology, Pre-Physical Therapy, ’19
The SOAR program offers a wide range of activities for all skill levels that promote self-awareness and self-esteem, cultivate personal growth, develop interpersonal and outdoor leadership skills and strengthen the SU community through, outdoor group adventures. We focus on exploring the natural world through outdoor activities as a way for students to engage with each other and facilitate personal growth and learning.
Committed to experiential, placed based learning, SOAR focuses on hands on learning experiences that take place in or near the Shenandoah Valley as a way of encouraging students to connect with the local landscape. SOAR educates and inspires individuals to be responsible stewards of the natural world while engaging in adventure recreation and sustainability initiatives.
Follow us on Facebook, and tag your outdoor adventures on Instagram with #SUOutdoors.
SOAR offers activities outdoor group adventures for all skill levels.
See a trip you like? Get more information or sign up by emailing email@example.com.
Have an idea for a trip you’d love to take or want to get your class, club or organization out on a trip? You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. We may be able to arrange a trip for you!
Fall 2016 Outdoor Trips
|Ice Skating||Feb. 2th||1:00 – 8:00||All||Free Transportation|
|Cross Country Skiing||Feb. 11-12th||Overnight||Beginner||$50|
|Girls Only Indoor Climbing||Feb. 25th||11:30 – 6:30||Beginner||$15|
|Indoor Skydiving||Mar. 5th||12:00 – 4:00||Beginner||$45|
|Spring Break Trip||Mar. 11-19th||Overnight||Beginner||$200|
|Indoor Climbing||Mar. 26th||1:15 – 6:30||Beginner||Free – $15|
|Hammock Day||Mar. 30th||11:00 – 4:00||All||Free|
|Sky Meadows Hike||Apr. 1st||9:00 – 3:30||Beginner||$5|
|S’mores Night||Apr. 5th||8:00 – 11:30||All||Free|
|Whitewater Rafting||Apr. 8th||12:45 – 7:00||Beginner||$30|
|Seneca Outdoor Climbing||Apr. 14-16th||Overnight||Intermediate||$50|
|Slackline Day||Apr. 19th||11:00 – 4:00||All||Free|
|Horseback Riding||Apr. 23rd||11:15 – 2:15||Beginner||$30|
|Hammock Day||Apr. 27th||11:00 – 4:00||All||Free|
- Registration is on first come, first served basis.
- Trips that require payments are not reserved until payment has been made to Hornet Central
- No refunds will be issued for any reason, unless the trip is cancelled.
- Pre-trip meetings are required. You should not sign up unless you can also make the meeting. Pre-trip meetings and dates will be noted on trips that require them.
- Return times are estimates. Due to the nature of outdoor activities, trip may return earlier or later than the listed times.
- Faculty, staff, and alumni are welcome to take any spots that are left open in the three days prior to the trip’s departure.
Trip Classification System
These trips are outings where the goal is for participants to enjoy being outside. Everyone is welcome and no prior skills are needed.
These trips are designed for beginners to start acquiring skills and for more advanced participants to practice and hone their skills.
Participants with some prior experience in the activity will feel most comfortable on these trips. Beginners are welcome, but the trip may be challenging for them.
This trip is for participants who have definite prior experience in the activity. They must have been on a minimum of three SOAR trips in the area of the activity, or be able to demonstrate their competence.
Monday, Jan. 30th / What Outdoor Activity Are You?
Monday, Feb. 20th / Can you Knot?
Tuesday, Feb. 21st / Appalachian Trail Talk with Rodney Bragdon
Monday, Feb. 27th / Outdoor Hot Spots
Monday, Mar. 20th / Environmental Hazards
Monday, Mar. 27th / Outdoor Cooking
Monday, Apr. 3rd / Water Safety
Monday, Apr. 10th / Leave No Trace
March 20 – 28st – Adventure Photography Contest
What is adventure? Is it hopping on a plane and flying to country where you don’t speak the language? Is it taking a walk in the woods or driving across the country? Is it disappearing into a mystery novel?
SOAR invites you to think about what “adventure” means to you, and enter its Adventure Photography Contest. Current Shenandoah students – undergraduate and graduate – may submit photos between March 20 and March 28. Four entries per person are allowed, and the photos must be taken during this academic school year. Images should be sent to email@example.com.
Every image must have a 1- to 2-sentence explanation of how the photo means adventure to you. First prize is a $50 Visa gift card, second prize is a $25 Visa gift card, and third prize is a $15 Visa gift card. The top 10 photos will be displayed on campus. All photos submitted will be displayed in an album on the Shenandoah University Outdoors Facebook page.
- Submissions begin on March 20 and end at 5 p.m. March 28.
- Four entries per current SU student are allowed, and the photo(s) must be taken during the 2016-17 academic school year.
- Contest is not open to Shenandoah employees.
- Photos should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with a 1-2 sentence per photo explanation on how each photo represents adventure to you.
- All photos will be displayed in a Shenandoah University Outdoor Facebook album.
- Photos without written explanations will not be considered for judging and will not be displayed.
- Photos with graphic or inappropriate content will not considered or displayed, and their submitter will be banned from further contests.
- Winning photos will be anonymously judged based on merit and interpretation of theme.
- Winners will be notified after judging and will be given instructions to pick up prizes. Any attempt to circumvent the contest rules will lead to instant disqualification.
First prize is a $50 Visa gift card
Second prize is a $25 Visa gift card.
Third prize is a $15 Visa gift card
SOAR is pleased to be able to offer students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to rent outdoor equipment for their adventures.
When you have read over the gear rental policies, you can make a request for equipment and set up a appointment to pick up your gear at email@example.com. All equipment requests must be made at least 48 hours in advance of your scheduled pick up time.
|Equipment||Rental Fee||Replacement Fee|
|Tent (2 person)||$2||$100|
|Tent (4 person)||$3||$200|
|Tent (6 person)||$4||$300|
|Tent (8 person)||$5||$150|
|Internal Frame Pack with Cover||$3||$250|
|*Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack||$3||$170|
|Sleeping Pad (foam)||$2||$25|
|**Stove (MSR Windpro II)||$3||$100|
|**Coleman Stove (2 burner)||$4||$120|
|Cook Kit with Cup, Bowl, and Spoon||$2||$95|
|One Liter Water Bottle||$1||$10|
|Water Tube with Life Vest||$2||$25|
|Hammock (Eno Single Nest)||$3||$70|
*Includes sleeping bag and liner
**Fuel for stoves is not provided, but staff will provide you with information on where you can purchase it yourself.
***Use is limited to SU property.
A late fee of $1 per item per day will be charged for each day the equipment is not returned.
A cleaning fee of $10 will be charged for wet or improperly cleaned gear.
SOAR Gear Rental Policy
SOAR owns equipment and gear that is available for the use and benefit of the Shenandoah community. In consideration for the benefits received, the renter(s) assumes all risk for any damages or injuries that may be sustained to either person or property while using SOAR’s equipment. SOAR equipment may be used solely in accordance with the following conditions:
- SOAR equipment is for personal use by Shenandoah community members, and is rented on a first come first served basis.
- SOAR equipment is issued “as is,” and any renter may reject or refuse to use SOAR equipment.
- Each person who borrows and uses SOAR equipment is assumed to have the knowledge and training to use the equipment in a safe manner.
- While SOAR will strive keep equipment in usable condition, each renter who borrows SOAR’s equipment assumes the risks of using equipment that may have been used repeatedly and extensively by other renters. Each renter is expected to familiarize themselves with the specific equipment being borrowed and to check the equipment before use.
- Renters are expected to report promptly to the SOAR Coordinator or Gear Manager, any problems relating to the condition or usability of SOAR equipment.
- Renters should set up an appointment to check out gear by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, at which point they will also set up an appointment to return gear.
- Renters will be assessed a fine for lost or damaged equipment at the current retail price of that equipment. Equipment that is kept by a renter for more than 14 days after the due date, without the prior agreement of the SOAR Coordinator will be assumed to be lost or stolen. Its full replacement cost will be required from the renter who borrowed it.
- Renters are expected to return all equipment clean and in useable condition. Tents, packs, sleeping bags, etc. should be wiped clean and dry, but never laundered. Stoves should be free from all food and food traces; and pots, pans and utensils should be scrubbed clean. Clothing and sleeping bag liners must be laundered. Fire Pits must be cleaned and free from excess burned material. A cleaning fee of $10 will be charged for wet or improperly cleaned gear.
- A late fee of $1 per item per day will be charged for each day the equipment is not returned.
Student Guide Service
Want to take your residents, club members, co-workers, or other campus group on an outdoor trip, but don’t know where to start?
SOAR can help! We offer a free student guide service to members of the SU community.
Steps to Booking a Trip
- To book a trip, email email@example.com four weeks prior your trip. We will not accommodate any trip made last minute.
- The SOAR Coordinator will match you with two student guides. If no guides are available, we will work with you to find an alternative date.
- You will meet your SOAR Guides to determine what it is you want to do.
- SOAR Guides will plan your trip and help you make bookings for any services your group wants to use.
- SOAR Guides will accompany you on the trip and help you to have the best experience possible!
SOAR Trip Staff
SOAR Student Director
Interested in becoming one of SOAR’s trip staff? Send us an email! We’re always looking for new student employees. No prior experience is needed.
Not able to fit a SOAR trip into your busy schedule? Grab a friend and go on your own time or with members of SU’s Outdoor Adventure Club.
Welcome to Shenandoah University’s SOAR Program!
At SOAR, we strive to get students outside to experience the great outdoors. We have trips planned for every semester that are open to the student public, but just in case you miss one or can’t attend, here’s a list of things to do in preparation of your
Step 1: Trip Planning
What would you like to do? Is it backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or something else?
In this planning process, it is vital that you have a set plan as to what you would like to do, and how you plan on doing it. Check the toggle below for ideas.
Step 2: Organization
Trips should always be conducted in a safe manner. Organizing them before hand can help! This step includes fulfilling all of the means necessary to ensure that your trip is safe and successful. Under construction. More to come!
Step 3: Finalization
Trips should be fun! Completing the planning process and finalizing your plans gives you the chance to look forward to your trip. This step reminds you of a few things to do before leaving for your trip. Under construction. More to come!
Click here for a list of some materials you need to go backpacking.
Click here for a list of some materials you should have in your first aid kit.
Click here for a list of some materials you need for a day hike.
The Shenandoah Valley has many opportunities for you to get outside that are all within easy driving distance of Winchester. Check out these local outdoor adventure activities and locations!
Need new boots, a water bottle, or a backpack? Check out Mountain Trails here is Winchester.
Remember to plan your adventures responsibly.
The links above are for informational purposes. SOAR and Shenandoah University is not responsible for non-University sanctioned trips.
Outdoor Leadership & Education Instructor | Shenandoah Outdoor Adventure & Recreation Coordinator