Outdoor Adventures partners with Zachry Leadership Program for river excursion.

Members of the Zachry Leadership Program and Outdoor Adventures paddled the Buffalo National River in Arkansas in August.

“You can’t travel together in a remote setting or in close quarters without building a strong team,” said Sarah Schneider, an Outdoor Adventures coordinator at Texas A&M University. “During trips like this, students naturally work through diversity and build genuine cohesiveness. It’s a beautiful thing.”

That’s what happened when 32 Texas A&M seniors who are part of the Zachry Leadership Program paddled and camped the Buffalo National River in the Arkansas wilderness in August with members of the Outdoor Adventures team. The goal was to give this inaugural cohort of Zachry scholars a final experience together to further strengthen their bond through leadership development challenges.

Five members of Outdoor Adventures, part of the Department of Recreational Sports and Division of Student Affairs, handled equipment and logistics. Outdoor Adventures offers a wide range of trips and classes for student organizations and individuals in the community. Trips are customizable for each organization, but all tend to build the same skills.

The Zachry Leadership Program is a joint effort between the College of Engineering and the Zachry Group of San Antonio to empower engineering students to become future leaders who are well-versed in free enterprise, collaborative in their decision-making, and humbly self-confident in their behaviors. The second cohort was formed last spring; the third will begin in spring 2018.

“This is a great self-confidence booster for a lot of these students,” said Seth Sullivan, director of the Zachry Leadership Program. “We have several students who have never camped before so this is a big time stretch for them. It’s nice knowing that Outdoor Adventures will handle all the equipment, food and logistics

The students and their director also participated in guided reflections that focused on the transition they will experience during their senior year at Texas A&M.

Senior Mechanical Engineering major Bill Caraway, from Huntsville, Alabama, said the program pushed participants out of their comfort zones. “We were uncomfortable, but we were OK with that. It was an unforgettable growing opportunity.”

To plan a similar trip for your student or community group, contact Outdoor Adventures at outdooradventures@rec.tamu.edu.

Texas A&M students canoe on a foggy morning on the Buffalo National River in Arkansas.

Story by: Athlyn Allen ’19
Photos by: Emily Tasker ’18

*Main Image: Ravi Lad ’18, a petrolem engineering major and member of the Zachry Leadership Program, paddles down the Buffalo National River in Arkansas.

Outdoor Adventures at Texas A&M University
Outdoor Adventures at Texas A&M University provides the Texas A&M and B/CS community with access to the outdoors. We offer a wide range of trips and classes, a large selection of outdoor gear to rent, an indoor rock climbing facility, and other resources to get you in touch with the world around you.

Texas A&M University Recreational Sports
The mission of the Department of Recreational Sports is to provide quality programs, services and facilities to a diverse Texas A&M community. We encourage the lifelong pursuit of active healthy lifestyles, and enhance student development by providing leadership and employment opportunities.

Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs
The Division of Student Affairs supports Texas A&M University by providing exceptional services, facilities, and programs that promote student success, embody the Aggie spirit, and foster a diverse and inclusive campus community to deepen the understanding and individual application of the Aggie Core Values – Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service.