The Classes of 2021 are ready to embark on a new journey, but before matriculating during August’s Orientation, more than 100 first-years are set to backpack, kayak and sail with new friends during this year’s Pre-Orientation Adventure Program from Aug. 20 – 24.
“POAP was an amazing experience my first year and I wanted to share the same opportunity with others,” says POAP summer coordinator Alyssa Deem ’18. “It made adjusting to college easier because I was given the chance to move in early, meet new people, and adjust to the campus. The POAP leaders offered me advice as a student and provided my group with guidance for our start to college life.”
With 10 trips designed for all skill levels, even those new to hiking and kayaking can feel comfortable in a program with a history of fostering friendships before the academic year kicks off. Guided by Hobart and William Smith students extensively trained in first aid and water safety, incoming first-year students will explore the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes on trips matching their interests.
Hobart Assistant Dean David Mapstone ’93, P’21, who oversees the program, says that while more than 100 students have signed up, he hopes another 50 or 350 will join the adventure.
Students can also choose to complete weeklong community service projects with the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge and Habitat for Humanity. The Montezuma Wildlife trip will include hiking and on-site camping with access to dining and restroom facilities. Both trips are immersive experiences that Deem says allows students to “benefit from learning about the Finger Lakes community and what the Geneva area offers.”
For students like Micah Lynch ’18, POAP was so foundational to their first-year experience that they will lead this year’s trips as tour guides. “By the time you get back to campus it feels as if you’ve known everyone for years. Complete strangers become friends and campus feels like home,” says Lynch, an architectural studies major. “I’ve met some of my best friends on POAP and I have to say I can’t envision my college career without it.”
Students must register by Tuesday, Aug. 1 on the Orientation website in order to participate in the program. Parents and students with questions are encouraged to contact Deem and Kelly Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org, (315) 781-3300 or through the POAP Facebook group.