Through the years, Outdoor Pursuits/Freshman Camp has been a unique learning opportunity for Springfield College students, and we are excited to keep that tradition and rich history alive. This spring, we will welcome our 90th Outdoor Pursuits/Freshman Camp and are looking forward to celebrating this milestone of history, tradition, and community building that has been the foundation of this course for nine decades. However, we do not want the celebration to end there and we would like to extend the opportunity to welcome all students, alumni and their families back home to East Campus during Reunion Weekend on June 8th to commemorate this monumental occasion. It is our hope that you will register today and help us relive some of your fondest Outdoor Pursuits/Freshman Camp memories.

With deep appreciation,

Ben Taylor ’99, G’15, Director of East Campus and Outdoor Programs

Angela Veatch, G’07,  Associate Director of East Campus and Outdoor Programs

 

Learn More About Giving to Friends of East Campus 

From the archives: A black & white photo of freshman campers boarding the bus
WE DID IT!

Thank you for making Giving Day a success!

Goal: 300

Achievement: 337

Giving Day logo 2019
assistant professor of recreation management

Rachel Keyworth

“I support Friends of East Campus because, as a student, I discovered my passion for facilitating and was able to connect my work in the classroom with experiential learning opportunities on the challenge course. Now, as a faculty member at Springfield College, I am able to utilize this outdoor learning lab for my students to bring the content of an entire semester to life. With the help of East Campus staff members, these service learning projects give students important hands-on programming experiences as they work towards becoming therapeutic recreation professionals.”

Rachel Keyworth
Class of 2019

Zach Varnauskas

“As a student, I support Friends of East Campus because East Campus is the home to all of my favorite Springfield College memories. It is important to give back to a place that has given so much to me. I want to make sure future students and campers have the best resources possible to allow these types of experiences to continue.”

Zach Varnauskas
June 8

Join us as we celebrate 90 Years of Outdoor Pursuits

Freshman Camp began the same way all Springfield College programs begin: as a way to educate students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others. The program that came to be known as Outdoor Pursuits puts students in an outdoor setting to teach them group living dynamics, environmental awareness, outdoor living skills, and self-discovery. The camping is fun and challenging, but, as the students come to learn, it’s a means to an end. The process of learning to build a fire is more important than the actual fire. While some of the specific programming has changed over the years, the way students learn to work as a group and become independent learners has remained constant. One of the most important lessons students learn is a better understanding of the type of person they want to become. When Ted France ’91, G’93, professor of physical education, was a student at Outdoor Pursuits, by the end of camp he discovered what type of teacher he wanted to be. France credits this to his faculty and staff mentors, a thread he still sees happening at camp 25 years later. “They weren’t telling me what to do. They were creating opportunities for me to explore, to try things, to fail, to be successful. They were always there to help me assess, reflect, and get better,” said France. Now in its 90th year, Outdoor Pursuits has stayed true to its mission and the mission of the College. In honor of this important program, please join us for a reunion celebrating 90 years of Outdoor Pursuits on June 8.

Group by fire
Freshman Camp Bus
1924

The idea of a Freshman Camp first takes form so that students will learn practical fundamentals of camp management and programming. Field Science and Camp Craft become part of the freshman course work

Archer
1931

The first overnight Freshman Camp is held in May and the first permanent building, Pukwana Lodge, is erected in October.

homebase
1932

The Pueblo lodge is officially dedicated. Wo Peen presents a program about articles and apparel used in Native American rituals to 300 people. Wo Peen demonstrates some of the dances of his people and chants prayers to the Great Spirit.

Members standing together
1933

The first planting of the “Cathedral of Living Trees” takes place. Trees are planted in the shape of a cross. Today, there still is an evening ceremony during Outdoor Pursuits that occurs at the Cathedral of Living Trees.

Campcraft
1934

Charles B. Frasher becomes the director-teacher of Camp Leadership and Field Science, culminating with the 10-day laboratory phase of the course Freshman Camp.

Throughout the years, Freshman Camp will be held from five to 14 days with students living in small groups in tents.

Campfire
1938

Hurricane winds blow down thousands of trees at East Campus, equaling 200,000 board feet of lumber. About one-third of the trees are used to build 10 cabins and the rest are sawed into portable lumber and used for repairs on campus.

Sitting in the woods
1943

A total of 21 cabins are completed, built from the lumber from the trees that came down in the 1938 hurricane. Those cabins are used for the following four decades for Freshman Camp.

Map Study
1982

Massachusetts state teacher certification requirements force the physical education department to drop three classes, including Camp Counseling, which included Freshman Camp. The Camp Counseling course is reduced to two semester hours and Freshman Camp is renamed Outdoor Pursuits and designated as a one-credit course. Camp is reduced to seven to eight days with no day off away from the campsite. No longer an all-college requirement, it still is required by students in the School of Health Physical Education and Recreation, and open to all students on a space-available basis.

Camp Group Meeting
1990

>A large amount of acreage, including the upper ball field and campsite, is leased to Baystate Diversified Health Systems in order to build Reeds Landing, a continuing care facility. Over the next two years, students at camp plant 500 hemlock trees along the ridge, preserving the natural outdoor look of camp. East Campus adds an outdoor pavilion and challenge course, which are integrated into Outdoor Pursuits.

Students Canoeing
2011

An October snowstorm hits before most of the leaves fall from the trees, leaving more than $1.2 million worth of damage and threatening the possibility of cancelling Outdoor Pursuits the following spring. East Campus has to close its facilities to outside groups until the more than 500 fallen trees and 1,200 damaged trees could be cleared. Camp is able to reopen in May 2012, just in time for Outdoor Pursuits.

Outdoor Pursuit
2012

An outdoor restroom and shower facility are built just north of the Pueblo thanks to funding spearheaded by the class of 1962, partnerships with several local community organizations, and other alumni and friends of the College.

Building Campfire
2017

Numerous supporters, including the class of 1962, raise $20,000 to replace the aging council ring for its 55th Reunion. The new council ring is finished in May in time for Outdoor Pursuits.

Your gifts turn students into leaders who serve others.

Donors
206 Alumni, 45 Faculty and Staff, 66 Friends (including families of students and campers), 31 Students
Group Picture
Support
$46,315.89 cumulatively given in support of Friends of East Campus
East Campus at Springfield College
Tents
4
Deluxe camping tents
Canoe
3
Canoes
Explore the Friends of East Campus

Our Mission

The mission of the East Campus Outdoor Learning Center is to support the programs of Springfield College through purposefully designed experiential-learning opportunities in an out-of-doors setting with educational, recreation, business, and therapeutic groups.

Spring Explorers using the ropes course