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Mission and Values

Outdoor Program’s mission is to promote discovery through student-powered adventure.


Outdoor Programs believes in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. We recognize that many individuals and groups have been de-valued and discriminated against based on characteristics including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, cultural background, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and socioeconomic status. We believe that such discrimination is detrimental to our community and the world. We believe in the value of what Outdoor Programs offers each member of the Appalachian community and that each individual brings value to our programs. We believe that open and inclusive communities which appreciate diversity promote greater self-discovery, group development, compassion, exploration and learning.


We believe that adventure is essential to a life well lived. Adventure begins as a mindset that values the role of risk in our lives, fosters strength in the face of adversity and uncertainty, places greater emphasis on experiences than outcomes, and welcomes challenge and the exploration of our own potential. Outdoor adventure leads us to explore and appreciate the natural world and takes us away from the distractions of contemporary life. Those who engage in adventure are connected by their shared passion for life-long learning and new experiences, and have an openness that encourages the development of interpersonal relationships. Outdoor adventures provide challenges and natural consequences that teach personal responsibility, judgment and decision-making skills.


Outdoor Programs believes that people learn and grow through challenge. We design and provide education and development opportunities that engage the whole person intellectually, inter-personally, and physically. Essential to these experiences are risk, mind/body connection, personal reflection, and exposure to new environments. When responsibly managed these experiences help people know themselves, their community, their environments, and their world in more complex ways.

We commit ourselves to:

Creating inclusive environments that reflect the diversity within the Appalachian community and in which all are welcomed, respected, and appreciated.

Understanding the limitations and constraints to participation with Outdoor Programs and taking action to remove these barriers.

Developing a culture which shares and appreciates differences in opinion, life experience, and values.

Providing ongoing education and training to both participants and staff to promote our diversity values and goals.

We welcome your feedback! Feel free to contact us by emailing Valerie Kankiewicz at