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Farewell Graduating Staff

Graduation is bitter-sweet. Saying goodbye to a team of hardworking & compassionate staff members is difficult, but the lifelong memories & valuable lessons make it all worth it.

Our graduating staff share their fondest memories and takeaways from Outdoor Adventures. This May, five OA staff members are graduating from NIU. Let's hear what they have to say about this impactful program.

Heather Anderson

  • Favorite OA memory: My favorite OA memory was going on the Gila trip in 2017 because I got to know the most amazing people.

  • Why do you love the outdoors? The outdoors is where we came from. Even though it’s such a big open space, it brings people closer.

  • Advice for NIU students: If there’s anything that you want to do, even just a little bit, do it.

  • A lesson from OA you will carry with you: Let your fears and worries go, it brings you so much more joy and freedom.

Caleb Flynn

  • Favorite OA memory: My favorite memory from OA was getting to spend a week in New Mexico hiking and camping with my co-workers and future friends.

  • Why do you love the outdoors? I love the serenity. There's an instinctual connection to nature that we have as humans and I find myself at peace in the outdoors.

  • Advice for NIU students: Do what makes you happy.

  • A lesson from OA you will carry with you: The value of working together as a team to accomplish something.

Ben Warren

  • Favorite OA memory: Last semester's Devils Lake camping trip was one of my favorite OA memories. The group was super chill, and we all got to know each other quite well after a few days of hiking and sitting around the campfire all night. I still talk to some of the participants on that trip!

  • Why do you love the outdoors? I love the solitude of the outdoors. it's truly one of the only ways to get away from people (most of the time). And as a meteorologist, being outside of course the best way to experience the weather! I love knowing WHY we are seeing the current weather, knowing what's coming next, and sharing that knowledge with others.

  • Advice for NIU students: Get involved inside and outside your major! Not only will you be able to add more to your resume, but you'll make lifelong friends, too!

  • A lesson from OA you will carry with you: Not only have I learned a lot of valuable outdoors skills, but OA has certainly taught me not to take myself too seriously. At the end of the day we, the staff, just want to share the great outdoors with our participants, and the best way to do that is to just be yourself.

Danielle Havlik

  • Favorite OA memory: Although I only spent one semester working with OA, I really enjoyed getting to know my team! I was able to co-lead a hike at Starved Rock which was a great experience. Connecting with staff and participants is my favorite part of this job. The way a group of people from different backgrounds can all share a love for nature is beautiful.

  • Why do you love the outdoors? This is my place to recharge. I feel calm, happy, and peaceful after spending some time outside. Whether it's a walk, bike ride, or sitting by a campfire, nature grounds me and reminds me about what's really important in life.

  • Advice for NIU students: Just go for it! This is the time of your life to try new things, get involved, make mistakes, and learn. You are limitless and can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

  • A lesson from OA you will carry with you: With the right mindset, no goal is out of reach.

Jessica Wind

  • Favorite OA memory: My favorite memory at OA is all the people and big adventures I have been on. I have been able to provide many opportunities for people to see things they may not have ever seen, including me.

  • Why do you love the outdoors? I love seeing the world and traveling to new places. I also love how disconnected you can get when outdoors.

  • Advice for NIU students: Find something you enjoy doing and get involved in as much as you can. Enjoy every moment you have here before going into the real world.

  • A lesson from OA you will carry with you: Don't settle for no. Create a vision and find a way to accomplish it.

It's safe to say you'll find an adventure no matter which way you turn at Outdoor Adventures. With a variety of trips, events, and workshops, you're bound to find one that will suit your needs.

From beginner to expert, you'll find well-planned trips and events to help you live an active and adventurous lifestyle. From favorite pastimes like hiking and paddling to bigger challenges like cycling and climbing, we have a trip or event for everyone.

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