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Outdoor Leadership Education Leads Grant-Funded Outdoor Trip with Hmong Student Association

The Outdoor Leadership Education program at Toccoa Falls College was selected as one of five schools in the United States to receive a grant from College Outside for the Campus Collaboration Series. The vision for this grant was to “. . . support, develop, and lead a trip aimed at fostering a more diverse outdoor community on their campuses. Student leaders will plan a trip from start to finish in partnership with an affinity group for students of color on their campus in hopes of creating space for meaningful and lasting connections” (College Outside, 2022).

Outdoor Leadership Education professor, Austin Souto, provided guidance as the program partnered with the Hmong Student Association on campus to take an outdoor trip to Cherokee, NC on April 14-16, 2023. This recreation activity included a 2 night camping stay just outside of Great Smoky Mountain National Park with outdoor adventure options of hiking and fishing. Students who hiked counted over 10 miles completed throughout the trip. The fishing opportunity also allowed for the creation of meaningful connections amongst students.

While rain was forecasted for the trip, most of the precipitation happened while students were able to be inside their tents during the night. One memorable moment for all included the reading of a storybook at a scenic overlook (pictured above). Students were also able to bond together over the cooking of meals, hammocking, and adventuring that happens so naturally in the outdoors.

This partnership with the Hmong Student Association and Outdoor Leadership Education was a beautiful opportunity to celebrate diversity and creation. Thank you to College Outside for providing the resources to make this trip and these memories a reality for Toccoa Falls College students.


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