As the school year abruptly came to an end, Appalachian State University’s Outdoor Program (OP) staff prepared to part ways. For some that meant a few days, weeks, or months, but for others that might have meant for life.

For their last hurrah of the semester the OP had a BBQ potluck dinner at Appalachian State University’s Camp Broadstone located in Valle Crucis. This facility is located 7-miles from campus on the Watauga River. It offers a bouldering cave, a full ropes course, walking trails, recreational fields, and a totally secluded space away from campus and Boone.

I had the pleasure of catching the end of this send-away party and talking with some of the staff members. Many students on the OP Staff were graduating just a week after their send off and moving on to bigger and better things.

I talked with one staff member who was moving to Alaska after graduation to be an adventure guide for the remainder of the summer before settling down and figuring out his life plans. Having never been to Alaska he was both excited and anxious for the journey to come. Many other graduated OP staff members had similar plans of traveling and exploring before settling down with a full-time job.

As a send off gift for the seniors, a variety of maps were placed around the shelter on the picnic tables for other OP staff to write memories and messages of good luck.

After catching up and meeting some folks we enjoyed the remainder of the evening by throwing a Frisbee, playing a game of horse, and an unusually intense round of foursquare. Unfortunately, a quick spring storm rolled in and cut our outdoor fun a little short.

Best wishes to all graduates who are going on to further explore the world and themselves. And, good luck to all the graduates who are being thrown into the adult-world of office jobs. May you always be able to go outside and play.