Devin Rotz '25
May 5, 2023
Spring is here, and the MOE activities are in full swing, with many trips planned this season. Mercersburg’s Outdoor Education program offers three different tracks in the Spring: Mountain Biking, Climbing, and Rivers and Trails. Climbing develops the technical skills of climbing via indoor and outdoor facilities. The Rivers and Trails program teaches students the necessary skills in backpacking and kayaking on local trails and rivers. Mountain Biking similarly uses the local region to build students’ cycling skills. Each individual program offers a wide range of skills and teaches the fundamentals of outdoor education.
The educators and instructors who are part of the MOE program are instrumental to each program’s success and in making the experience enjoyable and inclusive for everyone. Chris Duffy, new Director of MOE, said, “I love teaching and sharing these awesome activities with our students. Whether it is climbing, biking, hiking, paddling, or skiing, I have always loved sharing outdoor activities with students.”
If you wonder how athletic you have to be for a MOE program, Pete Gunkleman, Assistant Director of MOE, has your answer: “Our programs include athleticism without the necessity to compete. We’re undefeated, though not untested.”
Whether amateur or pro, there is room to grow. MOE instructors work hard to expose students to new terrain, often through overnight trips in Climbing, Rivers and Trails, or Mountain Biking. In the Spring, biking has fun trips ahead, said Carol Ecton, biking instructor, “I am personally looking forward to Schaeffer Farms in Maryland and old favorites like Raystown, Allegrippis trails, and Michaux trails near Chambersburg.” Climbing and Rivers and Trails have some trips around the corner, too. There will be climbing trips to New River Gorge National Park and to the water for kayaking in R&T.
Student participation and enthusiasm for the programs help them succeed and make each event enjoyable for all. In the coming weeks, there will be much to learn and many experiences to be had. Often these are first-time experiences. “I’m looking forward to the Seneca trip in May, I’ve never been on an overnight climbing trip,” said Elliot Cole ’24. “We are most looking forward to our trip to Raystown, Pennsylvania at the end of the season though since we will be able to use all of the skills we have been working on all season,” said Reagan Houpt ’25.
Of course, there is always pleasure in returning to campus after a long day of the outdoors. “The sense of accomplishment after a hike and the shower,” said Tony Huang ’24, about his favorite part of MOE.