Outdoor Adventures

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Frequently Asked Questions

pre-o group

What is Pre-O Adventure?

Pre-O Adventure is an exciting way to transition to USD. It is an outdoor camping trip that is guided by returning student leaders. It is designed to bring incoming students together before Ole! Weekend (orientation) begins to create new friendships and address common transitional issues before arriving on campus. Pre-O Adventure helps incoming students to feel more comfortable with themselves and gives students a taste the amazing opportunities that Southern California has to offer.

Why participate in Pre-O Adventure?

These trips include fun outdoor activities in the local mountains and off the coast and is a great way to learn new skills and challenges yourself while getting introduced to southern California. Most importantly, you will meet new friends that will last during your time at USD and beyond. You will start school more confidently and prepared and have a better understanding of life at USD. Many students claim that their Pre-O Adventure was one of the highlights of their first year at USD!

What is the difference between Pre-O Adventure and the University Ministry’s Pre-O Retreat?

Both opportunities are amazing ways to get to know other students, interact with upperclassman student leaders, and transition to life at USD. Both programs take place right before Ole! Weekend begins.

Pre-O adventure is a program of Outdoor Adventures and led by student guides that offers a variety of outdoor trips (backpacking, hiking & ropes course, kayaking, or sailing). Participants live outdoors, sleep in tents, and eat meals prepared outdoors. Some call this roughing it, although we try to make living outdoors as comfortable as possible.

The Pre-O retreat is a program of University Ministry and led by student leaders that offer opportunities to reflect on your faith and spirituality as you transition to USD. Wildwood Camp and Conference Center is the location for the Pre-O retreat. Participants live in dormitory style accommodations w/ air conditioning and electricity. There are indoor meeting spaces, a pool and local opportunities to explore outdoors.

What are the dates of the Pre-O Adventure?

There are FOUR DIFFERENT Pre-O Adventure trips this year in addition to the University Ministry Pre-O Retreat. Please make sure you know the dates of your trip!

August 28-30, 2013: The Original Pre-O Adventure: Laguna Mountains (3 Days)
August 25-30, 2013: Backpack the Sierra Nevada Mountains (6 Days)
August 25-30, 2013: Hike, Snorkel & Kayak the Channel Islands (6 Days)
August 24-29, 2013: Sailing a Tall Ship off the California Coast (6 Days)

Check-in begins at 9:00am on the first day of your trip and finishes on campus at 5:00pm the last day of your trip.

How strenuous are the activities?

Each trip has a difficulty rating and we do our best to describe the format as much as possible so that you can choose the trip that is the best fit for you. Below we’ve included a detailed list of all of our activities' levels of difficulty.

    1. The Original Pre-O Adventure: Laguna Mountains

    • Camping: relaxed (depending upon the weather) (bathroom facilities available)
  • Ropes Course: moderate at times– involves heights up to 40ft
  • Hiking: relaxed to easy (May be moderately challenging for those who have not hiked before and the weather can make this more challenging)
  • Mountain Biking (moderate)
  • *no previous experience is necessary for any activity

2. Backpack the Sierra Nevada Mountains

  • Mostly moderate difficulty. May be easy at times. (Weather may make it more challenging at times)

3. Hike, Snorkel & Kayak the Channel Islands

  • Mostly easy difficulty. May be moderate at times. (Weather may make it more challenging at times)

4. Tall Ship Sailing off the California Coast

  • Everyone is capable of crewing a tall ship, it is not physically strenuous. There will be opportunities to climb up into the rigging to furl and unfurl sails. Though this is not physically hard, a little courage is required. You will wear a harness and be attached to the rigging while aloft. No one will force you up if this is not for you, there is always plenty to be done on deck. You will get to heave on lines to raise the sails and gaff. You will be heaving with your team mates so doing your best is always as much strength as you will need. Sea sickness is possible, though, today's sea sickness medicine is really effective at making your trip enjoyable. Interestingly one of the most challenging things about real sailing voyages like this is sleep. Because you will be on a watch rotation, there will be times when you are working on deck at 3am and sleeping at 3pm. This actually is really fun and is potentially great practice for demands placed on your schedule in college.

Difficulty Rating:

Relaxed: Short distances at a slow pace; Generally flat terrain, well defined trails; No prior activity experience is necessary; Perfect start for beginners; Not too physically challenging.

In hiking terms, this is usually a day hike (or car camping trip) with less than 4 miles, with minimal elevation change and flat terrain. Sneakers or running shoes are appropriate footwear.

Easy: Short distances at a slow pace; Relatively flat terrain, well defined trails, may involve some hills; No prior activity experience is necessary; Perfect start for beginners; Not too physically challenging.

In hiking terms, this is usually a day hike (or car camping trip) with less than 7 miles, with more noticeable elevation change (about 600 ft gain/loss), and a slightly rock terrain. Light hiking shoes or sneakers are appropriate footwear.

Moderate: Varying distances at a steady pace; Varying terrain, generally established trails; Some prior experience in the activity is helpful, but not required; Designed for those in good physical condition; At times, may be physically challenging.

In hiking terms, this is usually a day hike (or camping trip) with less than 10 miles, with a significant elevation change (>1,000 ft), and a slightly rocky terrain. Hiking boots or light hiking shoes are appropriate.

Advanced: Fast-paced over a short distance or steady-paced over a long distance; Varying terrain, may include off-trail sections, rough spots, unexpected obstacles; Prior experience in the activity is required; Designed for those in good physical condition; Physically challenging.

In hiking terms, this is usually a day hike with more than 10 miles, with a constant, sometimes steep elevation change and rocky terrain. It will include some off trail sections. Hiking boots are required.

Strenuous: Faster-paced over a short distance or steady-paced over a long distance; Difficult terrain, will include off-trail sections, rough spots and unexpected obstacles; Prior experience in the activity is required; Only for those in excellent physical condition; Most physically challenging trips offered by Outdoor Adventures.

In hiking terms, this is usually a day hike (or backpacking trip) with more than 12 miles, with a steep elevation change and very rocky terrain at elevation. Hiking boots are required. 

How much does it cost?

The Original Pre-O Adventure: Laguna Mountains - $265
Backpack the Sierra Nevada Mountains - $425
Hike, Snorkel & Kayak the Channel Islands - $525
Sailing a Tall Ship off the California Coast - $625

OA offers scholarships to students receiving significant need-based financial aid. There are a limited number of scholarships. See financial aid information below.

What's included?

  • Early move in to the residence halls
  • Camping/Backpacking/Kayaking/Snorkeling equipment (sleeping bag & sleeping pad available to rent)
  • Trained student leaders and guides to facilitate activities
  • Transportation to and from USD
  • All permits, reservations, activities, ropes course and entrance fees
  • Meals included vary by trip, although most meals are included.
    • The Original Pre-O Adventure: Laguna Mountains - all meals from dinner on day 1 through lunch on day 3.
    • Sierra Nevada Mountains: all meals from dinner on day 1 through lunch on day 6 except one travel meal while traveling to/from the mountains.
    • Channel Islands: all meals from dinner on day 1 through lunch on day 6 except one travel meal while traveling to/from the island.
    • Tall Ship Sailing: all meals from dinner on day 1 through lunch on day 6 except two meals that we will have downtown in San Diego.

Is there financial aid available?

Yes! Financial aid is available to students receiving significant need-based financial aid. OA works closely with the Office of Financial Aid and Admissions to determine eligibility. There are a limited number of scholarships which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The scholarships will cover up to $200 towards the trip cost. Depending on individual circumstances, some students may qualify for additional funding. Please contact OA for more information.

Do I need any special equipment?

Outdoor Adventures will provide you with a clothing list specific to your trip. For the most part, you are responsible for appropriate clothing, footwear and water bottles. If you have any questions about gear, don't hesitate to contact us.

Is it safe?

As with many things in life, outdoor adventures can be dangerous. To minimize this risk, all student leaders receive specialized training that emphasizes risk management and first aid. Our outdoor leaders are certified Wilderness First Responders (80-hour training) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid level(40-hour training). Our primary concern is safety. We choose activities and locations that allow us to manage the risks present.

What about drugs or alcohol?

Do not bring any alcohol or illegial drugs. Please let us know of any prescription medications that you are taking.

How do I sign up for a Pre-O Adventure trip?

Pre-O Adventure is extremely popular and fills up quickly so sign up right away. Selections will be made through a lottery process and trip assignments will be based on stated preferences. Applications will be available online from June 10-13, 2013. Students will be notified of their standing in the lottery by June 14. We will continue to accept registrations after June 13 on a first-come first-serve basis until all trips are full. We normally have a long waiting list, so complete your application before June 13 to improve your chances of getting on a Pre-O Adventure Trip.

How does the lottery process work?

  1. Applications will be available online from Monday, June 10, 2013 through Thursday, June 13, 2013.
  2. Only one application per student.
  3. Please do not send payment until requested.
  4. Students will be notified by June 14, 2013 as to their standing in the lottery.
  5. All registrations must be completed and paid in full by June 18, 2013. Failure to complete your registration will place you on the waitlist.
  6. You will receive notification that your application was received once you submit the online form. We ask that students wait until the lottery is complete to make any inquiries.
  7. Any canceled space will be filled by lottery using applications that were not awarded during the initial process.
  8. After June 13, any available spaces will be filled on a first-come first-serve basis.

Who is Outdoor Adventures? 

Outdoor Adventures is an office operating within the Division of Student Life at the University of San Diego. Outdoor Adventures exists to enhance the campus community by offering recreational and educational experiences through wilderness trips, outdoor recreation classes, teambuilding programs and sustainability programs. USD Outdoor Adventures is committed to offering programs that:

  • Provide opportunities for self-discovery and leadership development
  • Cultivate cooperative behavior and positive small group dynamics
  • Promote wilderness ethics and stewardship, utilizing Leave No Trace principles
  • Teach essential outdoor skills
  • Encourage positive risk taking within an acceptable level of emotional and physical risk
  • Support our student staff and guides in attaining professional experience and growth

How do I coordinate my move in and arrival with Pre-O Adventure? 

Check-in begins day 1 for your trip at 9:00am in UC 136, where you will receive a temporary room key. Student guides are available to help direct you to your room. The group will meet back up after lunch at 1:00pm sharp. We will return to campus on the last day of the trip between 5:00pm and 6:00pm where students and families can reunite.

I am flying to San Diego. How do I get from the Airport to USD?

OA can provide a free shuttle from the airport to campus. We will ask you for your travel plans in the registration packet. Please let us know your flight information so we can coordinate your pickup at the airport. Flights should arrive by 10am on day 1 of your trip.

What if I have never been camping before? 

Awesome! Pre-O is a great trip to start. All you need is a good attitude and an adventurous spirit. On your trip, the student leaders will teach you the basic outdoor living skills you’ll need to be comfortable camping, hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, etc. For those who are unsure about conditioning for these activities, Pre-O Adventure is a great opportunity to challenge yourself. The only requirement is a desire to participate.

What is expected of the incoming students on these trips?

Pre-O Adventure trips are shared group experiences where every student is a critical component of a well functioning group.  Participants are expected to be active, contributing members of the group.  This includes transporting personal and group gear, assisting with setting up camp, cooking, cleaning, minimizing environmental impacts and taking care of oneself in weather conditions that can sometimes be unpleasant.  Be prepared to be flexible.  Weather, trail conditions, ocean conditions may not be what you expect.  Bringing your sense of humor, a positive attitude and tolerance for adversity will help you tackle these challenges should they arise.  Positive group dynamics don’t just happen automatically.  They are the result of hard work, thoughtful interactions, good intentions and respect for people with diverse backgrounds.  Please join us if you are interested in building a well functioning, cohesive group.

What kind of physical shape do I need to be in? 

Pre-O Adventure is designed for beginner to intermediate skill levels. We encourage everyone to engage in some type of regular physical activity in preparation for the trip in order to maximize comfort. Walking, hiking, biking, running, yoga, swimming, surfing, paddling are all great ways to be physically active. Each trip has different physical demands, so please refer to the specific trip for more detailed information.

I have specific food/health requirements, can I still attend? 

Please note any food/health requirements when registering for the trip. Our staff will take into consideration all food/health requirements for each participant and most can easily be accommodated.

How do I get more information? 

Please feel free to contact us at your convenience:

Outdoor Adventures
Hahn University Center, 136
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

619-260-4709
www.sandiego.edu/oa
explore@sandiego.edu