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How Rock Climbing Changed My Life

February 6, 2020

Written By Laina Marble, Rock Wall Employee

There are a lot of conveniences in life—getting into a car and easily traveling miles by the press of a pedal, having boxes of whatever gizmo you desire by clicking “confirm purchase,” and whipping out your phone to brush up on a fact that is right on the tip of your tongue. Climbing though, is not a convenience.

Climbing and Theology

The start of my relationship with climbing began in 2014 when a group of friends and I were looking for something to do with our “free day” in the middle of a conference. Walking aimlessly around downtown Chattanooga, we all were taken in by the flashy colors of a climbing gym and decided to give it a whirl. Each of us had no clue what we were in for and had much more of a dressed-up attire than a ready-to-climb look going for us. Powered by a pair of rental shoes and a harness I fumbled my way to the first auto-belay that I saw and easily shimmied my way up, grabbing whatever color I desired all the way to the top. I struck up a conversation with a young boy and his dad that clearly knew what they were doing and very clearly could tell I did not. They were the first to help me learn some basics and belay me up a wall. My interaction with them was my first taste of climbing hospitality and a big part of the reason I decided to stay back to learn more about this weird sport while most of the group took off to go shopping.

Climbing allowed movement that I never had utilized before in such a productive way (aside from trying to impress my brother as a little girl to keep up with him as we were climbing trees).  I was quickly enticed to climb every route that I could to experience different holds that required something new from me. The conference we were at was a Christian New Year’s conference, and we had spent the two previous days talking all sorts of theology and life application. I run off analogies. So, while I was plugged into an auto belay, I realized that often times I had looked at different commands from God as obstacles to dodge around. But, when grabbing these strange little colored holds I realized that His commands were so much more than that—they were truths that I could cling to in obedience to bring myself closer to His heavenly face.

A Deeper Understanding of Climbing

Flash forward a bit to 2016. I nearly trip over myself and life choices and fall into a gap year program. Not truly realizing what I had signed up for, I found enough satisfaction in knowing that I would no longer be living in my mother’s house to not really care what else was in store. I quickly found that climbing had shown its face once again. I hastily had committed myself to a 9-month wilderness discipleship program at a camp in the hill country of Texas. Still being a newbie to the sport of climbing, I was terrified at how small personal harness’s looked. But, I noticed a stunning limestone wall that had a vast variety of routes to play on. Climbing outside became a game changer and added beauty to the sport. It taught me to look for holds that may have been unseen at first glance and to strive for a sense of accomplishment using an element that was simply its constant self. Walls began to have character, and I started to understand how I could adapt to this new season and grow as a climber and person. Again, the comparison to Christ was so clear. I needed to have patience to continue to work on the little foot slips and to not argue with where the Lord had placed me. There was a growing sense of transcendentalism in my relationship with climbing, and it was fueled by C.S. Lewis and getting to see those pretty little routes day in and day out.

Climbing is My Community

When looking for a college I had a few little details that I knew would seal the deal—and having a climbing wall was at the top of my list. It is a place to go when you just want to do something, where you can simply be with people, and a target for when I want to get my mind off of the frustrations of everything else and get frustrated at something that is just screwed into a wall minding its own business. Liberty’s rock wall has given me a sense of home and friendship on this campus. Through climbing at the wall, I’ve met a remarkable group of people that enjoy throwing on a pair of smelly shoes and supporting one another. There are a variety of people that come in and out of this tiny part of campus that have inspired me, challenged me, and given me so many new perspectives. At times I neglect my efforts to practice and improve my climbing, and I become fearful to return, afraid that I have lost too much and that I’ll disappoint myself when I come back after taking a month (or two) off. I had a moment at Liberty’s wall after one of these sabbaticals and realized that no matter how annoying it was that I was falling off V3’s I needed to assess myself if I was ever going to improve. Some days I put on a harness, and it feels like it’s my first time all over again. But, I never regret climbing, and there is always a takeaway—there is always a fear factor that gives me courage to push through the things that matter.

I could step into a climbing gym anywhere in the world and know that I will meet an incredible person and quickly make a connection. The first time I traveled out of the US was to climb with a crew in Morocco, and the sport allowed me to feel welcomed into the country. Hearing about other’s adventures gives me hope for the future after college because I know I will have my place on a wall wherever Christ takes me.

My relationship with rock climbing seemed to start out as an accident. We had passed by each other a few times, got familiar with seeing one another, and then became friends. I have experienced some of my scariest moments while climbing but also some of the greatest. The sport has allowed me to challenge myself in a holistic manner—to meet, love and be impressed by people unlike me, grow roots into drifting thoughts of Christ, and bring structure. Most inconveniences in life we avoid; we become trained to look for quick satisfaction and we’re constantly reminded that its now or never so buy it, spend it, eat it now. Climbing slows it all down. It entangles you into hours of working a problem, sitting on the benches at the wall talking beta with the people near you, and enjoying the days where you top out on the routes that you’ve spent weeks working.

I will always be appreciative for the inconvenience of rock climbing and how it has changed my life in a terrific callused-hand kind of way.

    The Benefits of Swimming

    January 30, 2020

    Written By Lindsey Johnson, Marketing Employee

    Swimming is a great way to work your entire body. Unlike other fitness regimens, swimming engages every muscle group and energy system. Did you know that an hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running?

    There are so many benefits that come from swimming regularly—let’s take a look at some of those and how you can start incorporating swimming into your routine, if you haven’t already!

      Swimming Works Your Entire Body

      Like mentioned earlier, swimming works your entire body. It increases your heart rate without adding stress to your body, tones your muscles, and builds strength and endurance. Some strokes you can use to add variety to your swimming workout are

      1. Breaststroke
      2. Backstroke
      3. Sidestroke
      4. Butterfly
      5. Freestyle

      Swimming Improves Coordination

      Swimming is proven to improve flexibility, range of motion, and functional strength in and out of the water. This leads to improved core strength, mobile stability in your joints, and enhanced motor skills. Who knew?

      Swimming May Help You Sleep Better at Night

      People suffering with insomnia reported both a boost in quality of life and sleep after engaging in regular aerobic exercise. Swimming is also meditative – it boosts endorphins that increase feelings of well-being. The rhythmic strokes and sound of the water make swimming extremely relaxing, and it has been shown that swimming produces the same relaxation responses as yoga.

      How do I get started?

      Check out our LaHaye Aquatic Center and the various events and lessons we have to offer. From there, start slow. You may even want to start your journey in the gym with strength training that works your muscles before you hit the water. If you’re totally new to swimming and are interested in taking swimming lessons, we have lessons available for Liberty students and community members. We have group, private, and partner lessons available for purchase. More information can be found on our website linked above!

      If you’re just getting started with an exercise program or if you’re looking to try something new, jump in the pool! Swimming has a host of benefits for your mind, body, and soul.

      10 Dorm Friendly Yoga Poses

      January 24, 2020

      Written By Crystal Conway, Yoga Instructor

      If you’re anything like me, attending a yoga class can, at times, be the highlight of your day. Knowing that a time is coming up for you to move dynamically, breathe deeply, and challenge yourself toward achieving poses is invigorating and can keep you coming back for more. Below are some of my favorite poses to do throughout the day when I just need a little extra mobility and stability in my life outside of the classroom. Feel free to practice these as a morning routine, study break, or pampering evening with your roommates to create more balance in your day.

        Thunderbolt (Vajrasana) with Arms Reaching

        Reaching your arms up overhead is great way to wake up in the morning! I recommend coming into kneeling pose where you sit on your heels with your knees bent underneath you. Then, you reach your arms up over head and lengthen the spine and arms. Inhale as you reach your arms up to the ceiling and exhale as you bring them back down. Try adding a side bend here with one arm reaching up and over your ear at a time. You can practice this first thing when you wake up before getting out of bed to get you energized for the day!

        Cat/Cow (Marjarvasana/Bitilasana)

        Cat and Cow pose is another great morning stretch or can be implemented any time of the day! Come onto your hands and knees into a tabletop position. Inhale as you dip your belly toward the floor turning your gaze upward and opening up your chest for the front of the room finding cow pose. Exhale as you press into the hands pulling the belly button in toward your spine as your back rounds and gaze goes toward your belly for cat pose. Continue moving with your breath for as many rounds as you would like.

        Downward Facing Dog (Adho Muhka Svanasana)

        You will need some space on the floor for this pose. A great way to get into downward facing dog is to go from a plank on your hands and feet to sending your hips up and back toward the wall behind you. You are working on keeping a downward slope from your tailbone to the crown of your head. Relax the ears by your biceps and breathe deeply. Work on lowering your heels toward the floor or press one heel down at a time pedaling through the feet. An inversion like this one improves blood circulation and helps release tension from muscles around the spine.

        Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

        Stand with your legs wide apart, front toes are facing the front of the room, and back toes are facing the side wall. Start to bend into the front knee working to create a 90-degree angle with the front leg. Arms are held out straight over the legs as you engage the core and breathe.

        Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

        Lizard pose is a great hip opener so here are some steps to take to find the pose at your desired stretch. Come into a low lunge bringing your hands on the floor to the inside of the front leg. If you would like to lower the back knee down, you can. Next, if you would like to lower your forearms to the mat you can do so as well. Whatever variation you take of this pose hold it to release tension at your hips while taking full breaths.

        Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)

        Boat pose is a great way to activate your core and find balance. Sitting down with your feet planted on the floor begin to reach your arms for the front of the room. Slowly lean back at an angle while keeping a proud chest. Lift and straighten one leg and then the other up into the air creating a “v” shape. You have the option to bend your knees here keeping your shins in line with the floor. Hold here and breathe and you will feel your core working as you stabilize the body.

        Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

        If your bed is up against a wall this is a great pose to do in your room on your bed. Sit as close as you can to the wall and lengthen your legs up straight on the wall as you lie down. Relax the eyes as you breathe allowing gravity to pull the blood flow from your lower extremities back to the heart for improved circulation.

        Rabbit Pose (Sasakasana)

        Rabbit pose is a great way to stretch your back and strengthen your abdomen. Come back into a kneeling pose and lower your forehead to the floor in front of your knees. Reach by your sides for your heels and lift your hips up to the ceiling as you come onto the top of your head. Breathe here and work on rounding the back to feel the stretch along your back and between the shoulder blades.

        Child’s Pose (Balasana)

        Starting in kneeling pose reach your arms on the floor in front of you and rest your head on the floor. Child’s pose is a great way to wing down from your day and check in with your breath and stress levels.

        Corpse Pose (Savasana)

        Lie on your back on your bed or the floor with your hands by your side palms face upward. Here, you may begin to slow down the breath as you deepen your inhales and exhales.

        Interested in yoga but don’t even know where to begin? Sign up for our free Fundamentals of Yoga workshop this Saturday, January 25 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. here.

        New Year. New Decade. New Opportunities.

        January 6, 2020

        Written By Katrina Burgess, Aquatics Coordinator

        It’s the year 2020! Here at Recreation Centers, we have been looking forward to a brand new year with all of you.

        With each yearly ball drop, people set new resolutions for the days ahead. Let’s think about how many of these “resolutions” are actually seen through the next year and how many have been achieved. You in fact, may have experienced how your new year resolution starts out strong in January, but fades once February or March comes along. I want to challenge you to see your goals through to the year 2021. I personally believe that less goals in specific areas of your life is key to behave consistently and create lasting personal growth throughout your everyday experiences.

        In order to create lasting goals, I follow Dave Ramsey’s goal setting principle.

        1. The goal must be specific

        2. The goal must be measurable

        3. The goal must have a time limit

        4. The goal must be yours

        5. The goal must be in writing

        These goals do not need to be year-long goals, they can also be short-term or long-term goals within different areas of your life. Below are the seven categories I like to review when setting my goals each quarter of the year.


          Career goals can be as simple as finding your true passion, landing a job that feels like a dream, growing within your current position, creating or updating your application resources (resume, LinkedIn, portfolio, etc) or obtaining a raise or promotion. Remember to look toward the future.


          Finance always has a wide range of obtainable goals. Have debt and need to pay it off? Create a short-term goal of a specific amount each month and a long-term goal of when you want it all to be paid off. Do you want to save an emergency fund? Maybe limit those Starbucks drinks you consistently pay for and save that cash instead. Remember that the goals must be determined by your own needs.


          Even at a Christian university, it may be hard to feel close to Christ. Maybe your spiritual goal will be consistently reading the Bible, doing devotions, tithing, or finding a community of likeminded people. Remember, be specific.


          I would love to know how many people have set the goal to have a six pack by Spring Break over the past 10 years. Hint, it’s honestly not very realistic! Remember to create long-term goals relating to your overall well-being, strength, or diet and focus on how you physically feel.


          Intellectual goals may involve educational or professional learning outcomes. Graduating this year? Wanting to make the Dean’s List? All these are goals you can write down, even if you’re sure you’ll achieve them! Remember to make sure these goals are measureable and planned for the upcoming semester.


            Setting family goals may be difficult for you, and that is 100% okay. Family goals may involve calling a parent on the weekends, spending time with a sibling who’s in Lynchburg, or prioritizing your spouse after work. Remember that every person is different and all goals will be relevant to you as your own person.


            Social aspects differ depending on which season of life you are in. Maybe it means to learn how to say “no” to things that make you feel overwhelmed, or start saying “yes” because you know you need a strong community of friends and support. Remember to live a balanced life.

            What are you waiting for? Go write down your goals!

            ‘Tis the Season

            December 19, 2019

            Written By Lindsey Johnson, Marketing Employee

            It’s almost Christmas, and you know what that means! Time with family, lots of good food, and traditions!  There’s something so magical about this time of the year, and it’s important to soak in every moment of it. Here are some tradition ideas to get you in the holiday spirit!

              Pick and Decorate a Christmas Tree

              This may seem like a no brainer, but this can be a great way for families to bond and spend time together while doing something fun. If you don’t want to deal with the upkeep of a real Christmas tree this year, getting an artificial tree and decorating it can be just as fun! If you don’t already have an artificial tree to pull out of storage, going to the store and looking “your tree” can be a lot of fun as well. Next step—put on your favorite Christmas music playlist and get to decorating!

              Start an Ornament Collection

              When it comes to ornaments, there’s something special about buying them throughout the year and anticipating the day you finally can put them on the tree. Whether you traveled, graduated, got married, adopted a pet—all are good excuses to buy or make a special ornament symbolizing that memory!

              If you are on a budget, a fun Christmas tradition would be going to a craft store or Walmart and picking out a few things to make your own Ornaments! This can be a fun challenge to do with anyone at any age.

              Pickle Tradition

              This tradition may not be for every family, but it is SO entertaining—especially if you have a few siblings. How it works:

              Sometime before Dec. 25, a glass pickle ornament is hidden within the branches of the Christmas tree. Then, the first person to find the pickle on Christmas morning gets something special. Each family has their own takes on what “something special is”. For some it could be a gift card, money, or opening the first gift. The fun part is you can make this tradition your own by creating your own rules.

              The goal of this tradition is to bond the family over something silly while also avoiding the mad rush to the presents on Christmas morning and appreciating each one. Here is an Amazon link to a pickle ornament one if you want to try out this tradition for yourselves!

              Have a Cookie Exchange Party

              A cookie exchange party can be fun with family or friends, and it’s super simple. Every guest brings their favorite holiday cookies to share with the rest of the party guests. If you’re gearing up for your next Christmas party and aren’t sure what to take, here are some fun Christmas cookie recipe ideas that are sure to bring some holiday cheer!

              Gingerbread House Making Contest

              With their gumdrop roofs and candy cane fences, a gingerbread house can create a magical moment in time. Gather the generations for a day of decorating fun, whether you start from scratch (plan a weekend for this) or use a kit. Either way, the merry is in the making when it comes to this family project! Here are some tips if you are wanting to make one from scratch:

              • Use royal icing. It makes a great “glue” and looks pretty, too.
              • Get creative with candy—incorporate your family’s favorites and enjoy your edible creation that much more!
                • Snow: shredded coconut, powdered sugar, or mini marshmallows
                • Windows: peppermint discs, Lifesaver candies, or thin red licorice rope
                • Fencing: candy canes, pretzel rods, or rice crispy treats
                • Roofing: waffle or wafer cookies

              And that’s it! Those are some of our favorite Christmas traditions. If you happen to try any of these for the first time, make sure you tag us in a photo on any of our social media platforms @lureccenters!

              Merry Christmas, everyone!

              Finding Rest Over Thanksgiving Break

              November 22, 2019

              Written By Samantha Schwab, Marketing Employee

              This semester has been flying by, and Thanksgiving break is already just around the corner. In the midst of the hustle of grinding for final exams, take this time to focus on you and nourish your mind and body by finding ways to rest! You deserve a well-earned break in the midst of the chaos that surrounds you in this season of prepping for the end of the semester.

              Here are 5 tips on ways you can find rest during Thanksgiving Break.


              When was the last time you went to your favorite coffee shop, found the coziest corner, and dug into that new book you’ve been waiting to read? Go spend some time with yourself! If coffee shops aren’t your thing then go drive to the nearest nature trail and spend some time walking and reflecting on your inner self. Or maybe you need a cliché spa day—so go put on a facemask and sit back while binging a new Netflix show.

              When life gets busy we tend to shove aside our much-needed self-care tasks in order to get done the more pressing tasks that consume our weeks. Find rest in self-care this holiday break.

                Don’t Over Plan!

                Plans, plans, plans! Planned obligations consume our weeks and keep us running from place to place. We keep our weeks busy during the semester, intentionally or not, so take this break to find rest in having no pressing and overwhelming obligations.

                Take time to do nothing (that’s still technically doing something, right?). This isn’t to say you can’t make plans at all, just don’t cram your schedule full of events and tasks and end up leaving yourself more restless than before! Find rest in the simplicity of break.


                You are on your way back to your hometown, and you are about to be surrounded by family and old friends who happen to be back for break as well. Alone time can be great, but there is something rejuvenating about spending time with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. Take time to be intentional with people you may not get to see often, invest deeply into them, and let them invest deeply into you!

                Old Hobbies

                How long has it been since you pulled out those acrylic paints and made a masterpiece that wasn’t for an assignment? When was the last time you pulled out that dusty guitar and learned a new song? What about the last time you practiced your 3-point shot in your driveway basketball hoop? Hobbies are so important in our lives! It is so great to accomplish something with no pressure or urgency. Working on something simply because you enjoy it can really refill your motivation tank. It’s hard to make time for your passions when obligations are around every corner. So, find some rest in the creativity of your hobbies this break!


                Last, but certainly not least, get some sleep! Honestly, this is probably the most important tip of all. If you’re a student three months deep into the semester and don’t have a crazy sleep schedule, then kudos to you. You are a rare breed! Many of us live off of four hours of sleep and a morning caffeine boost that barely keeps us going. But a solid, regular sleep schedule can be one of the biggest benefits to your energy, drive, and health. Use this break to reset your sleep schedule and prepare your mind and body for a rigorous finals week.

                Pro Tip: You should aim for 7 hours of solid sleep each night.

                It’s important to set aside time in order to put your mind and body first. Doing so will make for an overall happier and healthier you. I hope you find these ideas helpful and use them to find rest this upcoming break. Cheers to a happy Thanksgiving and a restful week!


                Preparation for Finals

                November 15, 2019

                Written By Alivia Chenoweth, Marketing Manager

                Finals week is approaching, which means stress! A lot of people struggle finding mental health balance during this time, and the motivation to do the final push through classes can be tough. Thankfully, there are 3 weeks until finals season which means there is plenty of time to prepare. Preparation is prevention, so let’s dive into the 5 ways that you can prepare for finals and make it into something positive.

                Make To Do Lists

                Organizing and prioritizing when you are going to study for each class can actually alleviate anxiety, according to Psychology Today.  Lists help combat avoidance and procrastination—they help organize your inner chaos, making your workload feel more manageable.

                  Back Off the Caffeine

                  Yep—you read that right. I just stated the unspeakable, and probably the opposite of what you think you should do during finals week. Caffeine is known to increase your alertness, but it also increases anxiety. Focus on limiting yourself to one to two cups a day instead of the normal five to six. You’ll end up sleeping better too and your body will thank you.

                  Don’t Neglect Healthy Eating Habits

                  It’s easy to reach for the snacks and foods that are quick and reliable when we don’t have time to make something healthy. Foods lacking in nutrients slow down your brain, making your body and mind more tired and struggling to focus.

                  Pro tip—grab some blueberries instead of that Kit Kat. Blueberries are high in antioxidants that boost brain power and memory.

                  Switch Up Your Space

                  Sitting in one room for too long, staring at the same book can actually cause your brain to become stale and stagnant. A change of pace and environment can trigger your brain to make new memory associations. For example, if you have been sitting in a dark room for a while, move to a seat near the windows. There is nothing a little Vitamin C can’t fix!

                  Take Breaks

                  This is so important and can’t be emphasized enough! It’s okay to step away for a few hours and let yourself recharge. One of the BEST ways to do this is to hit the gym and get your body moving! LaHaye Rec and Fit offers over 30 free Group Exercise and Group Ex Plus classes (at an additional cost) available to you to get your mind off of the anxiety and worries of the semester. On December 4-6 from 7–8 P.M., there will be a Candlelight Restorative Yoga Class (free for Group Ex Plus, $10 for non-members) that will blend several styles of yoga with aromatherapy to ease your body and mind in a stressful season.

                  Hopefully a few of these tips are helpful to you as you prepare yourself for finals week. The end of the semester has so many fun Christmas events going on for you to enjoy, and preparing early for finals will help you feel less stressed and more festive. Good luck!

                  5 Podcasts to Get You Through Your Workout

                  November 7, 2019

                  Written By Katrina Burgess, Aquatics Coordinator

                  The days are starting to get busy and the weather is getting cold—and let’s be honest, classes and work are beginning to fill the longest days we have seen all year. What better way to get through the day than with a podcast?

                  So let’s grab our earphones and begin the search for the best podcast for you. Here are 5 podcasts to make the whole week feel like the weekend.

                  1. The Ken Coleman Show

                  To start your podcast search off, here is my all-time favorite: The Ken Coleman Show. In each of the episodes within this podcast, the host, Ken Coleman (did anyone else guess that?), establishes the key points to become the person who you want to be in the place where you want to be. On the show, Ken takes calls from people all over the world and listens as they pour their confusion, frustration, and dreams onto his lap. The cool thing about Ken is that he never simply gives the answer to the question, but through the 35-45 minute episodes, he allows the caller with the question to answer their own question!

                  • If you are in the mood for professional life guidance – e.g. preparing for the perfect interview or how to recognize key producers within your field of study or interest, this is the podcast for you!
                  • If you are in the mood for personal life discussion – e.g. learning how your passions and natural talents can translate into your dream job, this is the podcast for you as well!

                  Also, if you’re into reading, Ken Coleman published a book called The Proximity Principle which is currently selling for just $11 on Amazon!

                  2. How I Built This with Guy Raz

                  The host, Guy Raz, engages in conversations with innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists to highlight the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. Have you ever heard of the Milk Bar or AirBnb? Good—because he has a few episodes where the journey behind these movements they built are discussed! Whether you love milk and cookies or tiny homes, you will love this podcast!

                  3. Borrowed Future

                  Put your hand up if you are currently experiencing college debt! Ladies and gentleman, this podcast was created for you whether you are experiencing debt or are totally debt-free. Between September 2019 and October 2019, Anthony O’Neal created his podcast and published his book Debt Free Degree ($14 on Amazon) with the goal to teach parents how to send their child to college completely debt-free. His podcast highlights the lies about student loans, the ways you can pay for college without debt, and how to decide if college is worth it. While you could send it on over to your parents, I believe this podcast is vital and educational for you as a student, too!

                  4. Spitballers Comedy Podcast

                  Alright, who enjoys a good dad-joke? The co-hosts of this show are award-winning dads filled with humor and the intention of making you laugh by answering the most difficult questions and engaging in ridiculous conversations. Each episode will give you 45 minutes to 1 hour of non-stop fun. *Pro-tip: you should never take their advice.

                  5. Jocko Podcast

                  If you enjoy serious topics on discipline and leadership, Jocko Willink will blow your mind. The Jocko Podcast releases 1-3 hour episodes each week to discuss the principles that form business, war, relationships, and everyday life. If you follow @jockowillink on Instagram, you will see that he consistently starts his day around 4:30am (Shout out to our  Recreation Centers morning shift employees!) Let this podcast encourage you, from the moment you open your eyes, to get work done!

                  If one of these podcasts interests your mind, start listening! If not, I encourage you to find one that challenges you to become productive with your talents, increases your mindfulness during all aspects of life, and benefits your professional development.

                  Outdoor Activities for every Enneagram type

                  November 6, 2019

                  Written by Maria Campanella

                  As I’m sure anyone who attends Liberty University has noticed, the Enneagram is a constant topic of discussion. For those of you that don’t know, it is a set of nine personality types and meant to help people understand themselves and others better. The Enneagram Institute has far more information on each type, the correlation between all the types, and how to determine what number you are. It can be beneficial in relationships, the workplace, and to know yourself better to help you grow as a person.

                  The outdoors are more appealing to some types rather than others, but I feel that the Outdoor Recreation department has something to offer every enneagram type. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what we do as a department and how you can utilize what we have available.


                  Type One – Ones have a very strong sense of right and wrong and strive for perfection. The Reformers are known for wanting to change the world, and they have goals and visions for how to make a difference. They are wise and discerning and, at their best, know what is best in every situation. Ones often like to have an escape and a way to “blow off steam” which is why I think that our trail races and trail running in general would be a beneficial thing for them to utilize at Hydaway. We have two races left this semester, the Valley View 5-miler and the Reindeer Run. We’ve also got two races set for the spring semester!

                  Type Two – Twos are the most generous and kind people you will meet. They are warm-hearted and driven to please others and love the people around them. They are titled The Helper because of their constant desire to help and love others. That being said, Hydaway can be a great escape and every two I have asked said that they just enjoy relaxing in and being in the presence of the outdoors, so the beach and lake would be a perfect relaxing escape for a two to soak in to the moment.

                  Type Three – Known as The Achiever, threes are competitively driven, and goal oriented.  They desire to impress others and to be admired. They are self-motivated and good at encouraging others. I think that threes have the potential to really enjoy our challenge course. The challenge course is very goal oriented and is a whole team activity. This would be a great time for a three to help encourage and motivate others on their team or in their workplace to do their best and achieve their goals as well.

                  Type Four – Type fours are individualistic, creative, and sensitive. They are known as The Individualist and like to have an identity different from everyone else. Fours appreciate beauty and their surroundings and tend to enjoy time to themselves to be alone with their emotions so Fours would really like our kayaks or paddleboards which provide time to themselves in nature and beauty – especially this time of year as nature begins to quiet. It gives a great opportunity to enjoy their surrounding and have time to think.


                  Type Five – The type five loves to learn. They are perceptive and innovative which is why they are titled The Investigator. The main desire of the five is to be competent and to be knowledgeable on useful things. Something that the investigator could definitely enjoy and find useful through our department is the NOLS Wilderness First Responder course. It happens every other spring semester, so it will be taking place this spring! It is a useful course that will provide you with an extreme amount of knowledge – learn more about what the course will teach you.



                  Type Six – The Loyalist; six’s are security oriented and stability craving. They are very trustworthy and loyal friends. They are worrisome and suspicious, so they crave reassurance and support. This tends to be found in people, once a six trusts and draws close to someone, they don’t let go easily. Sixes thrive in situations with people closest to them, so camping at Hydaway would be a fun way for them to relax and enjoy the company of those around them. They can also plan and prepare before they go, taking away worries they may have. If you are interested in renting a campsite, you can call the Outfitter (434-592-6284) to reserve a site.


                  Type Seven – Sevens are known for being outgoing, optimistic, and spontaneous. They enjoy trying new things and experiencing new activities and are commonly referred to as The Enthusiast. This is why one of our many trips would be something that a type seven would enjoy. We have a variety of off-site trips that go out each semester – caving, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing, white water rafting, and overnight camping. There are many experiences to choose from and they could have the opportunity to meet new people as well.


                  Type Eight – At their best, The Challengers have great, “go get ‘em” attitudes. They are passionate and take initiative on making important things happen. They have the power to effect change and gain followers in all they do. They can command attention and prompt people to feel what they are feeling. Something new to the Outdoor Recreation department is the Outdoor Club. This is an experience and opportunity for eights to make a change and affect the environment in a positive way and gives them leadership opportunities.  If you would be interested in helping us get the Outdoor Club going at Liberty, send us an email at outdoorrecreation@liberty.edu!


                  Type Nine – The Nine, also known as The Peacemaker, are easy-going, laid back, and supportive. They tend to see the positive side of things and all sides to each story. They have a calming presence and are go-with-the-flow kinds of people. As a Nine myself, I find that hammocking is my favorite thing to do at Hydaway. It is a peaceful and calming activity that pulls together those aspects of my personality and makes me feel at peace. Fellow nines, I would advise you try it!

                  Of course, this is general and will not be completely accurate for every person, but either way, Hydaway has so much to offer for people to enjoy. The Outdoor Recreation department strives to engage with all of the community by providing diverse experiences for everyone!  We hope to see you soon!


                  How to Hike Mindfully and Safely

                  October 3, 2019

                  Written By Hannah Gwaltney, Marketing Intern

                  Here at Liberty we are surrounded by beautiful mountains and students have the incredible opportunity to explore them on weekends. Whether you hike Cole Mountain, Sharp Top, McAfee’s Knob, or any other mountain, hiking is a great, fun outdoor workout. Before you begin your next hike, check out this list of do’s and don’ts. Hike mindfully and safely with these few tips!

                  Buddy system

                  Hiking alone provides a great opportunity to escape and unwind. However, if you are a beginner it is in your best interest to bring a friend or more. You will be less intimidated and lonely!

                  Look up the hike in advance

                  Know exactly what kind of hike you are starting before you drive there. This will allow you to look up the trail’s difficulty, distance, elevation, directions, water sources, and other important features.

                  Check the weather

                  Make sure you have clear weather the day of the hike (specifically no fog, rain, ice or snow). That will ensure you get the most of your hike in the best weather possible! Plus, it can protect you and your friends from getting stuck in faulty weather.

                  Wear the right shoes

                  Wear the most comfortable and broken-in sneakers or hiking boots you own. This choice is the most personal and should reflect how protective and supportive your shoes need to be for different terrains. This will successfully prevent blisters!

                  Pack lightly but smart

                  Pack the essentials (food, water, first aid kit, phone, flashlight, etc.). Do not over pack or you back will suffer! Just bring the essentials that will allow you to feel safe and secure in case of emergency!

                  Layer up

                  Bring a sweatshirt, because once you get to the top of the mountain, it may be several degrees colder than the bottom! You will never be too hot or too cold.

                  Time it right

                  No one likes to get to the top of Sharp Top or another mountain to find the view hidden by a large crowd. Make sure you time out your hike and find the least crowded time. Most often, morning hikes are less crowded than ones started later in the afternoon.

                  Take pictures

                  Bring a phone or camera! You will want to capture the view once you make it to the top!

                  If you are just starting out with your first hike, make sure to check out Outdoor Recreation’s Liberty Mountain Trail System. They offer great beginner and advanced trails that are perfect for all ages! Then, go off on your own exploration of the many mountains around us!