Hydaway’s 10th Anniversary: Liberty celebrates a decade of fun

A Festival of Lights celebration will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Hydaway Outdoor Center Friday, Sept. 15. Campus Recreation hopes to make it a night to remember where students will be able to kayak after dark, use the slide, make s’mores on the beach and more.

Katy Clay, assistant director of Outdoor Adventure, described what students can expect the celebration to look like. 

“So, we’re talking floating lanterns on the water — not the air — where you’ll get to decorate your own and send it out when we launch,” Clay said. “We’ll have light food; we’re thinking a cookie bar, … coffee, cocoa, that kind of thing.” 

Hydaway was originally designed to give students more outdoor activities to do off campus. The acreage was purchased from Thomas Road Baptist Church in 2013, but today, Hydaway has more for students to enjoy. 

Photograph by Ross Kohl

“We can now offer them various rentals, and they can play bocce ball or pickleball at our facility. They can use the trails for walking, biking, running, hiking or whatever,” Clay said. “They can come experience three different kinds of boats for free on the lake or they can take them off-site and rent them. … We just kept going with that goal and dream.” 

Clay said Hydaway allows students to come together to try new things and form new relationships.

“It’s a safe outdoor space where they can still try new things, but there’s still the safe Liberty aspect. … It also provides (students the option to ask), ‘Hey, what are you doing tonight? Want to go hang out on the beach?’ How many campuses have a beach to go hang out at?” 

Photo by KJ Jugar

Campus Recreation has plans in the making for Hydaway, too. The lake expansion — an in-progress construction project — will quadruple the lake’s current size, making it leap from 6 acres to 36 acres. Although a deadline has yet to be set for the completion of the project, students can look forward to seeing more lake space and future activities. 

Student Rylee Tanner said that Hydaway is one of her favorite places to hang out with her friends. 

“My friends and I always go to Hydaway in the springtime to tan.It’s one of our favorite things to do as it gets warmer again,” Tanner said. “But I also like Hydaway because it has so many options. I mean, if you like water stuff, you can paddleboard. If you like cooking, you can barbecue. It just has something for everyone.” 

This free event will run from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. For more information on Hydaway’s 10-year anniversary celebration, go to Campus Recreation’s website or Instagram.

Napier is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X

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