Friday, May 27, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-Term 2016: As The Journey Ends, Our Spirits Thrive

By Michael Gauldin

Today was the last leg of the Spirit of Adventure E-Term. We began the day at Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia with a sunrise yoga and meditation session at 6 AM. Seeing a group of twenty college students going from warriors to trees and then to cobras and pigeons was a sight to behold. With our muscles stretched, minds cleared, and not to mention, for those as inflexible as me, bodies sore, we moved along to a breakfast consisting a fresh picked fruits, vegetables, and other organic options. Following breakfast, we did Karma Yoga, which was a form of yoga that involves doing a service that helps others and makes them feel good also, in return, you gain peace. For our Karma Yoga, we helped clean yoga mats, garden, and spread mulch. After our last yoga session, we went to the Lotus Temple for a 30 minute meditation before heading back up to the vans to depart back to Ferrum.

As the journey ends for our Spirit of Adventure E-Term, we look back on what we have accomplished and how we’ve grown throughout the experience. I came in expecting both thrill and excitement to be accompanied with relaxation and peace and this E-Term came far from falling below expectation. From our activities such as, zip lining, rafting, and hiking to the peace of yoga and meditation, we each found a way to grow in our vocational and spiritual calling during this E-Term while acquiring friendships, peace, and excitement along the way. Although, it wasn’t always easy we still managed to learn and expand ourselves. Furthermore, as we leave for the summer, we all will be taking away different experiences that have made each of us grow differently but also in unity and with that, as the journey ends, our spirits thrive.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Interfaith Comparison

By Tyler Belcher

The Spirit of Adventure E-Term was a very exciting and interesting course. The course began by learning the roots of Ferrum College in the classroom. We learned how the college was established as a part of the United Methodist Church. We then learned more about the Methodist faith. This lead us to our first place of adventure, Lake Junaluska. Lake Junaluska is a beautiful place that is associated with the United Methodist. The World Methodist Museum is located there. The museum was filled with all kinds of interesting things from the past related to the Methodist faith. We also were able to experience different types of prayers and meditations there. The peacefulness of the lake really made a difference for everyone and helped contribute to our learning. During our stay at Lake Junaluska, we visited Cherokee. At Cherokee we were able to see how the Cherokee people lived both past and present, as well as learn their spiritual background. The speakers there stated how accepting the Cherokee are of all kinds of people and this relates to the Methodist faith. It was very interesting to see how the faiths relate to one another. 

The second half of our adventure led us to Washington D.C. During our stay at D.C. we visited Foundry Methodist Church. This church had several different beliefs than what most of our class had, but it was interesting to learn how things are done differently in different areas. We also attended several seminars and went on a nature hike along the Potomac River. Along the hike several of my classmates had to face some of their fears, whether it being the fear of snakes or the fear of heights, they still faced their fears and completed the hike. After the adventures around D.C. we traveled to Yogaville for the last two days of our E-Term. Several of us were skeptical of Yogaville, but we all decided to stay positive and be open minded. I personally did not agree with some of the practices that the people there followed, but I was respectful of their faiths. Although, their beliefs were different, they were still open to all beliefs no matter what it was. The people there are very respectful to everyone just like the Methodist and Cherokee.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: It’s Yoga Time

By Keith Ricks

Today was awesome; we started off with leaving the nation’s capital and it took almost 4 hours to arrive to Yogaville located in Buckingham, Virginia. My first take on this community was that everyone here was very open minded and free spirited, and I was right! After getting settled in we had orientation and it was long but informational. The instructor Shankari gave us everything we needed to know and she was very clear that this location is filled with vegetarians and shoes are not necessary. After the orientation we had a successful 2 hour long yoga session. In the session we were able to engage our spiritual and physical well-being. Even though it was very hot in the room the class still enjoyed the wonderful experience.

Dinner was not so appealing coming from nothing but a meat eater however, the salad was the best part. Trying out new things has been a wonderful experience but the only time I was able to truly connect with myself was during yoga. To wrap up a very interesting day, we had a lovely speaker who discussed health, wellness and spirituality and their connections. The class really seemed to enjoy it. The first day at Yogaville was eventful and we all look forward to this new opportunity to step outside our comfort zone and learn and experience new things.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: The Rocks, the River, and the Snakes

By Austin Winkles

May 24, 2016 - Today we took our adventure to Great Falls Park in Maryland. Here we met up with our guide, Beth Norcross the Founding Director of the Center for Spirituality in Nature. She took us on a nature hike through the woods on Billy Goat Trail B. Our walk began with a simple trail, and then began to follow the river. Once we could stop and sit, Beth has us do some spiritual exercises. The first spiritual exercise required the group to find a peaceful place near the trail, to sit, and to write down the things around that caught their attention. I wrote about the trees, and how the woods looked like a good place to climb a tree with my tree stand and hunt.

After the first exercise we continued down the trail. Then Sarah screamed when we came across the first of several snakes on our hike. This snake was a copperhead snake that was about a foot long. Seeing this snake really scared a lot of people, including myself. When I saw that particular snake my first instinct was to run the other way. I deal with a lot of copperheads back home, and I know they can be dangerous. I can usually get away with cutting them up with the lawnmower, but not this time. This time I had nowhere to go other than back the other way. Once I calmed down and gathered myself, with the help of the group, I conquered my fears and went past the snake. Only to find out there were three more snakes up ahead! These snakes were at a distance by the river lying on rocks, but I know that if I can see them they can see me.

Once we finished our trip through Billy Goat Trail B, we met up and went down the road to see what is known as Great Falls. This place, on the Potomac River, was beautiful, and I have never seen anything like it. Seeing the way the water flows, and how it hit the rocks was truly majestic. I am not a big fan of snakes, or climbing over rocks like goats, also I have hiked before, but nothing like today. The point of adventures is to try something new and to face our fears, so in the Spirit of Adventure we took on those challenges today.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Jerry Wolf and the Spirit of Adventure Tribe!!

By Brandon Bailey

May 24, 2016 - On May 15th we had the honor of going to a Cherokee Methodist church. We had the opportunity to talk to the most beloved man Jerry Wolf that gave us some really great stories about his childhood, his time at war, and a game that the Cherokee played called stick ball. Jerry said that when he was a child that he had to go to boarding school and it was in the 8th grade when he first heard about the war (WWII) and elected to enroll when he turned 18. During his time at war he was moved to a bunch of different duties and one of his first jobs was to teach the new navy members how to march properly. In addition, he fought at D-Day and was sent to Pearl Harbor.

Stick ball to Jerry was a very intense game and he told us a story about how a women came to him about trying to play back in 1999 and Jerry said, “Those women did not play easy it was one of the most aggressive games that he had ever seen”. This was a very great experience for all of us and helped us to understand the Cherokee. We also visited one of the oldest houses in the area. The small cabin housed the reverend and his family, 14 people total and it dated back to the 18th century.

After we talked to Jerry Wolf about his childhood and war memories we ate at a very good meal at Grandma’s Diner. We were greeted by the owner with open arms, and he actually treated us with a little bit of a discount which we all liked. All in all today was a very spiritual awakening for all of us; where we got to pray and give our blessings to one another and some of us shed tears but they were tears of joy and happiness. The Spirit of Adventure group is having a ton of fun and growing closer to one another, and we are looking forward to the rest of our adventures together.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: His Creation, Ours to Protect

By Anthony Konieczka

May 23, 2016 - Today the Spirit of Adventure e-term class woke up to go for a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Capital Building to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). This building is one of the oldest on Capital Hill built in 1913. The General Board of Church and Society overlooks the Capital Building and the Supreme Court Justice Building (which was actually built after 1913).

Once we arrived at the GBCS we had an interesting lecture and seminar about some hot button issues that relate to our course. Spirit of Adventure, as I am sure many of my fellow classmates have explained, is all about finding ourselves in our own vocation through the soul searching adventures that we are a part of. First up was Aimee Hong, the Director of United Methodist Seminar Programs, and Amber Feezor, the Seminar Designer, to talk about the Social Principles and the Natural World. Through a film and discussion we really focused in on how the Methodist church helps on the global and local levels in some of the most need based communities. The examples ranged from West Virginia coal miners and the environmental danger of coal mining is, to Kenya and the change from tobacco crops to chili plants to boost farmer profit, to the Congo where a pastor helped build and manage canals to move stagnant water and thus dropping malaria by 70%.

After the discussion Shantha Alonso, the Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries (CJM), came in to talk about what CJM is and what it does in the world around us. In short CJM protects, restores and serves Gods' works through four faith principles; justice, stewardship, sustainability and sufficiency. CJM is a collection of Christian religions that work together to help shape government policies. They have helped with legislation such as the Green Climate Fund which states that the U.S federal government has donated 3 billion dollars, and the Clean Power Plan which is a policy that will play a major role in energy conservation as our country moves toward renewable energy.

Our third and final seminar was on Climate Change with Rebecca "Reba" Elliot, the Executive Director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions in Northern VA. She really hit home with the shocking truth that climate change isn't just far off with the penguins and melting ice caps of the South Pole or in Nigeria where the desert grows by 40 miles each year. She showed us insight on how the increasing water levels are destroying homes in Miami due to the absorbing limestone rock that the city is built on. More importantly she taught us ways we can help, some of these ways we have already implemented in our Ferrum community with our energy saving contests. Just turning the AC down one notch helps!

After the seminar we ended with a great stroll through the beautiful Botanical Garden. I don't think I've ever witnessed so many gorgeous flowers and wildlife in one setting. This location housed every color, shape, texture and plant you could think of. It was truly a perfect gallery for all of God's artwork.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Moonlight Memorial Tour

By Andrew Todd

May 22, 2016 - Today as a class, we had the rare luxury of riding the trolley for our own tour of the Nation's Capital. Our tour guide Barry aka Slim B was not only very informative, but he brought a unique enthusiasm to the tour itself. We drove by the Capitol building, Washington Monument, the Holocaust Museum, and many other interesting sites around the city. We got out to get a better look at the FDR and MLK memorial sites. This was at dusk, so the dimming light brought an ominous effect around the area.

I know the class learned a lot from the tour, and the tour guide's unique expression added to the experience. Slim B offered unique facts like the significance of the number 38. A couple interesting facts are that the Korean War was fought on 38th parallel north formed which formed the border between North and South Korea and coincidentally lasted exactly 38 months. He offered a detailed analysis of the sites around the city. Many people have seen the Washington Monument and renowned sites around the city of DC, however, not many people know the stories behind the history of this great city. Our e-term class now knows a lot that we previously wouldn't have. Thank you Slim B for entertaining and informing our class during the Moonlight Memorial Tour.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Night at the Museum

By Brian Mcelwee

May 22, 2016 - Today we visited the American History Museum in Washington D.C. I was amazed at the size of the museum and by the amount of exhibits. When we first walked in we were greeted by a display of the current 2016 presidential race. In the display it had the history of past American presidential candidates and how much the voting process has changed. The walls of the lobby had a vast array of American pop culture references. As you keep walking you saw everything from past American technologies like the first lawn mower to the evolution of the skate board. We then took a left and entered the "History of Travel in America" which brought us to a large display of American locomotives. It was cool to see how far America’s transit system has come since the 1920s.

My favorite part of the museum were the two escalator rides up on the top floor called "America at War". It was a large exhibit with artifacts and history from all American war conflicts. The exhibit gave great justice to all of the sacrifices that past generations gave in order to protect the freedoms we have today. The most memorable part of the museum was the Vietnam War section. To me the Vietnam War was a forgotten conflict by America that many people don't understand. The men who served never had a welcome home party, so to see such an amazing exhibit with uniforms and weapons from that time period was truly awesome. It also gave great detail to how the war began and showed domestic events at home that took place during that time. Overall I would highly recommend the American History Museum to anyone and I would love to go back one day.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: We All Have Access to God’s Love

By Jayson Shurland

May 22, 2016 - I woke up this morning feeling great. Today was the day our class visited the Foundry United Methodist Church; Hillary Clinton also attends this church but she was absent. We all gathered in the lobby of the hotel at 10AM before we made our departure. Turned out that we had to walk about 25 minutes before we arrived at the church. On the way, we saw some homeless people so we handed out care packs, which contained personal hygiene items, snacks, and money.

Once the church was in sight, I was relieved because that meant it was time to stop walking but also amazed at the building. The church looked like a castle, which I thought was very cool. Walking into the church, I was taking in all of the beautiful things like the window paintings and the design. My church at home looks nothing like this one so the differences in this church were interesting. The service was nice; narrowing it down, the pastor said that no matter who you are, we all have access to God’s love. I agree with this because we are all equal in God’s eyes no matter our differences.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Classroom Adventures

By Jordan Brown

May 20, 2016 -
In The Spirit of Adventure E-term we have spent the last week or so having many extraordinary experiences. We visited and explored Lake Junaluska, we met the Cherokee people, and we studied the history of Ferrum College’s Methodist roots. We had many adventures at Lake Junaluska ranging from paddle boarding, high ropes courses, and white water rafting to crafting arrow heads and walking spiritual labyrinths but during all of these adventures we were always reading on our own and learning. This experiential learning that we accomplished is what makes class time so important because this time is to used tie together, review, and discuss all the things we have covered so far.

Today started off bright and early at 9AM with a session of yoga to give the class some time to relax and let loose before the classroom. Once we finished yoga, class began right after and we began to discuss our reading from the last couple days and made our preparations for the trip to DC that we will be undergoing on Saturday. Before breaking for lunch Dr Nicholson assigned some more reading to complete before returning to class at 1PM in Parker Palme’s Book Let Your Life Speak. We all showed up for class and completed the reading before Dr Nicholson arrived so we then took it upon ourselves to go ahead and break into small groups and present to our fellow classmates the sections that we were assigned to read which in all honesty went pretty well and by the time Dr Nicholson arrived to class we had all already become familiar with everyone else's material. While classroom time isn't quite the adventure as say, ziplining, that’s not to say that it wasn't enjoyable and meaningful.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Planting Seeds for Those in Need

By Keegan Howver

May 19, 2016 - An experience in our Spirit of Adventure e-term course was to help those who are less fortunate by spending our time working in the Giving Garden.  Our group helped out by pulling weeds, planting potatoes, watering greenhouse plants, and maintaining the health and growth of the tomato plants.  The group was at the Giving Garden providing our services for approximately an hour and a half. We learned that what we were planting and maintaining was distributed to those who are less fortunate and need healthy nutrients instead of spending the little money available on processed foods.

It is important to understand that no matter what situation you find yourself in, it is essential to look at the others in our community and find out how we can help those in need.  Today was a good example of not neglecting or losing sight of how there are others in our community struggling and they could use some help.  Our work on the garden today allowed me to have a sense of giving back to the community I have spent 4 years living in.  The importance of healthy food options for all families and people is what will keep the community healthy and thriving.  The group I worked with today was very happy to give back to the community and do our part to help those who are less fortunate. We practiced Ferrum’ s motto today, Not Self But Others, and it felt great.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Building Trust, One Obstacle at a Time

By Christopher Clarke 

May 16, 2016 - Today we were fortunate enough to experience zip lining as well as high and low ropes course obstacles. We began the day with a nice breakfast at Lake Junaluska and left around 8:30 a.m. with intentions to start zip lining at 10:00 a.m. Around that time we found out that we were a little lost. Luckily they were able to reschedule us to 1:00 p.m. We spent the next hour or so traveling back to our intended destination to start our outdoor adventure.

Once we arrived at Nantahala Outdoor Center, we had a quick lunch and made our way to the high ropes course. We were all fairly surprised once we saw how high the obstacle course was set up. The instructors gave us a quick rundown and then we were off. Each individual struggled once or twice and looked to other members of the group on how to complete the obstacles. With the courage from other classmates we were all able to accomplish everything we put our minds to. Without the trust of one another many of us would not have been able to complete most of the things we attempted. The strong bond of this E-Term group has allowed us to grow farther than just friends. In just one week we have been able to lean on one another while also looking to our professors for guidance and advice.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: The Spirit of Cherokee

By Matthew Shaw

Today we ventured into something that was new for all of us. We all drove to the Cherokee Indian Reservation and had a museum tour and listened to a speaker talk about how the Cherokees have lived throughout the years. We learned that the diseases from Europe killed 95% of American Indian people in the Americas from 1500-1650. After we walked around the museum and saw a bunch of the different artifacts, we went into the woods to see how these were made. We walked through the forest where the Indians had little huts set up to show the skills they use each day. At the end of the tour they showed us how the houses were made, and explained up to twelve people lived and worked as one.

Afterward, we all then took a trip back to the museum where two Indians took us outside and then explained to us how arrowheads were made. He said that it could take up to twenty years to have the skills to be able to craft a knife from flint. Then they broke off little pieces of the flint and gave them to everyone and that’s when we all had the chance to try and make our own arrowheads which was a great experience. The last part of our trip involved learning some of the dances that they did for spiritual and social reasons. This was very fun for all of us because it got everyone involved and we all ended up singing, dancing, walking around the class and having fun. Learning the culture of these Indians was very interesting, and one of the best experiences I believe we have been through. I would love to go back there and learn more about how they lived everyday life.

Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Lost in Cherokee

By: Katie Blundell

May 15, 2016 - In the Spirit of Adventure e-term we had the chance to explore the culture of the Cherokee Indian Tribe through a museum and village tour. The elders of this tribe stated that they have lived on these lands forever and that their creator gave them the land and their language. These people used flint stone to create arrow heads for war and for hunting. While exploring this beautiful culture we made our own arrow heads out of flint by striking it with another rock. The Cherokee Indians used traps to capture their food, the traps ranged in size for bears, rabbits, and fish. All of the villages of these people were on the west side of the river.

In 900 AD-1600 AD the Cherokee people started to grow corn, beans, squash, gourds, and tobacco. The tobacco was not used for recreational use but instead for prayer ceremonies. Each town had a peace chief, war chief, the uku- spiritual leader, and the clan mother. This tribe had laws against selling their land and they were not allowed to marry someone in their own clan. Today there are 315,000 citizens in the Cherokee community and 10,000 live in Cherokee, NC on the reservation. While on this e-term we participated in traditional animal dances and also a friendship dance with the Cherokee natives.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone

By Micaela Reddick

Today we went white water rafting and it was so amazing. We went around ten in the morning and experienced fifty-degree cold water but nevertheless we enjoyed every minute of it. While water rafting we worked as a team by paddling together in order to keep the raft headed down the course. The water rafting was such a good bonding experience, I got the chance to bond with people who I never thought had the same interests as me. During the water rafting, it was so peaceful and quiet. The sound of the water flowing was very serene and relaxing.

I was a little nervous trying something so different. I have had such a wonderful experience with trying different activities that involve water and nature. I’ve felt safe with life jackets and/or a swimsuit that prevented bacteria or creatures from touching my body. I also have kept bug spray with me wherever I go. The nature and spiritual feeling during this E-term has taught me to let go and just enjoy life for what it is, which is beautiful. I recommend everyone taking this E-term and explore adventures out of your comfort zone.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Jesus Walked on Water - I Can't Stand on a Board

By Lacey Fralin

May 12, 2016 - On the third day of the Spirit of Adventure e-term, May 12th, we started our day with some outdoor yoga on the second floor patio. Personally, I participated in gymnastics from an early age and danced from age 8-18 years old. That experience made it easier for me to do some of the poses because yoga is a lot of flexibility and balance. After that, we walked to the World Methodist Museum where we learned about John Wesley’s childhood and life: the Wesley family belonged to The Church of England, John Wesley wrote a book called Natural Physick about his natural cures and John was 15th of Susannah Wesley’s 19 children whom she held to a strict regimen of rules that in the modern day would seem extreme.

This afternoon, we put on our swimsuits and plenty of sunscreen and got a lesson in paddle boarding. We paddled out on our knees and when we felt secure or comfortable enough, we could try standing up. I fell as soon as I attempted to stand. The people at the fitness center also brought out some white-water kayaks that we could use to go out on the lake. This little boat was much easier to maneuver and I liked it much better because I could go fast. I even started chasing a duck and was gaining on him. Photographers wanted pictures of young people having clean fun on the lake and I guess Ferrum students fit their advertising needs. Lake Junaluska is beautiful, let's help show it off.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: The Waters of Friendship

By Kaitlin Yachem 

May 12, 2016 - Today was the first official day on our E-Term adventure. We woke up to a great breakfast made by the cooking staff of the Lambuth Inn. With smiling faces and full bellies, we ventured on to the terrace and did morning yoga. It was an amazing sight to see twenty trees on one porch. Once everyone was centered and stretched, we headed to the World Methodist Museum. This is the home to many artifacts from beginning to modern day Methodism. The museum mainly focuses on John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and how his beliefs and life intertwined into the history of the Methodist religion. After we finished the museum scavenger hunt we headed back to the hotel to get changed for paddle boarding.

Paddle boarding and kayaking was an experience we will never forget, between the pet lake snake and learning how not fall off of the foam board they said was “stable”. For most of the class this was their first experience paddle boarding and kayaking. So, it was a great chance to live out our title, Spirit of Adventure, and have a spirit for adventure. We were told to find inspirational or motivational quotes for this week’s trip, and the one I came across fit this adventure. Since, for many these were new experiences, I believe this quote would come in handy when talking oneself into something both terrifyingly wonderful, “I do not regret the things I’ve done. I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance,” Unknown. Our class fully embraced this quote because everyone tried both paddle boarding and kayaking, without blinking an eye. After everyone ate dinner and rested from a long day in the sun, we gathered as a group and began to grow closer as friends. God has a unique way to bring people together, and our story began in the water.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Rest Stop Detox

By Jessica Turner

Rest Stop Detox
Today in the Spirit of Adventure we traveled to Lake Junaluska for the first adventure of this Eterm. Lake Junaluska is a Methodist retreat center and is the gathering place for the Southeast Jurisdictional Conference for the Methodist Church, which meets every four years.  This morning we woke up bright and early to leave Ferrum College at 7am.  On the trip we stopped at a rest stop to stretch our legs.  Some people were throwing the football while others stood outside of the van and talked with each other.  Before we got back in the van we found a grassy patch where Dr. Hardwicke led us in our first yoga lesson.  I found this very relaxing because sitting in a cramped van for 4 hours can be very stressful.  Even though the van ride was long it was a good time to get to know some of the other people on the trip that I did not know as well.
Once we got to Lake Junaluska we had our first discussion on the reading we did last night.  We talked about the Methodist’s view of nature and what we thought about out of their beliefs.  Dr. Hardwicke asked us to summarize the reading and basically what we took away from this was that God created the world that we live in, so we need to do our part to take care of it.  This passage we read fit very well with our trip to Lake Junaluska because we are going to be in nature the whole trip.  We will be meditating in order to get in touch with ourselves and the world around us.  We were also asked to write journals to reflect on the day and our feelings.  We are all very excited to try paddle boarding, white water rafting, zip lining and visit the Cherokee reservation in days to come.