PLATTSBURGH — Seton Catholic Central School is encouraging students to get off the couch and join their peers on scenic excursions.
In an effort to involve more kids in outdoor activities, avid hiker Shawn Turner has created the Outdoor Experience Program, giving the school’s middle- and high-school students the opportunity to take part in some of the area’s popular recreational activities, including hiking and rock climbing.
“It was sort of a way that I thought we could reach out to some of the kids who don’t, perhaps, play on a sports team but would like to become active, would like to explore the area,” said Turner, who teaches social studies at Seton Catholic.
The program, founded this school year, offered its first adventure on Columbus Day with a hiking trip to Mount Jo in North Elba.
Turner was encouraged by not only the number of students who signed up but also by who participated.
“I ended up getting a lot of kids that I wouldn’t normally perceive as being kids who would want to go on a 2-mile walk up a mountain, which is perfect because that was my goal in the first place,” he said.
In total, 28 students went on the trip, all of whom reached the top of the nearly 700-foot peak.
“Everybody made it up with a reasonable amount of effort,” Turner said.
“And the view once you’re up there is great,” said 10th-grader Kelli Ryan, who participated in the hike.
Turner, who has climbed 42 of the Adirondack’s 46 High Peaks, also used the trip as an opportunity to educate students about some of the surrounding geography.
“I’m actually trying to build a little army of students who can come and finish my 46 (High Peaks) with me,” he said.