Thursday, December 11, 2014

Last Trips of the Semester - Cooking, Caving, and Hospitality House


This rescheduled cooking trip took place in the Mountain Alliance classroom and involved some creative cooking! Students used blenders, toaster ovens, and more to create some unique dishes including vegan blondies, pizza, and falafel. Some of their recipes were more successful than others, but "James never gave up!" said sophomore Julia Moretz. "Even if things went wrong, he just kept trying!" When asked about her favorite recipes, Julia said, "I really liked the falafel, even though a lot of other people didn't like it. I thought it was good!"


Our second caving trip of the year and the second to last trip of the semester travelled to Bluff City, TN to explore Worley's Cave. Traveling through places like the Ballroom, Leroy's room, the Egg Room, the Fairy Ballroom, and more, this group of explorers took advantage of a ton of what the cave has to offer. When expert caver, junior Hattie Cox, was asked what her favorite part was, she said it was all of it! "Caving is fun," Hattie said. "We went out a different way than usual, out through the river." There was a part of the river that got deep before they reached the exit. "We went swimming!" joked Hattie.

Hospitality House

Finishing off with the classic Hospitality House trip, 6 students traveled just down the road to do some great service. Before leaving for the Hospitality House to serve in the kitchen, the group did an activity and held a discussion based on the issue of homelessness. "It was sad to know that it was the last trip," said Julia Moretz. "I thought the discussion we had before we went was really cool. It helped me think about what it would be like [to not have a home] and how difficult it would be. It made you appreciate everything you have." When asked about one of the more memorable things about the trip other than the discussion she said with a laugh, "No one wanted the applesauce we were serving! We kept asking and no one wanted it!"

Thanks for a fantastic semester and a special thank you to all of the students that helped make the blog happen. We appreciate all of your efforts and we'll see everyone in the spring for some more adventures!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Leadership Workshops, Zumba, Caving, and Cooking

Leadership Workshop 

by Isaac Maling

We had a great time; we played some cool games and had a few exciting activities. I learned about many of the traits of good leadership as well as about different types of personalities. The people who coordinated the event were college students from ASU and they did a great job. Probably the games we played were the most memorable; I had never played any of them before, so it was a good experience.


by Megan Gottfried

I was nervous to dance at first but after seeing Eric's creative dance moves I was more comfortable and was able to dance. The group danced and then hung out in the breaks. It was a great trip. I learned that zumba is super fun. The most memorable part of the trip was everyone's funny dance moves. I made new friends and had a great time.


by Maria Goebeler

Before Caving
After Caving

I had a great time exploring and getting muddy. I learned about stalagmites and stalactites and about what the cave is made of. The most memorable thing from the trip was swimming in the river. I met some biology majors from ASU and I accomplished my goal of helping someone :D The trip was fantastic.

Thanksgiving Cooking


For the first time on our blog, we've added a video to tell you all about this trip! Watch the video above to see all of the delicious food we made on this Thanksgiving themed cooking trip.

LIFT Retreat 

by Lucy Edy

The LIFT retreat is one of my favorite trips each year, because we get to do a lot of really cool stuff, get out of town for a weekend, and basically have a giant slumber party. This year we got to go to Charlotte, where we did service, heard from some cool female leaders, talked a lot about feminism and what it is like to be a girl in high school, and even went to an art crawl! 
Everyone all dressed up for the Art Crawl

We learned a lot about poverty in Charlotte, including the fact that in 2012-2013, 4770 homeless children were enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. That alarming statistic is similar to those of many other towns, and we got to do service at a place called "The Free Store" that is trying to lower that statistic. They help provide people with anything they need to survive - clothes, dishes, furniture, and even sometimes rent money - in order to stop the homelessness epidemic. We learned a lot about feminism by watching a documentary called "Miss Representation." It was really interesting and inspiring. 

I think the most memorable thing from our trip was helping out at the free store. Getting to help people face to face, and see them smile with gratitude when you found them the right size coat was just amazing. There were whole families that were shopping in the free store. It was heartwarming to see little kids get really excited about a new shirt that they had just found or go running to their parents with something and not having to hear that they couldn't have that warm coat because it cost too much. 

We met a woman named Elizabeth Mckee, who runs a program similar to Mountain Alliance, but for adults. She helps people learn leadership skills that help them in life. She was a really cool person with a strong personality and we had a nice discussion with her. We also met a woman named Stacy who worked at the Free Store who was so excited to see us and who was really enthusiastic about her work. She taught us a lot about what the Free Store does and why it's important. I think her energy and excitement about having us there put a smile on everyone's face. I didn't really have any specific goals, but I did feel really accomplished after working at the free store.

LIFT Cooking, Humane Society, MA Extreme Challenge, and Hospitality House

LIFT Cooking

This all girls cooking trip focused on recipes that could be made without using a stove top or an oven. We made 6 different recipes! Those recipes include Golden Truffle Oreos, Cookies and Cream Popcorn, Belgian Waffles, 5-layer Mexican Dip, Copy Cat Frosty's, and Apple Caramel Snickers Salad. The girls rocked the recipes and enjoyed a smorgasbord of delicious treats! "I really liked making the 5-layer dip," said junior Hattie Cox. Even though she didn't end up eating it, she helped make sure that it looked beautiful before others dug in. "My favorite part was that we got to bond while we cooked!" said junior Megan Gottfried.

Humane Society

About a dozen students traveled to the Humane Society for some service and play time with puppies. "It was a fun trip," said senior Paul Wellborn. "We swept and moped the floor, cleaned and filled the bird feeder, put things in boxes, and picked up trash on the outside of the place. And played with a dog." After working hard, the group was rewarded by getting to play with some cute animals.

MA Extreme Challenge

The age old tale of the hound vs the hares. The chasers vs the runners. The first ever Mountain Alliance Extreme Challenge took place on a gorgeous day in downtown Boone and on ASU's campus. The hares (Jessie and Rachel) laid down a path full of tasks, challenges, and riddles that the hounds had to follow in order to catch them. The students and remainder of the staff chased down Jessie and Rachel with relentless determination and enthusiasm. They came close to catching the hares several times and kept them on their toes for the whole day! Congratulations to a unstoppable group of hounds!

Hospitality House

A group of 10 students and staff made their way over to the Hospitality House to serve in the kitchen and help out around the organization. The group had a lot of fun and did some great service. "My favorite part was getting to serve and see all of the different people at the Hospitality House," said sophomore Julia Moretz. Julia said she didn't really get to meet any of the people, but that staff member Eric Johnston got to sit down at a table with an older woman and talk to her/ get to know her over dinner.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


This year's Climbathon was a blast! "We raised a total of $6000, and had a lot of fun," said junior Lucy Edy. "Since it was the day before Halloween, we had a costume contest!" There was also a raffle, flag decorating (the flags will be strung together and put up in the Mountain Alliance room), food, music with Julia Moretz aka "Jazzy J" as DJ , and games like balloon stomp and corn hole.

Sophomore Julia Moretz kept energy high as a fantastic DJ and prompted the most memorable moment for Lucy and for junior Summer Lewis. "The most memorable thing about the trip was our hip bump line that had 8 people in it," said Summer - as they all jammed out to some great music! "Even though we didn't reach our goal, we had fun and can continue our awesome, cost free trips that most people are not given the opportunity to experience," said Summer.

Lucy's most memorable moment from the event was getting to climb the tower with fellow junior Emma Gummerson while the song "Defying Gravity" played in the background. "Emma and I won best duo for being Elphaba and Galinda from the musical Wicked (I was Elphaba). The music started when we started climbing, I reached the top, and the song ended right as I hit the ground. It was epic." 

The event was run by ASU Program Planning students Chris Moore, Jake Filipkowski, and Drew Mercer. They did an amazing job and the event was a great success! Thank you to everyone who donated time and money to making Climbathon awesome!

Outdoor Photography Series

Day 1 Principles/ Elements of Design

The first day was our introduction to photography. We talked about some of the elements that make up a photograph and how they can make a photograph more or less appealing. Some of these elements include line, shape, color, texture, and contrast. After a mini lesson, the group went to the Greenway to start shooting. "l learned about lines directions and value in pictures," said senior Alyssa Quinn. "I got to learn about photography in a different way."

Day 2 Aperture/ Depth of Field

On the second day, students learned about how aperture and depth of field can change the impact of a photograph. Do you want everything in focus or just one part? How can you tell people what to look at without using words. Rough Ridge was the outdoor destination for Day 2. Students were able to get a few shots in before a rain storm chased us back to Boone. During the extra time that would have been spent shooting, students got to practice critiquing and talking about photographs.

Day 3 Shutter Speed/ Stop Action

Special guest and local professional photographer Lynn Willis joined us on Day 3 to talk about stop action and shutter speed. Lynn does a lot of work with outdoor adventure photography and offered great insight to the group. After brief lesson in stop action photography, we went to Rocky Knob and had bikers ride the pump track while students got to practice capturing motion in their photographs. Thanks to all of our models: ASU professor Kristian Jackson and his sons, staff member Hayley Upton, and student Sequoyah Wildwyn-Dechter.

Day 4 Lighting and Artist Statements

Lighting and Artist Statements were the priority for the last day of the photography series. Each student had to write an artist statement that would be displayed along with their photograph at the photo exhibit at the end of the series. We talked about what makes a good artist statement and the types of things to include in one. The lighting lesson covered the various lighting available throughout a day (sunrise/ sunset, golden hour, twilight, etc) as well as different lighting situations that might occur (overcast, storms, rainbows, etc). A trip out to Moses Cone led to photos of a double rainbow, rolling down hills, and some great golden hour and sunset photos.

Photo Exhibit at the Jones House

Each student got to choose one of their photographs to display in the Jones House for the month of November. The opening of the exhibit corresponded with the November 7th Art Crawl and we had a number of visitors who were impressed with the students' work! Stop by the Jones House to see all of the chosen photographs on display.