Kentucky Outdoor Institute – Asbury University
Shapemaximize playTriangle
Watch The College Tour
Contact Us

Kentucky Outdoor Institute

The Kentucky Outdoor Institute (KOI) at Asbury University offers programming for the public and Asbury community, with the purpose of growing individuals and teams in and through outdoor and adventure experiences.

Operating as an academic major and minor for students at Asbury and an instructional outfitter for the public, KOI’s primary goal is to educate. Whether guests want to learn to be a better rock climber or lead their organization to success, KOI’s fully customizable programs fit every need and skill level. 

The adventure education technique uses an experiential learning approach — indoors or outdoors — that puts individuals and groups into situations with uncertain outcomes that allow them to struggle with problems, engage creative solutions and use trial and error.

Public Programming

Challenge Course

KOI has the longest operating challenge course and teambuilding program in Kentucky. Asbury’s Challenge Course — which includes low and high rope options —  can be booked for teambuilding, leadership development and group dynamics training. Since its inception in 1992, the course has served more than 75,000 participants using adventure activities to promote experiential learning with custom off-site offerings for non-profits, school groups and organizations.

Go to Challenge Course

High Adventure

Want to get outside and not just be “guided,” but have an opportunity to learn skills you can apply later? KOI is the place to tailor outdoor adventure programs of all sorts. KOI’s certifications and insurance allow for backcountry programming, canoe trips or any other adventure in Central Kentucky and beyond. On these trips, you'll learn practical skills as you rock climb indoors or outdoors, try out caving, enjoy a day hike, rappel in the Red River Gorge, relax in a hammock, experience an overnight paddling trip or go backpacking in Colorado!

Go to High Adventure

Unique Programming for Asbury Students


Archways is a multi-day adventure experience for anyone new to the Asbury community, transitioning seamlessly into new student orientation and Welcome Weekend. Archways focuses on relationships with God and your new community through mental, spiritual and emotional preparation for entrance into university life.

Adventure Education and Leadership (AEL)

Adventure Education and Leadership (AEL) is an academic major and minor at Asbury University. This program is at the heart of the KOI and its mission to grow people IN and THROUGH adventure education. Students interested in working in the outdoor or adventure world will benefit from this program. 

With areas of concentration in Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare, Environmental Studies, and Outdoor Ministry and Discipleship, students can take learning in many different directions.  However, many students choose this program because of its reputation in leadership development.

Leadership, judgement, and problem solving skills are qualities that translate into any career field! AEL majors or minors all participate in Asbury’s Faith-based, Integrative, Experiential, Leadership Development (F.I.E.L.D.) Semester. This immersive program cultivates solid leadership skills and includes backcountry experience, certification training, and learning hands-on technical skills in a variety of settings and locations.

Co-Curricular Activities

Largely operated by AEL students, KOI offers opportunities for students outside of our academic area to participate in educationally recreational outings such as canoeing trips, rock climbing, backpacking, caving, and time on our challenge course. Additionally, AEL operates an indoor rock-climbing gym in Asbury’s Luce Physical Activities Center.


“Asbury provided a solid foundation for my current ministry journey as the Outdoor Education Director at a Bible camp in Wisconsin, empowering me to create impactful camp programs that inspire campers to grow spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.”

Hannah Burkhart ’17
Equine Studies & Outdoor Adventure Leadership

Contact the Kentucky Outdoor Institute
(859) 858-5891