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May 23, 2019

Asbury University faculty and staff are excitedly preparing to welcome the Surrendered Class of 2023 this August!

At Asbury, all incoming students take part in a fun and informative Welcome Week program before classes begin. And for the last 20 years, incoming students have also had the option to participate in Archways, a pre-orientation adventure trip held prior to Welcome Week.

This year’s Archways will run from August 8-13. Register here!

Led by Director of the Center for Adventure Leadership Trent Ellsworth ’03 and Adventure Program Coordinator Varee Vetters ’15, Archways helps build incoming students’ confidence before they enter college. Within the program, they’ll experience profound spiritual, mental and emotional growth as well as meet new people.

Taking place in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Archways includes activities such as backpacking, caving, rappelling, canoeing, hiking and worship under the stars.

Archways 2019 will feature several new elements in honor of its 20th anniversary. According to Ellsworth, these new additions will include more activities, like caving, than in previous years. The group will visit the Red River Gorge and explore several other parts of the forest over the course of six days.

“We want to still keep the essence of Archways, which is about really helping people build community as they transition into Asbury and helping people grow in their relationship with the Lord, ideally in being out in the created world,” Ellsworth said.

Though Archways is an adventure trip, it’s open to students of all majors. No previous backpacking experience is required, as students will learn a plethora of adventure skills during the course of the trip.

Students have the unique opportunity to get to know some of their fellow Surrendered class members before classes begin.

“Archways was an amazing opportunity to connect with other new students and form relationships before the craziness of classes and Welcome Week began,” Haleigh Davis ’20 said. “Even today, more than three years later, I feel like I can walk up to anyone that participated in Archways and reconnect with them on a personal level.”

Incoming students not only get to know their classmates during the trip, but also student leaders and Asbury staff members.

“We see some good mentorship relationships come out of it,” Ellsworth said. “We really try to train our student leaders to do a really good job pouring into them, but also to know that they need to continue those relationships beyond the trip, have lunch with them throughout the semester and those types of things.”

Throughout the week, students will engage in daily devotionals and grow spiritually through worship time. Devotional content focuses on the concept of liminality, as students find themselves in the in-between of high school and college.

“It’s a transition time,” Ellsworth said. “We try to really lean into that. Those are perfect times for growth to happen for people. We see absolute increases in self-confidence. We see an ability to rely on peers and friends. We see really good genuine friendships come out of it. I think a lot of that confidence comes from the positive relationships that they’re able to build.”

The total cost of the program is $350. Sign up by registering here. For more information, contact Vetters at (859) 858-3511 x2491.

Learn more about Archways at Asbury University.