Asbury Announces Kentucky Outdoor Institute – Asbury University
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Asbury Announces Kentucky Outdoor Institute

Programming offers customized adventure with a focus on education to students and the public

April 1, 2024

Offering programming for the public and Asbury community, the Kentucky Outdoor Institute (KOI) at Asbury University is an educational enterprise focused on growing individuals and teams in and through outdoor and adventure experiences. KOI tailors group and individual outdoor and adventure programs in a variety of settings in Central Kentucky and beyond, including rock climbing indoors or out, caving, day hiking, rappelling, hammock camping, overnight paddling trips, and backpacking. On April 9 at 1 p.m. outside the Asbury University Rader Student Center, KOI will share a presentation and games, canoe trailers, a mock camp, and a rappelling demonstration.

“Going outside and soaking up the created world is a great way to challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zones,” said Kentucky Outdoor Institute Director and Assistant Professor Trent Ellsworth. “Our leaders can teach you how to become more effective with activities in different environments through this educational experience. Through the outdoors, we can become more connected with God.”

Operating an academic major and minor in Adventure Education and Leadership (AEL) 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 better rock climbers or lead their organizations to success, KOI’s fully customizable programs fit every need and skill level. KOI is certified and insured for backcountry and adventure programming.

The adventure education technique uses an experiential approach — indoors or outdoors — that puts individuals and groups into situations with uncertain outcomes that allow them to struggle with problems, engage creative solutions, use trial and error, and learn by doing. With areas of concentration in Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare, Environmental Studies, and Outdoor Ministry and Discipleship, AEL students can take their learning to the next level. However, many students choose this program because of its proven reputation for leadership development. 

Brett Ballinger ’19 serves as Assistant Director of Southern Adventures at Georgia Southern University. He shares: “The Asbury Adventure Education & Leadership program equipped me in hard outdoor skills that I use often, but what I use most in my daily work are leadership skills to run and manage a large program. This position allows me to lead and develop others using my passion for the outdoors that I gained through Asbury’s program.”

To learn more about KOI, visit