Genesee Community College Outdoor Adventure Club Camps Overnight in Zoar Valley

As many older adults may recall, valuable lessons about the world and finding your place within it often comes from experiences outside of a classroom. This is why the Student Activities Office at Genesee Community College boasts over 40 different student clubs and organizations this year.

It is also why twelve Genesee Community College students participated in the Outdoor Adventure Club’s overnight camping and hiking excursion this past weekend in Zoar Valley, located between Erie and Cattaraugus Counties along the Main and South Branches of Cattaraugus Creek. With sheer cliffs towering over 400 feet above the canyon floor and dozens of waterfalls, the awe-inspiring scenic beauty provided a true wilderness escape for the students, who come from a range of very different academic programs, as well as varied hometowns and countries. The twelve students who chose to experience this exciting weekend with the Outdoor Adventure Club included several international students as well. The full list of students who participated are:

• Ashley Wagner, a General Studies/Psychology student from Franklinville, NY
• Buddy Phipps, a General Studies student from Fairport, NY
• Chisato Yomoda, a General Studies student from Japan
• Gary King, a General Studies/Psychology student from West Islie, NY
• Jessie Pierce, a Theatre Arts student from Batavia, NY
• Minami Kinuta, a General Studies student from Japan
• Monique Little, a Nursing student from Brooklyn, NY
• Nathaniel Nachlis, a Human Services student from Rochester, NY
• Sarah Fox, a Math-Physics student from Delevan, NY
• Scott Fraser, a Theatre Tech student from Medina, NY
• Tony Ricci, a Pre-Med student from Lyndonville, NY
• Yoriko Miyajima, a Business Administration student from Japan

In addition to enjoying the scenic areas, students participated in activities such as a nature hike, wood chopping, meal preparation, flint knapping (making arrowheads and knives from stone), camp set up, and also removing garbage and debris from camp sites throughout the park. The group received a letter of commendation from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a thank-you for their efforts to clean up the sites.

Genesee’s Outdoor Adventure Club was formed in the Spring 2007 semester when a group of students expressed an interest in camping. The club has been meeting regularly twice a month with the purpose of becoming a fun way for members to relieve the stress of student life. Another goal is to give students from urban areas the opportunity to experience the outdoors firsthand. The recent trip to Zoar Valley was the club’s first overnight camping trip.

“I was very pleased with the turnout under the circumstances since the weather was very cold and rainy,” said Scott Fraser, Outdoor Adventure Club President. “I was also impressed with how everyone handled themselves and worked together as a team throughout the weekend.”

The club is currently in the planning stages for a winter camping trip. For more information, contact John McGowan, Career Program Coordinator and Outdoor Adventure Club Advisor, at 585-343-0055 x6383 or by email at

Editor’s Note: Several photographs of the Adventure Club’s Zoar Valley excursion are available at: Trash Clean Up.jpg