Montreat College’s Outdoor Education program successfully completed its 40th annual Discovery Wilderness Expedition this past week when seven Montreat students finished the three-week long expedition, running down Appalachian Way to a finish line outside Montreat College’s Bell Library. Following the completion of the expedition, a banquet was held honoring this year’s participants and past instructors.
“It’s a special accomplishment when any of our students complete Discovery,” said Montreat Outdoor Education Program Chair Brad Daniel. “But this being the 40th expedition, it’s particularly special. Considering the history and all the students who have completed this program, this is a big milestone.”
First launched in 1976, the Discovery Wilderness Expedition is an annual trip in which groups of 5-10 participants backpack, climb, canoe, and “do a solo” in the backcountry of Western North Carolina. The expedition offers opportunities for solitude, adventure, cooperation, teamwork, character-building, and interacting with the natural world. Daily life is reduced to the basics of eating, sleeping, and working together to travel from one destination to another. Through challenging experiences, students are encouraged to make self-discoveries that are basic to self-esteem, self-confidence, and an insight into the qualities of their own being.
“Discovery is all about mental, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional growth, and the spiritual growth/discipleship aspect is integral to the program,” said Daniel. “Discovery is one of the oldest surviving programs of its kind in North America. And it’s one of the few that still maintains a three-week length—many other programs have been shortened to one or two weeks. It has been a transformative experience for hundreds of Montreat College students over the past 40 years.”