Tucked in a small office within Sullivan Sports Complex lays a door adorned with various stickers from many adventures and history of the Outdoor Adventure Board, or OAB. Reborn from the original club called S’more or Southern Maine Outdoor Recreation, which was a 20 year club that was funded by the students per trip and advised by the Sullivan Sports Complex. However, in 2016 S’more became OAB after getting funded by the Student Senate through the Student Activity Fee. Other clubs that are funded by the student activity fee include The Free Press, GCAB and more. Similar to those clubs the OAB is student run and has a board of student leaders, such as the chair run by David Olson.
Olson, a senior in the mechanical engineering program, is from Fryeburg, Maine. His freshman year started in 2016, where he was an active member of the OAB. He states how it was much smaller then and the board was simply made up of three people. Now fast forward to 2021, where Olsen has been the chair for the past three years, and the email list of current members is around 800 students. The board also grew as now the board is filled with 10 members. Some of the roles include chair (Olsen), photographer (Savannah Lemieux) co-chair (Grayson Jones), financial chair (Kelly Dube), secretary (Kayley Weeks), marketing chair (Josi Palmer) and trip leaders (Jon Hatch, Bella Swanson, Anthony Lovino, Alex Winn).
The OAB offers local events in Maine to do outdoor activities with other students and are led by the members of the board. Giving students the opportunity to explore activities such as hiking, biking, skiing,snowboarding, white water rafting, and deep sea fishing. These events also allow students to meet others in their shared community, as well as get into new hobbies without the fear of judgement and commitment. Olsen expresses how important it is to give these opportunities to students who would otherwise be involved with getting into outdoor activities. Olsen was passionate about how important outdoor activities are to being connected to the physical community and environment, as well as how it can connect people with shared interests and create a safe space to try something new.
Trips are first come first serve, and happen on a weekly basis, Olsen said the OAB tries to host 10-15 per semester. On each of these trips there are student leaders as well as outside guides that assist and direct the group on the adventure.
With enthusiasm Olsen explains how much bigger the OAB trips have been, “It’s crazy, it used to be that it would take weeks to fill trips and now it takes hours.” He continues with, “the roster changes too, we are seeing more and more new faces on each trip, it’s not the same people each time.” With the club becoming more and more prominent on campus, students are able to meet new people and get to know Maine better each trip.
Since the OAB is supported through the Student Senate and Student Activity Fee, all trips are fully funded and students will not have to pay to attend these events. However, bigger events that involve tipping the tour guides or transportation might include asking students to pay in order to tip the rafting guides or buy firewood. However Olsen reiterated that the OAB tries to pay for as much as they can.
“We want to make the outdoors and these activities accessible to everyone, by funding them and allowing students to try something new is the mission of OAB,” states Olsen.
If you are new to skiing or hiking and want to get involved, the OAB will also help find the best trip for you to begin, “we want to make sure that students know what they are getting themselves into, by taking with them we can find a trip that would work best.”
The OAB registration works via email, and a google form is all it takes for you to join the list on the next adventure. To get on the email list, you can simply email [email protected] or see them at tables such as at Husky Fest and other on campus events. Posting and scheduling for the month and semester are also available online at their social media accounts (Facebook & Instagram – @oab.usm.)