Outdoor activities. Military skills. Community service. Looking to join a club that encompasses all three? Look no further than the GU Pathfinder club.
The GU Pathfinder club was created at the end of the fall semester in 2016. Its goal was tobring together military techniques and outdoor activities to create a club.
Founding members were involved in the Army ROTC, so they wanted students to be educated on general military knowledge, Army customs and courtesies.
Members of the club can learn about and put military skills to use through outdoor learning and camping activities.
Last year, they went on a camping trip to Chautauqua Gorge as a club-bonding trip and to learn some new skills. Using military mountaineering techniques, they were able to create a one-rope bridge across the gorge and navigate safely. Later, they had a cookout around the campfire with fellow members.
The Pathfinders club is a small one, though, so members haven’t been able to do as many camping trips as they would like.
To help balance that out, they offer some one-on-one sessions with cadets to learn wilderness survival and general outdoors skills. That way, club members aren’t missing out on the outdoors part of what they were promised when they joined.
The club is more than just camping and learning outdoors skills, though.
“Not only did we intend on making the club a chance to learn about some valuable wilderness skill sets,” commented club President Justin Cavallaro, “but to also reach out and give back to the community.”
So, they incorporated service into the club. Students learn the importance of giving their time and resources by organizing and operating fundraisers for numerous local organizations and charities. Through this, students learn the true rewards of volunteering and giving back.
“We have already done two major community events to benefit homeless veterans,” said Cavallaro “Our biggest one being the Patriots Ruck, which is a 5K march with a rucksack or backpack on that is filled with items to donate to the Liberty House.”
On Nov. 4, 2017, the Pathfinder club donated about $6,000 worth of supplies and money to the Liberty House through the community and the 5K fundraiser.
The club also holds a number of other fundraisers and participates in numerous volunteering events throughout the year. Members held Easter Egg Hunts at the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home to help raise money for homeless veterans, and they participate in GIVE Day each year.
The club is still a relatively small one, with about 30 members. But, Cavallaro said they’re hoping to expand over the next few years.
“Every year we seem to grow and we are hoping to start making a bigger name for ourselves and start going on larger and more elaborate trips,” he said.
If you are looking for a way to increase your knowledge of military customs, enjoy the outdoors, give back to your community, or are interested in all three, think about joining the GU Pathfinders club.
To learn more, check out the GU Pathfinder Facebook, EngageU or Instagram page @GUPathfinder.
By MADDY BRUCE