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MSU Profiles

Camping retreat reinforces knowledge

From spine boarding and blood-born pathogen training, to taping shoulders, wrists, feet and more, learning to be an athletic trainer requires multifaceted skills and a hands-on approach. These sophisticated skills are quite unlike riding a bike and require ongoing practice - meaning a summer break can put a damper on much needed repetition.

"We found that when the students came back from summer break, they were not as confident," said Heather Golly, assistant professor and athletic training education program director. "We decided to add a summer session to build that confidence and refresh their skills."

"Over the summer, I decompress," Brody Myers, senior from Murrieta, Calif. "This gives a quick reminder going into the season. The first week back is always the hardest, remembering tests, taping ... it's really a process. Expectations are raised dramatically for incoming sophomores and juniors, so it's refreshing."

The summer session was a unique camping retreat ... a chance for students to connect on a different level and hone in on their skills at the same time. While typical day to day training in the classroom may strengthen a student's skills, it doesn't necessarily provide the same relaxed atmosphere one experiences on a camping retreat.

"When first year students come in, they are tentative around other students and preceptors," Golly said. "Not that what we did in the past didn't work well, but camping and roasting marshmallows is definitely more relaxed!"

The camping retreat allowed students to get to know one another and their instructors on a new level. They also learned little tricks of the trade and infield experience from instructors who have been in the profession for years.

"It was work and play wrapped into one," said Clarissa Ramirez, junior from Tucson, Ariz. "Some of us were new students who didn't know anybody before this, especially those like me who are not from here. This experience helped us build a little family, and upper classmen are pushing for building this family bond. This really united us."

"It's so important because we see so much of each other, this allows us to get to know one another better," said Myers.

Considering the retreat was such a success, Golly plans to make it bigger and better in years to come.

"The students loved the retreat, and they even liked my cooking," Golly exclaimed. "So we will make some adjustments and next year plan to make it longer and maybe even add a relay race where we will tape ankles and use crutches!"