WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COLLEGE (WBRE/WYOU) — A group of soon-to-be freshmen, are becoming one with nature and building leadership skills all before the first day of classes.

Lycoming College’s Outdoor Leadership and Education Program began on Friday and will go until Tuesday. Just in time before the semester begins.

It’s the fifth year of Lycoming College’s outdoor leadership and education program. A group of incoming freshmen spends a week together doing outdoor activities and getting to know each other.

“There’s a lot saying for someone who’s able to have someone to eat lunch with on their very first day of class and there’s a lot of value in that,” said Jae Ellison, Director of Outdoor Leadership and Education.

The 7 students went hiking, white water rafting, and rock climbing. The Director of the program, Jae Ellison, says these exercises also give students a feel for campus life before the first week of classes.

“We have a lot of conversations with our students, helping them sort of to envision their place here at Lycoming. How they’re going to get involved and be leaders and we help them learn some strategies for being able to do so,” said Ellison.

Students say it’s been a memorable experience that’s helped with the jitters of starting college.

“I’ve me, six other people, and that was one of my biggest fears coming into college. If I knew anybody, or if I would meet new people and that’s exactly what I’m doing,” said Conner Penz, Freshmen, Lycoming College.

The program also allows students to learn new things about themselves that they’ll carry throughout life.

The lesson of knowing when to be able to take that step back and realize okay, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed but I need to do something that will make me feel a little bit more centered and grounded and for me, a lot of the time that’s being outdoors,” explained Dillon Hutchinson-Thomas, a freshman at Lycoming College.

“The students say they’re grateful for the experience and encourage other incoming freshmen to take advantage of the program.