Students in program planning class get hands on experience hosting ‘Tricks or Trail’ event

Nashville junior Melinda Sterling creates chalk signs at the Trick or Trail event hosted by the Recreation Program Planning class on Oct. 8 at Centennial Mall. Sterling and other chalk arists sought to promote Warren CountyÕs blueways and greenways, a network of rivers, as well as walking and biking paths.

Katherine Sproles

For some the Trick or Trail event was an opportunity to learn about the trail systems in Warren County, but for the Recreation Program Planning class it was an opportunity to gain real-world experience in how to plan an event.

The Trick or Trail was hosted by the Recreation Program Planning class on WKU Trail Awareness Day, Tuesday, October 8.

The event showcased the local trails in Bowling Green and Warren County with informational brochures, free trail mix and water bottles, games with candy prizes, music, and various raffles.

At Trick or Trail students could learn about the benefits of exercising outdoors. One of the coordinators, senior Paige Freeman, said that during the planning process she learned how exercising outdoors rather than indoors increases your health and is a stress reliever.

For the students in the class it served as practical application of how to plan recreational events Associate Professor Tammie Stenger-Ramsey said.

“The main goal is to help the students understand how to plan, prepare, implement and evaluate recreational programs,” Stenger-Ramsey said.

In past years events included a charity run, bass fishing tournaments and other events. Inspiration for the event came from one of Stenger-Ramsey’s summer classes.

“Whenever I was teaching a P.E. 101 hiking class this summer one of the students said someone should really do…something to let people know these kinds of trails exist,” Stenger-Ramsey said.

In preparation for the event, the class spent time focusing on the benefits of being active outdoors.

“We actually hiked from campus on a Greenways trail to Chuck Grimm Nature Park and then hiked the Chuck Grimm nature trail,” said Stenger-Ramsey. “It’s about a ten minute walk from the Creason lot or less so the students a lot of them had no idea there was a trail that close to campus. I think for most of them they thought that was a pretty interesting experience.”

Senior Dylan Evans, who manned the water-pong game station at the event, agreed that personally hiking the trails was an educational experience.

“The most interesting thing I found out was there are a lot of undiscovered trails that people might not know about in Bowling Green and Warren County…it was just an eye opening experience to see all the nature in Bowling Green and Warren County,” Evans said.

Freeman said planning the event has helped her gain knowledge for her future career.

“My minor is actually event planning so all of these different components that we all played different roles in tied into what I will be doing as an event planner,” Freeman said.

Overall, Stenger-Ramsey hopes students gained knowledge of the outdoor opportunities around them.

“I’m hoping they will gain awareness of the different possibilities that are out there and that they will take the information they learned and be able to find places that they can go out and experience the trail systems,” Stenger-Ramsey said. “Research has shown that one of the main reasons that people don’t participate in recreational facilities is they simply aren’t aware that the facilities or programs exist.”