Texas Christian University (TCU) Campus Recreation and Wellness has found a unique way to engage with students through the department’s Full Moon Paddles program. On select dates throughout the fall semester, participants can end their day with a peaceful, moonlit paddle on Benbrook Lake located just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.
The adventure starts at North Holiday Park at sunset and explores various sections and arms on the lake. Campus Recreation and Wellness Outdoor Programs provides paddling instruction. With the lake known for its calm waters, the paddle is ideal for beginners. However, more experienced paddlers who enjoy being on the water can participate. The cost to participate in the expedition is $30 with a TCU ID.
Emily Tumilty, the coordinator of Outdoor Programs at TCU, shares below the features of Full Moon Paddles and how the fun event benefits her department and students.
Describe all the aspects of the Full Moon Paddles program.
ET: On a Full Moon Paddle, students will meet the adventure trip leaders at the Outdoor Center. From there, they load up the van and drive to the lake. At the lake, they unload the canoes and kayaks and spend time paddling while the sun sets. As the moon comes out, the boats typically raft together to observe the moon in its fullest state. We often get to catch great astronomical events like blue moons and super moons during the paddles.
How did the idea for Full Moon Paddles first come to fruition?
ET: Full Moon Paddles has been around as long as TCU Outdoor Programs have been. Full Moon Paddles offer a really simple and tangible way for students to take a quick break from campus and experience nature in a special and unique way. Sometimes, it’s hard for students to take a whole weekend or day away, so Full Moon Paddles allow participants to take a brief moment out of their busy schedule to rest, retreat and reflect.
What’s the feedback/attendance been like from campus?
ET: Feedback from students has been positive, overall. Students come back expressing they feel relaxed and excited about participating. Our Full Moon Paddles typically fill up at least a week in advance and we usually have a few individuals on the wait list for every trip. We take up to nine participants on each adventure with two staff members.
How does this program benefit campus recreation and students?
ET: This program benefits campus recreation by providing a unique recreational outlet. Full Moon Paddles give students the opportunity to paddle in a kayak or canoe with skilled instructors and participate in an environment where they can rest and relax away from the rush of everyday life.
What advice do you have for other campus recs when it comes to creating unique, fun programming?
ET: The secret to creating fun programs is to listen to the students around you. Some of the best programs I’ve helped create have been inspired by students I work with. When the ideas come out, try to see them through and allow them to flourish.
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