Adventure Club - 2019/2020

GEA Adventure Club 2019-2020 encompasses a curriculum that offers academic and applied knowledge of outdoor activities to adolescents and inspires interest in the environment and as a result reshapes the priorities of the target population. Other family members are welcome and are encouraged to participate in the program. The program consists of hikes and activities at local, state and national parks in South Carolina to build awareness of the variety of activities and resources available at no cost for healthy recreation. The program builds confidence, knowledge, and physical strength and stamina.

In order to alter a child’s level of physical activity and create a lifetime of activity it is vital to engage the child in enjoyable activities that can be continued into adulthood. Physical activities “must be enjoyable and congruent with the child’s and family’s lifestyle and be rewarding independent of the health benefit” because “many adolescents will not exercise simply to lose or maintain weight”. The importance of providing goals and positive reinforcement and encouragement helps children remain active and determined.

The GEA Adventure Club is a program centered on learning about the environment while hiking in the outdoors. Hiking is considered a “moderate-intensity aerobic activity” and this physical activity has many health benefits. As the final hike and goal for the entire program, the participants will hike to the summit of Mt. Mitchell.

Through this program, the participants will be exposed to hiking as an activity they can continue throughout their lifetime. They will have the skills to hike safely and will have achieved an extraordinary goal by hiking to the summit of Mt. Mitchell.

The GEA Adventure Club 2019-2020 will consist of the following components:
- Monthly hikes ranging from 1.5 miles to 11.4 miles in length
- Hour long classroom style educational programs on topics ranging from nutrition and healthy food preparation to environmental education and protection.
- Finale – Overnight camping and hike to the summit of Mt. Mitchell (5.5 miles), the highest point east of the Mississippi River including meals, participation awards and final educational program and presentation.

Monthly Environmental and Nutritional Training Programs

The classroom educational programs will be held in the GEA Training Center located at 517 Laurens Court, Camden SC. Guest lecturers and experts in various fields including health and nutrition, ecology, the environment, and biology will present monthly programs to the participants.

Community Garden

Honey Bee Education & Awareness

GEA SCUBA Instruction

GEA teaches SCUBA and Marine Ecology to 35 local Boy Scouts as part of GEA Adventurer Club

GEA President Tom Mullikin and volunteer staff spent time with 35 Boy Scouts teaching SCUBA diving, Marine Ecology and Safety as part of the GEA Adventurer Club.

The Adventurer Club works with young leaders to help them understand and value environmental stewardship through experiential learning. In addition to their dive training, these young leaders are learning about marine ecology and safety. According to NOAA, less than five percent of the ocean has been explored. Much remains to be learned from exploring the mysteries of the deep. The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70 percent of the planet's surface ultimately supporting all living organisms.

The Scout leaders are wonderful community leaders who dedicate time to helping prepare young leaders. Helping youth is key to building a more conscientious, responsible and productive society.

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations, providing programs for young people that build character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.

2016 Eco-Trip 4 - Kalmia Gardens

On April 9, 2016, the GEA Adventure Club returned to Kalmia Gardens at Coker College in Hartsville, SC and hiked both the garden path and the 3 mile loop trail into Segars-McKinnon Heritage Preserve. Aundrea Dolan, graduate student at Coastal Carolina University gave a great presenation on the various eco systems and how they were all interrelated. As a bonus to our adventure, Kalmia Gardens was holding their Earth Day Festival. Following our hike, we were able to enjoy the various crafts, animals, plants & gardening, and scientific displays.

2016 Eco-Trip 3 - Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve

On Saturday, March 12, the GEA Adventure Club visited Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve and Nature Concercatory in Lexington, SC. Prior to our adventure, Sam Ladewig, Coastal Carolina PhD student gave a presentation on the ecological dangers of micro plastics and spoke of the need to recycle.
The Adventure Club "Adopted" the Peachtree Rock trail for the day and collected plastics and other trash they found along the trail.

2016 Eco-Trip 2 - Poinsett State Park

On February 13, 2016 the Adventure Club ventured to Poinsett State Park near Sumter SC for a beautiful 2 mile hike along the Scout Trail and a picnic lunch by the lake.

2016 Eco-Trip 1 - Sesquicentennial State Park

Our first Eco-Trip of 2016 we visited Sesqucentennial State Park on January 16, 2016. GEA President and Founder, Tom Mullikin gave a brief presentation of the various Eco-Regions found within our state.

Eco-Trip 6 - Mt. Mitchell Summit

So proud of all of our GEA Adventurers! The students, parents and other sponsors made this program historic. We will continue to work together to ensure better health and a greater appreciation for our beautiful environment. Congratulations to all on an outstanding effort hiking to the summit of the highest peak on the east coast of the United States of America. Traveling to Mt Mitchell, we stayed overnight at the beautiful Cabin Creek Lodge in Montreat, NC. On Saturday morning, May 29, 2015, we began our ascent up the Mt. Mitchell trail. Starting at the Black Mountain Campground on the Toe River, we gained 3600' in elevation over 5 1/2 miles to reach the summit of the East's highest peak. Touted as one of the toughest continuous climbs in the region, we enjoyed a varied forest that changed with the elevation. The spectacular views from high up along the trail faded into a fog as the clouds rolled in as we approached the summit. All Adventures embarking succeeded in reaching the top.

Eco-Trip 5 - Kalmia Gardens

On Saturday, May 16, The GEA Adventure Club visited Kalmia Gardens of Coker College in Hartsville, SC. Prior to our adventure, Margaret Buckelew from the Pine Tree Hill Wildlife Care & Exotic Rescue gave us a very informative presentation on the native snakes of South Carolina. Her presentation taught us about the various (5) native venomous snakes and how to recognize them. She brought handouts, rattle snake rattles, a snake skin and a live baby snake recently captured and awaiting release.

We then toured the gardens along the board walks at Kalmia Gardens, hiked the 3.5 mile loop into the Segars-McKinnon Heritage Preserve, drank from the Artisan Well and climbed the 93 steps back to the picnic area.

Eco-Trip 4 - Congaree National Park

On April 11, 2015, The GEA Adventure Club visited the Congaree National Park.

After a quick briefing by the Park Ranger, we set off down the Kingsnake Trail. We were lucky enough to spot two different groups of wild hogs which crossed our path looking for dry ground.

Eco-Trip 3 - Andrew Jackson State Park

On March 21, 2015, the GEA Adventure Club visited Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster, South Carolina. Represenatative Laurie Slade Funderburk met with the Club members prior to our trip in the GEA Training Center and discussed the State Park System in South Carolina. We walked both nature trails at Andrew Jackson State Park - the 1.1 mile Crawford Trail loop and the 1.0 mile Garden of the Washaws Trail around the 18-acre park lake.

Eco-Trip 2 - Sequicentennial State Park

On February 14, 2015, the GEA Adventure Club visited Sequicentennial State in Columbia, South Carolina. Col. Tom Smith, Jr., conducted the environmental education presentation and led the group on a 2 mile hike along the Sesquicenntial Lake trail.

Eco-Trip 1 - Lake Wateree State Park

January 17, 2015

2015 GEA Adventure Club Sponsors

A very special THANK YOU to all those who have given their support to our Adventure Club!! - Columbia, South Carolina