Campus Recreation hosts Summer Academy participants at Stone Valley

Callie Curley
July 31, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As students gathered around the climbing wall looking nervously toward the top, Christian Cross was the first to buckle his helmet and approach the wall to climb.

“I wanted to just get up there and try it,” Cross said. “You never know what you will like doing if you don’t give it a try.”

Cross was one of 22 student participants in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy, a two-week event hosted by Penn State for the first time this summer. A recent graduate of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh, Cross believes the skills he has developed during the Summer Academy will help him transition to life as a student at the Community College of Allegheny County in the fall.

“There have been a lot of challenges and new lessons,” Cross said of the experience. “But I have been able to meet a lot of new friends and learn things that will help me do well in college.”

From July 9-21, the group worked together to gain skills in assistive technology, communication access options, self-advocacy and awareness, recreation and team building, financial management, and social work.

In addition to rock climbing and canoeing activities at Penn State's Stone Valley Recreation Area, the students also had an opportunity to participate in classroom discussions, a scavenger hunt, bowling, and a State College Spikes baseball game. Each experience was designed to combine entertainment and enjoyment with the development of skills that will aid the students in their college careers.

“We are very excited to have them,” said Bobby Romo, Vertical Adventures program coordinator at Stone Valley Recreation Area. “We strive to help grow their program and expose our staff to new challenges and provide the opportunity to develop their teaching and facilitating skills.”

Penn State also is hosting the Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired from July 8 to Aug. 3, a three-week event designed to prepare blind and visually impaired high school students for life after graduating high school. That program included a day of training and practice on Stone Valley’s high ropes course, an activity meant to strengthen student confidence in daily decisions and interactions.

A part of Penn State Student Affairs, Stone Valley Recreation Area is a 700-acre outdoor facility complete with trails for hiking and biking and a 72-acre freshwater lake for boating, fishing and ice skating. For more information on Stone Valley, click here.  

  • Summer Academy Canoeing

    Students from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy spent the day canoeing and rock climbing at Stone Valley Recreation Area.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Summer Academy Rock Climbing

    Students from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy spent the day canoeing and rock climbing at Stone Valley Recreation Area.

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated August 15, 2017