Wilderness Orientation Program

Jon Guy Owens and Maria Vest '21

HOP Director Jon Guy Owens and Maria Vest ’21

Meet Some Great People in the Great Outdoors of Virginia



Before you begin your official Hollins adventure, have an outdoor adventure with HOP, the Hollins Outdoor Program.

Led by HOP director Jon Guy Owens and experienced Hollins students, the five-day wilderness orientation program will take you scaling the high ropes course at Camp Roanoke, canoeing down the James River, and running the rapids of Balcony Falls. You’ll also receive instruction in basic outdoor living skills. Best of all, you’ll meet people who just might turn out to be some of your best Hollins friends.

Space is limited to the first 10 students who register and pay.

How to register

Complete the online registration form by July 16, 2021. Brochure [PDF]

  • Cost: $300, which includes travel, food, and instruction
  • Registration deadline: July 2023

What to Bring

The Hollins Outdoor Program will provide all technical gear for the river and camping. If you have any of your own gear that you would like to use, please contact HOP director Jon Guy Owens: 540-362-6456 or jowens@hollins.edu.

Clothing to bring for the river:
  • Board shorts
  • Light top
  • Bathing suit
  • Sun hat
Clothing to bring for camp:
  • Rain jacket (rain pants are great but optional for this trip)
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts
  • 3-4 t-shirts
  • 4-5 pairs of underwear
  • 4-5 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of lightweight pants
  • Fleece jacket or top
  • Long underwear bottoms
  • River shoes (old sneakers are fine)
  • Camp shoes (no flip flips)
Items to bring for camp:
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Insulated mug
  • 2 1-liter water bottles
  • Sunglasses
  • Small daypack
  • Personal medications
  • Toiletries
  • Baby wipes
  • Contact lens solution
  • Camera (waterproof or with appropriate storage)
  • Journal (optional)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant


Monday, August 23: Check in
  • Check in, move into dorm room
  • Group orientation and ice-breaker activities
  • Pack food and gear
Tuesday, August 24: Camp Roanoke
  • High ropes course
  • Instruction in stove operation and tent setup
  • Camp that night at Camp Roanoke
Wednesday, August 25: Gaia to Eagle Rock
  • Instruction in river safety, canoe strokes, reading white water
Thursday, August 26: Glen Wilton to Gaia
  • Practice with eddy turns
Friday, August 27: Balcony Falls
  • Return to campus

Trip leader

Jon Guy Owens

Jon Guy Owens has directed HOP since 2001. He was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains near Cherokee, North Carolina, and got his start in adventure recreation as a river guide on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, while earning his undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation. He is certified as: instructor/trainer from the Wilderness Education Association; wilderness first responder; and single pitch instructor from the American Mountain Guiding Association. He lives near campus with his wife, Anna Copplestone ’06, and son, Henry.