News Garrett College Names Hershey Ola Director - Garrett College
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Campus News

July 4th, 2022

Garrett College names Hershey OLA director

Program provides wide range of options for students seeking outdoor lifestyle


Andy Hershey is the new director of Garrett College's Outdoor Leadership and Adventure Education program.

Andy Hershey knew from the start he wouldn't be satisfied with a 9-to-5 desk job.

"I never necessarily made that distinct decision – I just decided the outdoor industry was for me and that never lined up with a 9-to-5 job," said Hershey, recently named program director for Garrett College's Outdoor Leadership and Adventure (OLA) Education program. "The students that do the best in our program are those students who are really passionate about the outdoors and can't imagine doing anything else."

Hershey is in his second stint on the Garrett College faculty, returning in 2021 after serving as Adventure Sports Management program coordinator at Frostburg State University. He is excited about the opportunity to train the next generation of outdoor education leaders.

"The strength of this program is, and always has been, its high academic standards and very hands-on experiential design," said Hershey, adding that the program has been streamlined and updated over the last year after a thorough internal program evaluation. "I don't know that there's a program in the country that goes as in-depth into the various technical skills as our program. We build very close relationships between faculty, students and staff, in part because of the significant amount of time together in the field."

Hershey lauded the experience of the OLA department staff, including veteran Associate Professor Terry Peterson and Scott Richardson, an adjunct instructor who also manages the Adventure Equipment Center (AEC).

"The experience of this team is a real strength of the program," said Hershey.

"Andy, Terry and Scott have all been working together to create exciting new opportunities for Garrett College students and community members interested in outdoor education," said Dr. Ryan Harrod, Garrett College's dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer. "As part of this program, our students are able to explore the amazing recreational opportunities available in Garrett County, as well as surrounding areas like Canaan Valley and Ohiopyle."

Hershey noted that the program prepares students to do everything from serving as a rock climbing or white water guide to owning their own outdoor adventure business. He can speak from experience, having trained as a professional climbing guide and served as the owner of two outdoor business ventures.

"I have always been somewhat entrepreneurial and attracted to creating things related to the outdoors," said Hershey, who currently co-owns North Fork Adventure, a south central Pennsylvania climbing and caving company. "I was teaching classes related to starting businesses and wanted that experience for myself. I really do love every aspect of the creative side of being entrepreneurial – but only as it relates to the outdoors."

Hershey – who has a bachelor's degree in Park and Resource Management and a master's degree in Sport Management, both from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania – said OLA aims to provide students with a strong foundation for an outdoor career.

"We have graduates who have gone on to become professors in similar programs, folks who have started their own businesses, and people who have become guides for mountains around the world," said Hershey. "It's a very broad field. This degree, especially if it's paired with a bachelor's degree – recreation, business, marketing, or any of a wide variety of options – has great value."

Hershey said two immediate program goals are to collaborate with Garrett College's Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division to offer professional development courses and to expand OLA camp offerings.

"I would like to have OLA become recognized as a leader of professional development in our field," said Hershey. "And we're getting good response to the camps that we're offering. I'd like to expand the length of camp season along with the number and variety of camps that we're offering."