Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter
Students in the Farmington Outing Club (FOC) are keeping happy this fall by staying outdoors as much as possible.
East Wilton native and FOC member Casey Taylor, who has mostly been spending his Fall skateboarding in preparation for ski season, is very familiar with the outdoor activities available in Franklin County during this season. “Growing up here I had a really nature-based upbringing, by default. You’re taught to respect nature and to get outside and enjoy it with your friends,” said Taylor.
According to Taylor, FOC makes it easy to connect with others and get outside. “To find a group of people who are also interested in spending their time in nature is a beautiful thing,” said Taylor, “It’s just nice to be around people who do the things you do.”
UMF Outdoor Business Recreation Administration (ORBA) major and president of FOC Drew Bates says that UMF’s outing club is one of the main reasons why he fell in love with this area. “All my best friends were made at FOC,” said Bates. “Joining the club changed my life.”
Bates says he has spent his fall outdoors biking on the trails at Titcomb in order to keep in shape while he also awaits the upcoming ski season. “Titcomb is where it’s at. They have some killer bike trails, which a lot of people don’t know, and it’s right down the road from campus which is cool too.”Also a member of FOC, Junior Biology major Jordan Kapiloff considers herself fortunate to be enrolled in the Entomology course offered at UMF, taught by Biology Professor Ronald Butler, where she gets to spend time outside doing field work and examining bugs.
Kapiloff, who admits she would much rather be outside than in a classroom, says taking this course has made her lab work much more enjoyable, and that she even gets outside to examine and collect bugs as a hobby when she’s not working on her class work.
“A bunch of my other friends have all been out collecting with me,” says Kapiloff, “We’ll go run around with our bug nets, and collect flowers and look at ants. It’s super fun and you get to be outside staying active, which is really cool.”
Kapiloff also grew up in the Farmington area and attended Mount Blue High School, which, like Taylor says, naturally immersed her into the outdoorsy culture in the community.
“The Sandy River and Prescott Field are some of my favorite spots,” said Kapiloff. “I go down there with my friends almost every week, which is funny, because some students don’t even know the Sandy exists.”
Kapiloff expresses the reasoning behind her passion for the outdoors by explaining the meaning behind her bee tattoo. “These little things are absolutely vital to the way we live our life, and I find that so interesting,” said Kapiloff. “They are going extinct in certain places and I think that it’s so important to save the things that are small, and that may not seem that important, but that are actually very significant to the environment.”
Kapiloff says that getting involved with nature in a way that allows her to become a part of it, like she does in her Entomology course, is what keeps her happy and healthy. “I think that this class has helped to keep me in touch with nature and my surroundings this semester. It’s something that puts you outside of yourself and into the environment.”
Grace McNally, FOC member and senior Community Health Major, has been spending her Fall in the outdoors by working as an employee for Mainely Outdoors, the Fitness and Recreation Center’s outdoor excursion facility located on 144 Quebec Street in Farmington.
“Over the summer I was working as an employee up at Grand Falls Hut for the Maine Huts and Trails non-profit organization. I learned so much about the outdoors and wildlife in Maine,” said McNally. “I wanted to stay outside as much as I could when classes started back up… I ended up getting hired by Mainely Outdoors, which has been the perfect opportunity for me.”
This past weekend McNally helped lead a six mile hike up to Stratton Brook Hut with a group of students, professors and community members. “It was a blast and everyone left happy and exhausted,” said McNally.
Naturally, Bates, Taylor, Kapiloff and McNally all plan on spending their winters outdoors as well. All alpine skiers, they hope to spend as much of their time as possible at Sugarloaf, and even may take a FOC trip up to the mountain in Carrabassett Valley.
Kapiloff advises anyone who has considered getting active outside and want to gain some experience in different areas of outdoor activities to come to a FOC meeting, which take place Thursday nights at 8pm in Thomas Auditorium.
“At the meeting you can get to meet people and learn about different things like skiing, snowboarding, biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, paddling and so on… Once you find your people and figure out what you like to do, you can just kind of branch out from there. It’s like a tree that you can just keep climbing.”
To stay involved with FOC and its members you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.