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Outdoor Center hosts family adventure before Dad deploys

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On the eve of his third deployment to Afghanistan, Mark Morris decided to mark this particular send-off with an experience to remember for the whole family.The Morris family spent a day at the Outdoor Center on East Campus at Lake Laurel making memories before father, Mark, deploys.The Morris family spent a day at the Outdoor Center on East Campus at Lake Laurel making memories before father, Mark, deploys.

The father of four and his wife Martha, from Savannah, wanted to celebrate Georgia College’s Homecoming with two of his children who are GC students. But he also chose to do something out of the ordinary to bring his family closer together before he deploys.

“I’m leaving next weekend so I wanted to do something fun and a little challenging with the whole family,” said Morris, who has served 22 years as a pilot in the Army.

The family spent almost an entire day at the Outdoor Center on East Campus at Lake Laurel as they participated in the challenge course.

“It really stresses the importance of communication skills,” said Mark. “It’s also a positive memory for us to have. It’ll help us remember that we’re always connected not only as a family but as a team.”

The challenge courses aren’t out of the ordinary for the Morris family, as they have always been an active and engaged crew. Kevin, sophomore economics and political science double major, has grown up facing deployments and says being active in campus activities helps ease the passing of time.

“It’s the same region each time, so in that aspect it’s a little easier and familiar,” said Kevin. “But the situation is constantly changing. We’ve always kept ourselves super busy instead of just sitting and worrying. Since we are so engaged on campus, that’s what will make the deployment go by even faster.” 

 The Outdoor Center organizes team building activities at the facility to help develop communication and leadership skills, and to allow people to learn to love the outdoors.

“The Outdoor Center provides a great opportunity for groups to work together in a unique way,” said Liz Speelman, director of the Outdoor Center. “This is such a wonderful thing for this family to do and it really shows their dedication to each other through the challenges that they are facing. 

For freshman math major Kirsten Morris, she sees the family activity as an opportunity to make memories with her own family, but also a potential resource for other military families.

“We really hope this will help other students who come from military families,” said Kirsten. “It’s great to know Georgia College has things like this to offer and is willing to help families get through these transitions. It really shows how supportive the campus is and it would be interesting to see if it can be continued in the future with other families.”

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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