Award recognizes outdoor athletes

Award recognizes outdoor athletes

Carl Blankenship

This year will be the third year Appalachian State Outdoor Programs has awarded the Appalachian Adventure Achievement Awards, or A4, after a hiatus due to the absence of the Banff Mountain Film Festival last year, where the winner is announced.

The awards were created to recognize high-level athletes who participate in outdoor sports, such as skiing and rock climbing, and have a record of community service.

Associated Director of Outdoor Programs Rich Campbell said that the awards are an opportunity for athletes that are passionate about non-spectator sports to gain some exposure in the community.

“They won’t get as much publicity as they would if they were involved with spectator sports,” Campbell said. “The people here are really passionate about their sports and we want to inspire other people to participate.”

Campbell said that while the awards are meant to recognize these athletes, he believes they do it out of passion for the sport rather than to gain notoriety.

“I don’t think they do it for recognition, just out of love, and we want to give them that luxury,” Campbell said.

Senior psychology major Zachary Silberman, who received the award in 2012 for climbing, said that it was a humbling experience to be recognized as a part of a community and to see that people admire his contributions.

“It was a good reminder that people accepted me and that I was welcome here,” Silberman said. “I didn’t accept the award thinking of it as a gold medal or anything like that, instead that I was being recognized for being a positive influence on the sport itself rather than a competitive achievement.”

Anyone can be nominated if they lead an outdoor lifestyle, have a history of community service and fall within the under 17 or 18-24 age groups, according to op.appstate.edu.

The online application for nominations for the A4s closes March 7. The awards will be presented at the Banff Film Festival on March 28 and 29 at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

Story: Carl Blankenship, Intern News Reporter