Expo will 'open your eyes' to Utah's outdoor playground

Nov 5 2009 - 11:24am

Hints of snow visited a few days last week, inspiring all ski and snowboarding enthusiasts to prep their gear for a long season of outdoor fun.

For those who recently completed a permanent change of station here and do not yet have their outdoor adventuring gear or for those who want to upgrade their aging equipment, there are still two weeks left before the Team Hill Recreation, Travel and Wingman Expo.The five-hour long expo at the Warrior Health and Fitness Center, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., will host numerous vendors featuring equipment and information on camping, skiing, snowmobiling and lodging.

Ski enthusiasts will also have a chance to view Warren Miller's newest ski adventure film, "Dynasty." Miller has produced numerous ski and snowboarding films over the past 60 years, and some historical clips emerge throughout "Dynasty." The film crew followed skiers through China in search of the birthplace of skiing and then followed mountaineer Chris Davenport to Norway's highest peaks. Featured music includes Incubus, Silversun Pickups and Band of Horses.

The film is part of Miller's annual traveling film festival, which has debuted in theaters in Ogden and Salt Lake City at costs ranging from $18 to $30 per ticket, but the viewing at the expo will be free. The film will play consistently while the expo is open and will be hosted in a separate room complete with seating for viewing comfort.

Rachel Peterson, a travel and leisure consultant with Hill's Information, Tickets and Travel office, will also be on hand to show the discounted cruises available to the military. Peterson can also discuss other travel options and discounts her office provides, such as their discounted tickets to Disneyland and Disneyworld.

The expo is hosted by the ITT office along with the Wingman and U Matter programs. It was originally hosted solely by the Wingman program as a wellness expo to showcase the plethora of helping agencies that are available both on base and within the community to promote the four pillars of wellness: physical, spiritual, emotional and social. After noting the low-beat tone of the expo and the stigma associated to the event that it was something only attended by people who had problems, LaRue Campbell, 75th Force Support Squadron Wellness advocate, joined forces last year with ITT to transform the sterile event into one with a fun atmosphere.

"It worked out really well for us last year," Campbell said. "Our attendance was up, we had a lot of activities going on and there was music and TV screens going on in the background. It was a positive, upbeat event."

This year, the team added a third host, the U Matter program, to augment the wellness portion of the expo. The program is new to Hill AFB and was adapted from a similar program started at Robbins Air Force Base, Ga. The U Matter program disseminates positive information through various methods that remind people why "they matter" and offers resources of helping agencies.

The Team Hill Recreation, Travel and Wingman Expo will host more than 32 of those helping agencies at the Nov. 19 event. Some of those agencies include Your Community Connection, American Red Cross, Tricare, the Military Family Life Consultant and local hospitals and universities.

Merging the wellness and travel aspects has been complementary.

"We want our families and customers to know what is around Utah to get them out of the house and dorm rooms, and to see Utah while they are here," said Paula Speth of the ITT office.

"You'll sometimes hear (an Airman) complain, 'There's nothing to do here,'" adds Campbell. "What we want to with the expo is to let both the civilians and the military here see what all there is to do at this time of year. Also, if there is something in your life that is preventing you from going on that vacation, there will be helping agencies there that may be able to help you get to a point where you can take that vacation.

"It also serves to open people's eyes to the opportunities around them. Just try something new. If you don't like it, then at least you can complain from personal experience rather than from what someone else told you."

Speth and LaRue promise many other surprises and activities will be offered and door prizes will be given away each hour throughout the event.

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