Outdoors Unlimited manager proselytes BYU on benefits of recreation

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    By AMBER MEAGER

    Recreation is his job.

    It is his life.

    And his task, he said, is to proselytize it at BYU.

    David Webb, Manager of WSC Recreation Services, is promoting recreation in a number of ways at BYU.

    Recently, Webb had a chapter published in a textbook titled “Adventure Programming,” which includes the writings of over 60 authorities in outdoor recreation. The textbook was released in December 1999.

    Webb’s chapter, the first in the textbook, describes the philosophy, theory, organizational models and benefits of outdoor adventure programming, Webb said.

    “I believe I was asked to write a chapter because of the prior publishing and presenting I have done, as well as the international reputation of BYU Outdoors Unlimited,” he said.

    Webb has been manager at BYU’s Outdoors Unlimited for the last 17 years, he said.

    Outdoors Unlimited, a nationally renowned, unsubsidized “one-stop shop,” outfits people for a number of outdoor adventures, said Jared Carlow, Coordinator of WSC Recreation Services.

    Outdoors Unlimited is No. 1 nationally in retail and second in rentals and repair, Webb said. He said that sound business principles are what make them No. 1.

    “We use objective data and sound financial principles to make wise financial decisions,” Webb said.

    Webb’s knowledge and innovation have made Outdoors Unlimited what it is today, Carlow said.

    “Dave has been the driving force behind outdoors’ evolution for 17 years. He has always been an outdoor enthusiast and has made Outdoors Unlimited one of the most substantial college outdoor programs in the country,” Carlow said.

    This innovation has led to “theming” at Outdoors Unlimited, a step toward making the place look more like a haven for outdoor adventurers, Webb said.

    “If you’re involved in outdoor adventures, you’ve got to look like it,” Webb said.

    An antique collection of outdoor equipment, including Webb’s own gear, has become a part of the theming at Outdoors Unlimited.

    Among many items displayed at Outdoors Unlimited is the first internal frame backpack invented by the Lowe Brothers of Ogden, Webb said.

    Also displayed is a pair of Blackhead Standard skis from the 1960’s. They are the first pair of synthetic skis nicknamed “the cheater” because now anybody can ski, Webb said.

    However, Webb said the most important recreation proselytizing he does is with BYU students.

    He tries to create social, environmental and spiritual character in students at BYU through recreational activities, Webb said.

    Webb described his experience during a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park.

    “On the surface, it might look like we were playing in Yellowstone. But we were really developing skills in many areas of recreation like cross-country skiing, winter camping, environmental awareness, geology, as well as, socially, and spiritually,” Webb said.

    Webb said that the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support recreation and recognize its benefits.

    “Play and recreation are more than mere diversions, they are recuperative requisites in the process of physical, intellectual and moral development,” said Karl G. Maeser in 1893, former Principal of Brigham Young Academy.

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