When Madison Swayne arrived at USC she “wanted to join a community of students who enjoy the outdoors.”
The competitive surfer and avid hiker found what she was looking for in SC Outfitters, USC’s student-run outdoor adventure travel club.
“I am so happy that I joined SC Outfitters because I have truly found a group of people who love life and who love the outdoors,” said Swayne, a junior environmental studies major in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
She’s not alone. SC Outfitters is one of USC’s fastest-growing student groups. Formed in 2008, the group numbered less than 50 members and 10 student guides. Today, it’s grown to 200 members and 45 student guides, who organize numerous hiking and adventure trips to the California wilderness.
Swayne originally became involved with the organization as a student guide; she’s now president, and, along with other student guides, she helps organize and lead close to 40 trips each semester.
Trips have included backpacking up Mount Baldy, mountain biking in Malibu, kayaking the Pacific Ocean, and hiking in Ojai.
One of Swayne’s favorite parts of being involved with SC Outfitters is the way the group helps USC students interact with one another in new and exciting environments. “The bonds created on trail, in the backcountry, on rock walls, in rivers and on the ocean are exciting and long-lasting,” Swayne said.
This semester, SC Outfitters is not only creating bonds among its members, but also with a local youth program called Homeboy Industries.
Joanna Brodecki, director of community outreach for SC Outfitters, partnered with Homeboy Industries to put together “Homeboy Hikes.”
Homeboy Industries offers a variety of programs to combat the cycle of gang involvement in Los Angeles including mental health and substance abuse counseling, legal services, tattoo removal, and employment placement services.
The first “Homeboy Hike” will be in February at the Santa Monica Mountains, and Brodecki is planning to make it the first of many.
“Our goal is to create a series of bi-monthly events that offer the Homeboy community a wide variety of adventure opportunities,” said Brodecki, who has a double major in communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and theatre in the USC School of Dramatic Arts.
For those at USC who aren’t involved with SC Outfitters, Brodecki encourages them to sign up to join a group of adventurous and fun students.
“We want to bring the outdoors to the USC community,” Brodecki said. “Live with adventure, and let’s go explore!”
For more information on SC Outfitters, go to scoutfitters.org.