A UNE student leads a group of teenagers through field games

UNE Business Students Lead Recreation Workshops for Oxford Hills Teens

The activities reflect the College of Business' goal of preparing students to become leaders in Maine's outdoor economy

The College of Business at the University of New England recently hosted over 30 students from MSAD 17’s Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School (OHCHS) for an immersive look at careers in Maine’s $3 billion outdoor recreation industry. 

The University welcomed the students for a day of field games, leadership training, and career preparation sessions in outdoor recreation leadership, led by students in UNE’s Sport Management and Business degree programs as part of Professor Aimee Vlachos’ Leadership course.

“This event was a great example of community leadership,” remarked Vlachos, Ed.D., CPRP, assistant teaching professor in the College of Business. “It was beneficial for both groups to learn from each other and further practice their leadership skills.” 

Recognizing the need for skilled professionals in recreation management, UNE recently launched a major in Outdoor Business and Innovation (OBI), the first of its kind in New England, aimed at preparing students for leadership roles in a sector that is pivotal to Maine’s economy.

A UNE student gives game instructions to a group of high schoolers
A group of high school students raises their hands
A UNE student reads instructions to a group of high school students
A group of teens plays field games on the campus lawn
UNE students give instructions to a group of teens

Students from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School play field games on the lawn of UNE’s campus lawn, led by sport management major and OHCHS alum Ty LeBlond (top left) and other UNE business students.

Students enrolled in the OBI degree program will leave UNE with industry experience through paid internships and project-based learning provided in collaboration with Maine Outdoor Brands. The Maine Office of Outdoor is serving an advisory role in curriculum development for the program, which is the sole academic program in New England designed to address the growing need for skilled workers in this field. 

Ty LeBlond (Sport Management, ’25), an OHCHS alum, said the event was a great way to build his own leadership skills while teaching the next generation of outdoor recreation professionals to work together.

“I hope the visit taught OHCHS students simple leadership skills and how to work and communicate with others,” LeBlond said. “Something as simple as problem solving with other people is hard to teach, so I hope they had an opportunity to do that.”

LeBlond said he was excited for the opportunity to teach students from his alma mater about his chosen profession in recreation management.

“I'm very grateful that I got to grow up in the Oxford Hills community, and being able to be a role model for them is something I take great pride in,” he said. 

Vincent Kloskowski, Ph.D., executive director of College, Career, and Extended Learning Opportunities at OHCHS, said his district’s partnership with UNE has helped expand the walls of the classroom for students.

“Career pathways in the STEM field and outdoor recreation industry are growing areas of interest for so many of our students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School,” Kloskowski said. “Expanding collaborations between secondary and postsecondary schools also helps move this career trajectory forward positively for students.”

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