We’re excited to offer these opportunities for the Active Track for Renew in the Smokies 2024. Please review the options and indicate your interest on the Registration form for Renew in the Smokies. Please note that each person should register separately, since some couples may choose different activities. Thanks! This will help us get an accurate count and plan well for you.
LEADERS: ROCKY CHRISTENSEN, DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID & TYSON CHASTAIN, DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI RELATIONS
Rocky was born and raised in southern Arkansas in a small town of 404 people called Hatfield. He was raised by two parents who strongly believed in the Lord and instilled a strong work ethic into him. His dad was a full-time science teacher for 43 years and a minister for most of those years, as well. His mom was a stay-at-home mom and later a speech pathologist. His parents encouraged his passion for attending a Christian college by asking him to spend two years at a “Bible college.” He took up this challenge and studied to be a minister. There were some turns God directed him on that helped him see he would carry out his calling to ministry as a financial aid professional, equipping many more to “extend the kingdom of God among all nations.” While he wears a tie to work every day, he can also run heavy equipment, run farm equipment, weld, and take care of livestock. He is excited to take you on a trip through nature where God’s fingerprints are clearly seen at every pedal of the bike.
Tyson has studied or worked at Johnson for most of the last 27 years and he loves interacting with guests of this annual summer program for Christian adults. This year, he is looking forward to co-leading the Cades Cove bike ride with Rocky. In 2022, Tyson participated in a 5-day, 300-mile bike ride from Ft. Myers to Key West, Florida. He even completed the “century” by riding over 100 miles in one day.
11-mile ride on the Cades Cove loop, Townsend, TN. Meet at the Phillips-Welshmer building parking lot prior to departure. Have some fun, get some exercise, and sing some songs as we ride the Loop and Renew in the Smokies.
It is STRONGLY recommended that you bring your own bike and transportation method as bike transport will NOT be provided.
$15/hour for bike rental at the Cade’s Cove visitor’s center.
- Sack lunch or other snacks
- Wear good biking shoes, helmet, layers of clothing, hat, sunglasses
LEADERS: RICHARD CLARK, VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADVANCEMENT & DANIEL OVERDORF, PROFESSOR OF PASTORAL MINISTRY AND DIRECTOR OF PREACHING PROGRAM AT JUTN
“When I first started attempting golf, I would say that ‘I get paid to be frustrated, so I don’t need to pay good money to add to it.’ Then I started playing with some older men in my church who didn’t keep score, and when, at the end of the day, I only remembered the good shots I concluded it was mostly about hanging out with guys you liked being around anyway. I decided to continue.”
Daniel Overdorf has been playing golf since he was twelve years old. He learned by knocking around plastic golf balls in the back yard with his neighbor. Though his handicap remains much higher than it should be, he enjoys playing with friends and enjoys the community and refreshment it offers.
Location: Lambert Acres. Picturesque course in Maryville about 30 minutes away.
How many holes: 18
YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO BRING YOUR OWN CLUBS AS RENTAL AVAILABILITY AT THE COURSE IS VERY LIMITED.
Cost: $35 with a cart
What to wear:
- Collared shirts required
- Typical golf attire.
- No denim.
- Golf shoes.
LEADERS: KIRK MCCLELLAND, PROFESSOR OF SERVICE LEARNING, DIRECTOR OF SERVICE ENGAGEMENT AND FIRST YEAR PROGRAMS, MATT JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, AND JOE GORDON, PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY.
Kirk loves hiking with his family and friends in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. He also loves to hike and fly fish the mountain streams! Kirk grew up hiking in the white mountains of New Hampshire, hiked and backpacked extensively in the Adirondacks of New York, and was a backpacking, rock climbing, and rafting guide in the Collegiate Peaks region of Colorado. Over the past five years, Kirk has been leading hikes with Renew in the Smokies and looks forward to many more adventures!
This is year four of Matt Johnson’s participation in Active Track hiking. He is partial to trails in the Smokies, but has also logged miles in the Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, various other state/national parks, and the Israel National Trail. He is a Boston-qualifying marathon runner, who encourages everyone to find activities they can pour into with passion.
Dr. Joseph K. Gordon (Joe, or Joe Go to students) is Professor of Theology at Johnson University. He fell in love with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while a freshman at Johnson University in 2003, and now spends as much time there as he can. He loves to help others to encounter, appreciate, and understand God’s fascinating animal and plant creatures in their native habitats, and has a special love for the good “creeping things” that God has made (see Genesis 1:24). When he’s not teaching in the classroom, he enjoys talking about God, Scripture, and creation with anyone who will listen. He also loves playing floor hockey, soccer, and softball with students, and exploring Johnson’s beautiful campus and nearby areas with his wife Charis, and two children, Stephen and Mariah. He is a certified Master Herpetologist through the Amphibian Foundation and a certified Southern Appalachian Naturalist through the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.
Location: Mouse Creek Falls and Midnight Hole. 1 hour and 15 minute drive from campus. This is a 4-mile round-trip hike and is considered moderate in difficulty. We will hike in and then eat lunch at the falls and perhaps go for a swim (weather dependent and if you like 50 degree water!) at Midnight Hole. We will return to campus around 4:00 p.m.
How to dress:
- Supportive sneakers or hiking shoes
- Wear layers as the temperature may change throughout the day
What to bring:
- Small backpack for carrying lunch and water
- Walking sticks
- Hat (recommended)
- Sunglasses (recommended)
- Swimming suit (if you are into that)
- Sunscreen and bug repellent
Cost: FREE with van transportation to the trail head provided.
LEADERS: JAMEY GORMAN, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY & CLYDE TIMBS, ADVANCEMENT SERVICES COORDINATOR
Jamey has been kayaking the French Broad River for several years with his family.
“I was introduced to kayaking on a trip to Key Largo, FL and fell in love with it. Shortly after, we purchased kayaks for our entire family. Since that time we have frequently kayaked the French Broad, Holston, and Pigeon Rivers. We have also spent time on many of the East TN lakes, and in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.”
Limited to the first 30 registrants!
Location: Mead’s Quarry Park: 20–25-minute drive.
Offers a glimpse into East Tennessee’s quarrying past that provided pink marble used in local and national buildings and monuments such as the National Gallery of Art. This pink marble is found almost exclusively in East Tennessee. The sparkling blue quarry waters surrounded by tall rock cliffs make a beautiful setting for paddling. The quarry is home to number of interesting species of animals including the Berry Cave Salamander, a species that exists in only a handful of caves throughout East Tennessee, and the only species of freshwater jellyfish in the entire world. The paddle around the perimeter of the quarry lake is a total of approximately 0.8 miles.
Cost: 2 hour paddle, cost is $28. Includes kayak rental, paddle, and PFD.
- Water shoes
- Clothes suitable for paddling/getting wet
- Sunglasses *recommended
- Hat *recommended
- Snack if needed
Participants must be physically able to enter and exit a floating kayak/canoe on their own.