Southern Illinois and the surrounding area offer a great base for planning recreational activities ranging from outdoor to sporting and cultural activities. OPTIONS staff pride themselves in taking full advantage of this wide variety of activities. Each week, the staff offers planned recreational activities. Students also select and plan activities each week. On a rotating basis, a few students each week will offer activities that other students may join. Students are expected to select a minimum of one staff-planned and one student-planned activity each week.

OPTIONS students frequently attend sporting, theatrical, musical, and cultural events hosted by Southern Illinois University, as well as events outside the Carbondale area. Frequently, trips to nearby St. Louis offer opportunities to investigate the metropolitan area. All first-year OPTIONS students participate in two physical education sessions at the Southern Illinois University Student Recreation Center. All OPTIONS students also participate in community service activities, gaining valuable insights and experiences. The goal is for OPTIONS students to have opportunities not only to participate in a variety of activities, but also to gain an awareness of accessing the surrounding communities and of planning and implementing activities of personal interest, fostering what OPTIONS hopes will be a lifelong habit of activity and involvement.

Types of Recreation 

Staff Led

With the guidance of our staff, our students are regularly afforded access to the wonders of Southern Illinois. Hiking trips, kayaking, and other forms of outdoor entertainment are regular staples in our guided recreational programming, as are engagements with Carbondale’s rich and diverse community events.

Student Led

Student-led recreational activities encourage students to familiarize themselves with the surrounding community, develop independent planning and navigation skills, and connect with their peers. This area of programming includes selecting entertainment events, coordinating travel, and preparing budgets. 

Individual Leisure

Individuals need time to both decompress and refine their independent functioning skills. Once students demonstrate appropriate responsibility and competence, they are able to plan their own individual leisure activities within the community.

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