Ferris alumnus-owned Four Green Fields Farm in Rodney, Michigan hosts an annual haunted corn maze with the help of student athletes and volunteers.
The haunted maze has been open for 15 years. Owner Kevin M. Courtney, a 1979 Ferris grad, says his family bought the land in 2003 and officially moved onto the property in 2005 to use it as a farm.
After Courtney retired in 2006, his wife suggested they open up their farm to the public and start a corn maze.
“I said, ‘Okay, what’s a corn maze?’” Courtney said. “I [had] never even heard of them before. So we started out small [with] just a little corn maze, and we gradually added things like horse-drawn wagon rides [and] a pumpkin patch, and then we started the [haunted] maze, and that’s been a lot of fun.”
What makes the haunted corn maze fun is that organizations are selected to come and scare the guests. The organizations range from 4H clubs to volunteer fire departments.
Ferris sports teams have also been selected on multiple occasions to help. These groups include the men’s and women’s cross country teams, the hockey team and the rugby team. When these teams participate in the haunted corn maze, they earn fifty percent of the profits.
Courtney has a special place in his heart for the Ferris sports teams.
“The athletes are just fun to be around, [and] I was a college athlete myself,” Courtney said. “It’s [also] fun to talk to [the other, regular student organizations and] hear what they’re doing… It also gives me an opportunity to give back to the university because my success and career are directly tied to the education I got from Ferris and the opportunities Ferris provided for me.”
A fifth-year forensic biology student and mentor for the women’s rugby team Alyson Grayshaw has participated in scaring at the corn maze. The rugby team used their percentage of the profits for trips, gas and other program necessities. While the money is a nice benefit to working at the haunted corn maze, Grayshaw says the real benefit is the experience and bonding the team gets to do.
“We do use it for fundraising, and it’s a really nice experience,” Grayshaw said. “It is a fun fundraiser for the whole team to get together, and I think that makes it more appealing to us. It’s a bonding thing for our teams, and that’s even better.”
Grayshaw said the rugby teams have participated in the haunted corn maze as scarers for the past four years.
Similar to the rugby team, other teams, like the men’s and women’s tennis teams, have been coming back year after year because of how much fun they have. Head tennis coach Mark Doren said that his teams have also participated the previous four years, and it’s a ton of fun.
This year, Doren says his players won’t be the main people working the maze. Because of his players’ prior commitments, they decided to hand this event off to the students in the Professional Tennis Management program and the Club Tennis Team.
The haunted corn maze is something Courtney looks forward to, as it not only is an opportunity for Ferris teams and student organizations to earn some money, but it is also an opportunity for the community to be brought together.
“Just seeing everybody, I love people,” Courtney said. “I’ve got customers that have come every year I’ve been open. I see moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and kids. You see a lot of college kids, and it makes you feel young again.”
For those interested, the haunted corn maze is open every Friday night throughout the month of October until Halloween. It costs $4 to be scared. For more information, individuals can head to the Four Green Fields Farm website.