We sometimes struggle to describe our new camps. We have our vision for the program, but we haven’t been able to put it into practice yet so we don’t have the images and words from the participants to speak for their experiences. In this mini-series we attempt to get to the essence behind these new camp programs. We hope that you will get as excited about them as we are.
Our 2019 Leadership Adventure Camp is a two-week program June 16-29th, 2019 for upper high school aged kids and kids who have extensive camp experience. It will include a comprehensive adventure program of paddling, caving, rock climbing, backpacking, camping, and hiking. As a part of all that the campers will design, plan, and implement their “dream backpacking trip” and take part in building a new trail at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.
Katrina Weyland has been instructing and directing programs for us since 2004, with a couple breaks for projects like thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She has experience running trips of all kinds and last year when we polled instructors on their dream programs for this year Katrina requested a 2-week camp. She is really excited to get to make her dream a reality.
“Being together for two weeks,” Katrina explains, “creates a stronger bond between you and your fellow campers. Two weeks with the same instructors will also help us as instructors develop a closer bond with the kids.” She has seen with past programs that the longer a group spends together the more the experience will be etched into their minds; the stronger the memories and impact will be that they carry with them.
“When you do anything for two weeks you get out of your comfort zone and you start to become a part of the area; a part of this place. Being with the instructors for two weeks and learning from these leaders is going to be crucial as well. We will be a small group so we will have much more one-on-one time and all of our projects will be able to be more in-depth.”
Week one of the camp will start out with a selection of smaller adventures. By the second half the first week, Katrina will guide the campers through the process of designing, packing and executing a backpacking trip of their choosing. The weekend in the middle will be spent closer to home, staying at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center, and processing what they did and learned through the first half of camp.
After the weekend recharge, the group will gear up to take on week number two which will include furthering their climbing and paddling skills and the keystone service project of all our summer camps: helping to design and build a brand new, quarter-mile long interpretive trail at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. “We will work with the local community there,” Katrina says, “and leave our mark for generations to come!”
After a shorter, trial version of Leadership Camp last summer, one of the campers told us that, “I’ve been to [other] leadership camps before and all the instructors gave very little freedom to the students; in this program I was able to be my own leader, which has allowed me to see the ways in which I can improve myself and the ways in which I am strong.”
We have big plans for this camp, both this year and down the road. We hope you will consider joining us to kick off this outstanding program in style.