21 Day Leadership Adventure Program
Leadership camp was definitely a capstone experience. I was given complete freedom to be a leader, treated as an adult, and taught skills that go far beyond the skills taught in the high school camp. … I now feel ready to enter college and take on leadership roles without fear. — 2019 camper
At Experience Learning, Leadership Camp is not just a stretched out high school program. It is a three week experience where you will assess the skills your group already has, you will spend time learning new skills, and then you will step out into the world of planning and executing your own wilderness adventure. You, the campers, will be your own leaders.
We will pair you with our most experienced instructors and experts in adventure, planning, and risk management. We’ll provide the necessary gear, transportation, and opportunity, and you will take it from there. You’ll get the chance to pick an off-site backpacking expedition, a river adventure of your choosing, and a rock adventure in one or more of Pendleton County’s amazing rock climbing/caving locations. Read on for more details about all these components.
Expedition Planning: Together we’ll pick a route through the Dolly Sods wilderness area. Through this process you’ll learn how to develop an expedition outline, where we plan our days based on the ideal but also take the time to discuss and plan around alternative realities. We’ll think about things like emergency response, communication strategies, varying weather conditions, additional support, and so much more. You’ll also learn how to plan and prepare meals for big adventures. We’ll discuss nutrition and caloric intake while on the trail. Be prepared to dehydrate your own food and run a food pack out. You’ll learn about picking and maintaining your equipment. We will try out different types of gear, inventory what we’ll need, how we plan to carry it, and how we will be able to repair it in the backcountry.
Once we plan and pack, we’ll load up have ourselves a proper adventure in West Virginia’s wild lands. Over the course of the Dolly Sods expedition we’ll partner with the US Forest Service and other conservation agencies on trail-based stewardship projects.
River Component: Again, you will take an active role in the activities of this camp. Based on you and your group the river component may be an overnight on the river in canoes, or it could be a day trip on a kayak, duckie, or raft. The group will decide what means of river exploration is the most appropriate fit.
Rock Components: Pendleton County, WV offers some of the best rock climbing and karst topography on the east coast. Don’t just believe us, come and see for yourself! The group will choose between rock climbing or caving – or both. With a range of options and no shortage of incredible places, we are guaranteed to find something new for everyone to try. If the group is feeling extra squirrely, we even access to one of the country’s premier Via Ferratas!
Reflective components: After we push and prod and explore and adventure we also take time to reflect. These guided reflections can expand each of you in their own way, and through this work we are able to break down barriers to friendship, excellence, and understanding your potential and that of the group when working effectively together.
Leadership Opportunities: Along the way, each member of the group will assume leadership and followership roles as you feel the push and pull between struggle and success through setting and achieving tangible goals.
Transfer Goals: Learning to live in these wild places, learning to care deeply for the other campers and the world around you are components of a program like this. But what happens in Leadership Camp can’t stay in Leadership Camp — the whole point is to take these skills back into your life at home, school, and eventually college and beyond. We use all our programs, but especially this one, as a springboard to a lifetime of amazing experiences, relationships, and a deeper understanding of who you are and how you can make the world a better place.
Stewardship/Service: You will earn a minimum of forty hours of community service through the volunteer opportunities in this program, but giving back won’t just be something we can check off a list. It becomes a mindset of seeing the world through the lens of how can I/we help to improve this space? In the end we’ll get to see firsthand that even small gestures can make a big impact.
Through living and working alongside all the different people that come to this camp I was able to experience many different and new ideas, perspectives, and skills that shaped me as a person. — 2019 camper