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Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

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The GHS class poses at the Bear Center

Rose Byler, WW Staff

This summer, Wilderness Wind hosted eleven Goshen High School students (plus three educators) as they completed the experiential portion of their Boundary Waters science class. Goshen High School offers this unique opportunity combining an academic exploration of the Boundary Waters with an experiential exploration in the form of a canoe trip.  In preparation for the trip, these students studied geology and mineralogy; biomes and land forms; topographic maps and orienteering; canoeing, camping, and other survival skills; human history of the area; and wilderness ethics. They came well prepared!

With such high interest in the program, the group was large enough to split into two groups. One was led by Zebulon Holsopple (former WW staff and GHS science teacher) and P.J. Wolfe (GHS science teacher) and the other was led by Elroy Holsopple (longtime WW supporter and GHS building trades teacher) as well as WW staff members Matthew and myself. The two groups followed different routes, but had many similar experiences with beautiful weather, swimming adventures, some wind, challenging portages, and amazing group bonding.

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Two paddlers and two bailers – the capistrano flip could use some work

One memory that I will hold onto from this trip comes from an afternoon spent at our campsite. As I lay in my hammock, I could look around camp and see all the other members of the group: Elroy lounging in the lawn chair we had found and were packing out while chatting with Peter and Reid about college, knots, missionary work, and general life wisdom; Hannah and Katheryn sharing stories about family trips, stitches, family pets, after-school jobs, and more; Annika sunning herself on a rock and occasionally chipping in to Hannah and Katheryn’s conversation; and Matthew snoozing in the hammock above me. Most of these students didn’t know each other before the trip (or at least not well) and they don’t exactly run in the same social circles, but in the boundary waters that didn’t matter. In the midst of learning about and exploring the wilderness, they got together and that group bonding was a treat to see. Although I wish I could give a clear snapshot into the variety of experiences on each trip, this one memory of smooth and natural group bonding and the photos we brought back will have to suffice. (http://zebra-th.smugmug.com/School/GHS-Boundary-Waters-Field-1/23932930_mHFrKV and some more on at http://www.facebook.com/WildernessWind).

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An afternoon at camp.

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Growing up camping

Doing their part to cross the portage.

I like games. Recently I noted a new one on the shelves at several Ely stores, and I perked up. It is called, “Camping: the game that grows up with you.” Indeed the game does “grow up with you” in that cards are divided into levels. A first level question might be “Identify the animal in the photo above.” The highest level question on the same card might be “What is the scientific name for the Black Bear?” I might purchase this game just to explore it a bit, but I also agree with the concept that camping is something that grows up with you. At each age we put different words to what captures us on camping trips. It might go from “I love throwing rocks in the lake” to “I become more aware of the peace that God intended this world to live in.” Camping has great power and though I don’t experience the wilderness as a game, I am intrigued by the level of learning, re-membering and play that happens in this context.

My primary reaction to the game however, was laughter. Often I am asked, “Did you grow up camping?” The negative response usually surprises people. There is a camping story indelibly printed in our family’s history. It happened when I was three and my older sister was six. It rained. You can probably put the story together from those bits of information. It was the mid 60’s, canvas tents were the way to go even if they didn’t shed water. With two kids (girls wearing dresses of course), two days of rain, everything wet, kids energy level not affected too much by the rain, my mom declared, she wasn’t going camping anymore. That was the extent of my “growing up, camping”.  We have laughed about this story and we have enjoyed the out of doors in large doses, but with a lot more distance from the rain, temperature drops and “confining” tents than we did when I was three.

Team work at its best.

This past June, when my brother shared that he and his wife

Starting a fire without matches takes a supportive circle.

wanted to come to

Ah, breakfast under the raintarp.

Gorp is SOOOO good.

Wilderness Wind in August and stay in the yurt with their 10, 7 and 4 year-old, my Mom joyfully joined the party. When we decided to try an overnight in the Boundary Waters, she was more hesitant. After talking through the route and going on a trial paddle across Armstrong Lake at the Lakeside cabins, off all eight of us decided to start packing our gear. We finagled ourselves and our gear into two canoes so that all could sit comfortably. On our first day together, the lake was calm, the sun shone, we laughed and played, set up camp, set up a functional bakery (yes, you read that right!), swam, talked and relaxed. As we went to bed, Miles noted the wind had shifted and was coming from the east. Our sleep was interrupted by thunder and lightening and of course the rain came. Ah! Such is camping. It might have

At 10 years old, Jessie takes on a Kevlar canoe - even if only for a moment!

been our family’s history repeated,

Micaiah and Samuel at their fire ring.

but all stayed dry and woke the next morning to more rain. Breakfast was enjoyed under the rain tarp as we hoped the rain would stop long enough to take the tents down. All bundled up in rain gear, celebrated another day together and paddled our way back out as the rain paused and then fell harder. There were even moments of laughter in the rain… and I think I caught a glimpse of my Mom smiling. The trip was blissful actually. Watching my Mom, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephews enjoy this wilderness place that I have learned from and loved was a significant gift to me.

Do we need to grow up camping in order to value Earth’s abundance and finiteness? I suppose not. Does camping help us move within our human relationships? Indeed it has the potential… but not always. I must admit, however, that once again this summer I have heard many youth return home with a new appreciation for the gift of family. Every family I have seen on a Wilderness Wind trip has expressed deep gratitude for the experience. And many have marveled at their newfound understanding of the complexity of the natural world and their place within it. Again and

Products from our campsite's bakery: sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and cookies.

again I see how wilderness impacts people in deep and profound ways. Ways that affect and carry them “back home.” And though I didn’t grow up camping, my parents found ways to keep my feet close to the soil. As I ponder the role of parents on our journeys, I am intrigued by the use of the term “grown-up” (which is now replacing “parent” in many early childhood settings). Lately, as a result of my journey, I have wondered whether we should call ourselves “growing-ups” rather than “grown-ups.” Whatever the case, I trust wilderness teachings and wanderings will show me the way.

Kathy Landis

P.S. Thank you, to each of the families who came to Wilderness Wind this summer. You represented well over half of our trips and it was an honor to walk with you as you grow up together.

Mom and I sharing a light moment back at the yurt. She didn't say never again this time around!

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