I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a few seniors and talk about their exciting upcoming adventures this summer. Here are just a few of the most interesting and unique trips that recent Deerfield High School graduates will enjoy.
Hiking the Yukon Territory, Canada
, who will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall, told me about her 30-day wilderness adventure trek through a company called NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School).
Once she lands in Canada, she is on her own to make it to base camp the following day. The purpose of this trip is purely to learn about survival in the wilderness. The group of eight to 12 teens will have four teachers, who are there solely to teach the backpackers how to survive in the wilderness. The teens are given the minimal amount of food rations at the beginning of the trip, and mostly eat by snacking throughout the day, as they do not have time to sit down for meals. Once the group leaves from base camp, none of the campers know where they are going, or how much hiking they will have to do each day.
"Your leaders are not your friends, not your counselors, they are your teachers," Cloch said.
The goal of this trip is to be able to survive in the wilderness and live on your own when there are no leaders to help out. "The counselors aren't going to hold your hand," she said.
Emily is doing this trip to get the experience needed to be a trip leader at Birch Trail, the camp she attended for seven summers. She was a counselor there last summer.
After the trip, Emily will be spending ten days in Park City, Utah, with her family to do plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. She will surely be an expert upon her return from the NOLS trip in Canada.
Hiking the Pyrenees and Mont Blanc in Europe
, Emily’s twin brother, will be spending 22 days backpacking in the Swiss, Italian, and French Alps, including Mont Blanc, one of the highest peaks in Europe. He will also spend a part of that trip sea kayaking in Italy.
This trip, through a company called Moondance Adventures, is all about having a great time, while learning independence and survival skills. Jordan will be spending eight days hiking the Pyrenees Mountains, a day sea kayaking in the Mediterranean, six days at Mont Blanc, and two days at the end of the trip touring the wonderful city of Paris.
Jordan will also be joining his family in Utah after his trip, before he leaves for Indiana University in late August.
Backpacking and Sea Kayaking through Alaska
is also participating in a NOLS trip this summer. She will be sea kayaking in Prince Williamstown, Alaska, as well as backpacking in other areas of the state for an entire month. Molly is doing this trip for the challenge, and the step up from the Camp Thunderbird trips she had been on before.
"I felt challenged by Thunderbird, but those trips inspired me to do NOLS," Winston said.
Everyone who told her about NOLS said it was an extremely difficult challenge, but no one had anything bad to say about it. NOLS is a highly respected program because of the difficulty in the trips they offer. The entire trip is spent away from any civilization and typically has eight or nine kids and three instructors.
Molly will be getting environmental studies credit towards school next year at Colorado College. Many kids at Colorado do NOLS or similar trips.
Molly wants her future summers to be back at Camp Thunderbird as a trip leader. "I'd like to lead trips for Camp Thunderbird, and I definitely think this is going to help me. NOLS really focuses on leadership training," she said.
SCUBA Diving and Sailing the British Virgin Islands
For the last week and the next two, I have been and will be living on a 45-foot catamaran in the British Virgin Islands.
Our boat will sail from island to island and I will have the opportunity to SCUBA dive multiple times per day. I have a passion for diving and have been fortunate to have spent the past four summers on different dive trips earning many different types of SCUBA certifications.
Last summer I earned my Divemaster license, the first professional level of diving certification. Being a Divemaster enables me to lead divers on many of these underwater adventures and teach them different skills and guide them.
On the trip, I will also be hiking beautiful mountains, exploring small island towns, in addition to helping out my little sister get some additional SCUBA certifications.
We live on the boat and will only be setting foot on land once every five to seven days, where we will buy food and explore the islands. We all take turns making meals and the food rations are minimal. By making our own food, we become very independent and more responsible.
Once trusted by the instructors, the certified divers are allowed to go out on their own and dive with a dive buddy (you should never dive alone). While underwater, we explore sunken ship-wrecks, swim amongst beautiful coral, and see interesting creatures such as dolphins, whales, manta rays, sharks, and hundreds of species of colorful fish. We learn a tremendous amount of information on environmental science, especially about oceanic life.
I am currently on a boat in the Caribbean and am having the time of my life!