Over the past few months at Wilderness Adventures, lots of past, present, and future students and parents have asked the same question– “What’s new at Wilderness Adventures?” While we always work to maintain a strong connection to our roots, like the students on each of our trips, we will grow and evolve. And so begins our “What’s New” series. Over the next few months, I will be highlighting some of the changes Wilderness Adventures is working on for the upcoming summer.
This year our trip names have evolved a bit. This evolution was meant to indicate age groups and location, making it easier for kids and parents to find a trip. Our Discovery trips are for our youngest students (5th and 6th graders) and provide an introduction to the outdoors and to Wilderness Adventures. Our Explorer trips are for our 7th through 9th grade students. Our High Trails program is for 9th through 12th graders. Finally, our Global Trekker trips are for a variety of ages but include all of our international programming. Almost all of our trips, with the exception of a couple of new programs, are for WA alumni and new students alike.
Some alumni may note that we have removed the ‘leadership’ designation from our trip names. Historically, ‘leadership’ has been included in some of the trip names, but we feel like this is an integral core component of every trip. When I was a teenager on my Wilderness Adventures trip, I remember, for the first time, feeling a real sense of leadership. Guided by my trip leaders and trip mates, we discussed leadership, honed our leadership skills, and each had opportunities to step into leadership roles. At WA, we believe that now, more than ever, kids need opportunities to experience great leadership and place themselves in leadership roles. Consequently, we do not emphasize some of our trips providing more leadership education than others, as this is the foundation of all of our programs.
Our commitment to leadership education is based on the idea that young adults need to expand their leadership skills so they are prepared for all of their adventures; not just their Wilderness Adventures. On every trip, students are provided age appropriate opportunities to expand their leadership skills. We emphasize group collaboration, creative and critical thinking, and effective communication as students take on the duties of ‘leader of the day’ and as they make decisions as a group. This formula has been developed by educators and has been an effective means of growing leaders for 45 years.
Trip name changes do not mean that classic itineraries and trip routes have changed. Trips to our iconic destinations remain the same and we are pleased to continue to offer such fantastic programs!
Stay tuned for more posts in our ‘What’s New’ series this fall!