A Role Model Can Last a Lifetime

By Willy Ross March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018

Growing up with an older sister, the power of a sibling role model is not lost on me. As far back as I can remember, I looked up to and emulated my sister. As a young kid (three or four years old), this often manifested itself in funny ways. I specifically remember my sister hosting a pool party at our neighborhood pool. I wanted so much to be like my sister and her friends, that I borrowed one of her bathing suits and jumped right in! I wanted to be like her then and still do now.

At Wilderness Adventures, we work endlessly to find the best role models to lead our summer programs. I was lucky to count myself among this group of trip leaders and now work on the year-round leadership team. Each WA program focuses on a curriculum to help inspire our students to develop leadership skills to become wonderful role models themselves. The Hawaiian Islands trip that I led with Wilderness Adventures in 2016 included a schedule of tasks that needed to be completed in order to have a successful trip. Each student had the opportunity to try their hand at each task. From meal planning and cooking to route finding and gear care, all students were included and encouraged to participate in each area of the program. This system empowered our students to try new tasks, to step outside of stereotypes, and to gain confidence.

One of the students on my Hawaiian Islands trip was not too keen on the ocean. While they always enjoyed the beach and warm weather, when it came to the ocean, there was a bit of discomfort. But with a supportive group, positive role models, and daily opportunities to face and conquer challenges, this student successfully completed the scuba certification course and was able to stand up on a surfboard! It was amazing to see this progression as a trip leader, but the best part was that they became confident in their abilities and would take that confidence back home with them. This student is now able to become a role model and inspiration for someone else that may face similar struggles.

Wilderness Adventures aims to help students become strong, confident people. We hope to empower all girls and boys to be the person that they want to see in the mirror, and to spread that confidence on to those around them. Confidence and empowerment are an addictive recipe- we provide the ingredients and the kids do the rest.