Backcountry Favorites

Go Custom!

By Tom Holland October 5, 2021
Students hiking in the woods

A little-known Tom Holland fact: following my Wilderness Ventures trip 20+ years ago, I went back to my high school and created the ‘Wilderness Adventures Club.’

I remember going to the Dean of Students at my high school in Illinois and asking him if I could put together trips for students that would foster community within our high school. I described the experience I had recently had on my own trip with Wilderness Ventures, and I thought we could do some smaller trips around central/southern Illinois and maybe even into Wisconsin. Most importantly, I thought it would be cool to hike, rock climb, and ski with my friends.

And with the consent of that Dean of Students (appreciation for you, Mr. Cory), WAC (the Wilderness Adventure Club) was born.

I remember our first trip was a camping and rock climbing trip to southern Illinois. This was followed by a ski trip to Wisconsin. Over time, the club grew, and our adventures got more varied. We washed cars to reduce costs and I remember we felt like we really had made it when we made t-shirts for all club members.

When I later became a teacher myself in the St. Louis area, one of the first things I did was to create another Wilderness Adventure Club. With a few more years of experience under my belt, our adventures got a bit more exotic as our yearly adventure took us out of the country to Costa Rica.

Student giving peace sign in the woods
Student giving peace sign in the woods

Always, the Wilderness Adventures experience was a part of all these excursions. We unplugged. We were guided by fantastic role models. We sought to build community through the challenges we faced.

I reflect on these moments because fall is a time when we work with schools and custom groups to provide extraordinary, community building experiences. We are proud of the relationships we have built with the organizations that we have partnered with to facilitate their Wilderness Adventures experience. Be it a school looking to pull their new students together, or a church looking for a bonding experience for their youth, we love creating experiences customized to the intended outcomes of the student.  Always, we seek to put the participant’s growth at the center of the experience.

If your school or organization is looking to build community in a positive way, give us a call. We can customize a Wilderness Adventures experience to meet the outcomes of your group. To find out more, check out our website.