Extended time outdoors leads to growth and leadership that translates into other areas of life. This past June, two organization that believe strongly in the transformative powers of adventure teamed up. Wilderness Inquiry hosted students from Houston-based nonprofit The Woods Project at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp, near the Apostle Islands, in Wisconsin. The Woods Project creates wilderness experiences to help urban students achieve success.
A total of 26 students from ages 17 to 19 took part in team-building initiatives, hiking, paddling, and backcountry island camping. During this 15-day experience, current high school seniors and recent high school graduates worked together to discover their own unique style of leadership while exploring Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands.
For many students this was the only time they had left Texas. Together on the trip they practiced backcountry camping techniques and established their own leadership teams. They also learned how to wet exit and paddle a kayak before spending their days exploring the inner ring of the Apostle Islands. “I’ll admit, kayaking for miles was pretty challenging, but the activities we did on this trip have been more than worth it,” said Marcus Tierrablanca. “The other students and I have been able to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with Wilderness Inquiry.”
Aside from learning how to kayak and traveling to different islands, the students also learned a host of outdoor skills. They learned how to build a fire, how to navigate outdoors, and how to set up tarps using different knots. They also developed skills to take command of situations where they could help others, like learning to lead a person who is blind through a campsite. “As I go to the University of Texas at San Antonio in the fall to study political science, this program allowed me to enhance my leadership skill in the hopes that I can become a foreign services officer,” said high school graduate Nicholas Allen.
The partnership between Wilderness Inquiry and The Woods Project ensured access to outdoor spaces for students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. Wilderness Inquiry looks forward to continuing to develop a deep and lasting relationship with an organization that so closely mirrors our dream for access to all. And we look forward to seeing how this latest crop of students uses the outdoor and leadership lessons they’ve learned to do great things in the future.
“Our island adventures were full of laughs, and beautiful moments etched together as we built connections and enjoyed the simple beauty of the world around us,” said Wilderness Inquiry outdoor leader Elizabeth Kelley. “Sending good vibes to all the youth we got the chance to work with, and success in all of their future endeavors.”