Some thoughts on WILD II
by Carter Reynolds
It’s been a pleasure to serve this summer as a WILD II co-counselor with Samantha Shroyer and Colt Duttweiler.
Our WILD II’s have been doing a lot of growing this week as they round their way into the final quarter of a strong leadership development portion of the WILD program. We are proud of the way they continue to apply themselves and respond to challenges, mustering good attitudes in difficult situations, and enjoying themselves along the way.
To get to the point, we’ve had some health obstacles in the staff (but really, just me) which became a blessing in disguise with the addition of our third counselor, Colt Duttweiler (the tallest guy in the Attean group photo down below). Colt got to take my place on the 4 day Bigelow Mountain ridge run, where the group welcomed him and connected with him quickly.
Upon their return, our service project pushed us to work hard as a team. But by the end, we saw what we could accomplish: a transformation from dense jungle-like brush to neat & clean tent sites and miles of smooth walking/biking paths! It was a rewarding process. When we really sat down and de-briefed our experience, there was an overall attitude of thankfulness. The group was glad to feel like their sacrifice of a few days–and a few bug bites–for a totally incredible campsite nestled right at the foot of our camp’s protective mountain face, Boundary Bald, was worth it. They expressed a sentiment of gratitude for being able to give back properly to a place that has meant so much to each of them, as they are confident that the fruit of their labor will be used for the rest of Moose River Outpost’s promising future.
Without wasting any time, our young leaders developed their medical skills the next day by participating in a two day Wilderness First Aid course, taught by our friends at SOLO who kindly came up to Jackman for the duration of the class.
The photo above is from a scenario early on in the course. Needless to say, they all passed with flying colors in the end, enhancing their wilderness leadership by another big step!
After their WFA course, we had a bit more time to process things together. On guys and girls night, the two groups had a blast. The girls made what sounded like an epic slip-and-slide while the guys went over to main camp for some impassioned paintball games.
Next we spent time preparing for our week-long New Hampshire white-water kayak trip next week, practicing our rolls in the pond and adding in some extra fun like practicing fly fishing and wake boarding for the day.
At this point, we’ve finished our solo and begun applying everything we’ve been talking about: it’s apprenticeship week. They’re off to a strong start. Colt, Samantha and I are looking forward to seeing the group grow as individuals, serving campers under the tutelage of the MRO counselors.
As I conclude and head back to monitor/encourage them in their new roles, I look forward to my favorite part of this job, spending time reflecting with each group member individually. One thing I get to do during this week is steal them away when the time is right to debrief what’s going on and offer my best advice. As it can be difficult to always stay completely focused in a big group setting, I really value the insights and wisdom-seeking questions from each of our WILDers when I get moments with them one-on-one, whether on a canoe ride, quick fishing trip, or just sitting on the dock enjoying the incredible scenery.
There’s something about leaving behind all distractions and challenging yourself spiritually alongside 10-12 like-minded individuals that naturally yields the most essential values in life: integrity, resilience, trust, and agape love to mention a few important ones. These are some of the values at the heart of the success of these future MRO leaders. Please pray for them as they reflect on how far they have come and where God wants to take them as they get comfortable working alongside the staff at “main camp” this week. We know that we will continue to be blessed by them, and we appreciate your prayers and support!
Right: Two campers and I enjoy the benefits of waking up at 5am for a quick fishing trip–not a big one, but pretty looking.
Below: The third session’s opening bonfire, which was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, was built by our WILD II team. The picture makes me feel even more like Moose River Outpost is some kind of sequel to the Hobbit.
Thanks for reading!