Forty-five incoming students joined GreenMAP last week for the annual Wilderness Orientation program. This year’s outdoor orientation was a full-value welcome to the communities, places, and culture surrounding Green Mountain College, in addition to a tranquil and wild setting in which to get-to-know other students. Our 15 student volunteer leaders planned throughout the summer to develop courses and storylines in which our participating students find empowerment, build trust, and practice asking for help. “Wilderness Challenge” almost happens without saying; a “Wilderness Orientation” engages all aspects of our students and culture here.
This year’s Wilderness Orientation sent out seven trips in total; three backpacking trips in the Southern Adirondacks (with a day of rock climbing each), one backpacking trip in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness, one backpacking trip on the Long Trail, a canoe traverse of the Northern Adirondacks, and a bikepacking trip leaving from Ames Circle. Among other adventures, our courses spent five days together, cooked community meals together for four nights, stayed with three welcoming community members, had two surprise cookie/creemee stops, and one serenade from across Spring Lake.
All of these programs provide introductions to the community around Green Mountain that thrives year-round. GreenMAP supports adventures for students and community members throughout the year at no cost through educational workshops, walk-in adventures, access to equipment, clothing, transport, and food, and a growing collection of local knowledge and community connections.