This year two groups of Long Trail Questers hiked 272 miles northbound from Massachusetts to Canada. During our 36 days on the trail we focused on becoming better leaders and learning about ourselves. Here are five things we love about the Questers program.

Lifelong Friendships: Hiking the Long Trail brought us closer as a group and community. Eva Clews (IB ’11-’13, SAM ’15-’16, Questers ’17) recounts, “we were all friends by the end, we supported each other in hard times and celebrated in the awesome moments, making lifelong bonds.”

Confidence in our Outdoor Skills: The majority of the Long Trail Questers trip is camper-led. Campers rotate between chores such as collecting water, hanging food in bear bags, setting up tents, and cooking with a backpacking stove or a real fire. By the end of the trip, each camper had mastered the skills needed for each chore, as well as additional skills such as basic first aid and Leave No Trace practices. “The skills I gained on my Long Trail Quest gave me

the confidence to survive in the wilderness, made me feel more self-sufficient, and I’ve gained the desire to take on future outdoor adventures,” says Jessie Cali (IB ’11-’13, SAM ’14-’15, Questers ’17)

Unplugged & Remote: Hiking the Long Trail surrounded by nature is an amazing experience. “As I was hiking down the trail through trees, rocks, and bushes I became one with the wilderness around me. Being isolated deep in the forest of Vermont is a wonderful place to discover yourself.” Says Zev Breen (BDC ’10- ’12, SAM ’13-’16, Questers ’17).

Overcoming Adversity: On this long journey we faced biting insects, blisters, rain, hot and humid days, and the interpersonal dynamics that come with sharing close quarters, finite quantities of food, and long hiking days. We each learned a lot about compassion and equity, helping each other and working in community to achieve our goals as a united group. We learned to ask for help, listen to each other, and solve challenges using consensus. In many ways this journey was a rite of passage into adulthood.

For Emmett Miller (TL ’13-’14, FC ’15-’16, SAM ’16, Questers ’17), “it was a chance to prove that we were ready for the rights and responsibilities of adulthood.”

If you are going to be 15-17 next summer and you’re looking for an adventure, we’d all encourage you to come join the Quest!

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