By Nina Plocek, Trips Staff/Coordinator; Rosie McInnes, Sensible Mental Health Person; Megan Chamberlain, Indian Brook Director

The sense of accomplishment and often a newfound perspective that follows spending several nights in the wilderness is unmistakable as campers return to Farm & Wilderness. Some groups even roll in with more energy than they had left with – singing and chanting for days to come…“Did somebody say Monadnock?!”

This summer one Indian Brook first lodger was asked what their favorite part of their trip was, and answered, “almost everything!” They recounted stories about the hauntingly beautiful echo of a loon’s call during their first night on the trail, learning how to identify plants and the relief that comes with arriving at a shelter to make s’mores after hiking in the rain.

Despite the initial wave of apprehension that often accompanies backcountry adventures, campers fondly reflected on their time in the woods with a sense of having overcome challenges and connecting with friends.

We made a special effort this summer to prepare and equip campers with strategies they could use to deal with apprehensive feelings that might come up on trips. We value giving kids experiences that will test their endurance, creativity, problem-solving and teamwork skills. And we also acknowledge that this involves both technical and mental preparation.

Before campers left for trips we offered various workshops and activities that focused on resilience and inner strength, and how to grapple with, acknowledge, and ease anxiety. One of the activities included creating helpful phrases or motivational groundings and several campers took them to the trail:

Everyone has a happy ending. If you are not happy, then it’s not the ending.

I’m the warrior I’ve been waiting for.

Beyond trips, we encouraged campers to use these phrases throughout the summer and we hope this habit will continue into the school year. That makes us feel pretty happy, so this must be a good place for an ending. 🙂

Check out this camper-made Lilly Pad lesson made on an IB trip this past summer:

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