Every camper at Keewaydin gets to take a camping trip each month, either canoeing or hiking, depending on his interest and skills. The youngest boys go on trips that last two to four days, primarily in Vermont State Parks and the Green Mountain National Forest. The middle age groups go on trips ranging from three to seven days in the Adirondacks of New York and the lakes and rivers in New Hampshire and Maine.
Moosalamoo, the wigwam for the oldest boys, is known as the “tripping wigwam.” “Moos” trips, typically ten days in length, travel in rugged territories of northern New England and remote rivers of Quebec, Canada. The most experienced campers go on a seventeen day canoe trip in the Verendrye Wildlife Preserve in Quebec.
Campers leave Dunmore excited by the challenges ahead–canoes to paddle, tents to pitch, fires to build, meals to cook–and, despite wind, rain, or whatever else nature offers, they meet these challenges with their own hands and minds. The joy and pride on their faces when they return from their trip is partly from days of fun and adventure, but also from internal growth and maturation gained from the challenges of life on trip.
While the entire experience of going away to camp engenders self-confidence, it is on these extended camping trips that boys gain a special sense of strength. Above all, they learn to be more independent and self-reliant, on the one hand, and interdependent or group-oriented, on the other. The camp’s motto of “Help the Other Fellow” is never more evident than on trip.
Our son has been singing all week, and is now trying to teach me his favorites from the Keewaydin songbook. I could go on and on about how much he loves camp, about his positive experience at Keewaydin. An example: He went on a canoe trip to Bog River, a tough trip for a little kid. Usually, Luke has to be the best at something or he doesn’t want anything to do with it. And being from Brooklyn, at first, he wasn’t the best in a canoe. But the trip leaders tell me that he dug in, stuck with it, and was paddling stern by the end of the trip. He says it was hard work, but when it was over, he thought every minute of it was amazing. He’s a changed man.”, Paul Braverman, Keewaydin Dunmore Parent
The Wilderness Trip
Boys aged sixteen and seventeen are eligible for Keewaydin’s Wilderness Trip Program. In this program, boys come to camp for three days of trip preparation and training and then head north to Quebec, Canada for a four-week adventure in native Cree territory. Most of the trip takes place on rivers where campers have the opportunity to expand upon their whitewater skills. On these trips boys experience a unique expedition lifestyle and often visit First Nation settlements.
The Wilderness Trip also has a leadership development component. Campers may stay at camp upon their return for two days to work with the younger campers under the direction of a wigwam director. Combining this training component with their canoe tripping experience leads many wilderness trippers to become valued staff steeped in the ways of Keewaydin camping which they pass down to the next generation of campers.