Summer camps for serious outdoorspeople

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 8-14, 1998
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Summer camps for serious outdoorspeople
Question: I am looking for a trip that will challenge the wilderness skills I already have while allowing me to learn new ones. My experience in the outdoors is fairly extensive and I would love to find a camp that not only has new and challenging adventures, but has experienced campers and staff members. I am 19 and in my freshman year of college. At a previous camp I attended, campers were very inexperienced and were there because their parents made them go; I'd like to avoid this.

Ted Phelps
Ithaca, NY

Adventure Adviser: What kinds of wilderness skills are you trying to acquire? Are you interested in mountain climbing, rock climbing, sea kayaking, foraging for your own food, learning wilderness first aid, or learning basic wilderness survival?

Granted, there are some wilderness skills that transcend the sport you choose, but there are dozens of "wilderness" experiences to choose from.

I'd suggest you call a few of the more notable schools in the United States and request catalogs from them. Most of these schools have programs year-round in places all over the world, which will let you choose from a broad geographic range.

Generally these schools are somewhat costly and require a bit of previous experience on the client's part, which should practically eliminate your concern that you'll be with a lot of spoiled kids whose parents are trying to ditch them.

Here are a few schools to consider. Keep in mind each has a unique philosophy, so you'll need to do some reading when you receive their catalogs: National Outdoor Leadership School (307-332-6973), Outward Bound (800-676-2018), American Alpine Institute (360-671-1505), Nantahala Outdoor Center (704-488-2175 ext. 333), Bolder Outdoor Survival School (800-335-7404).

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