WLIT’s on Solo
Our 15 WLIT’s (17-year old campers in our Wilderness Leadership in Training Program) have paddled away from Sandy Inlet across the northern arm of Lake Temagami. This is a HUGE element of their leadership program. Each WLIT will, for the first time ever, experience camping, cooking, and campsite management completely alone. Although they travel in pairs and are always within ear shot of their paddling partner, they spend the better part of 3 days alone.
Watching the WLITs’ preparation for their solo’s has been incredible. Each pair has planned a menu, learned to pack their own gear and food, and made their own trip itinerary. This morning each WLIT had to get their trip departure form signed by the various departments here at camp. This included: A medical staff person (when they pick up their first aid kit), the head chef (to double check that they have all of their fresh food), the Trip Director (to check their itinerary, maps, equipment, and dry food), a Camp Director (to make sure they have whistles, a hat, emergency devices, and that they have left their cabin clean) and finally the Camp Administrator (who receives their itinerary for filing, and signs their trip departure form after checking that all other signatures have been collected). This procedure before a trip departs is what every trip leader at Wanapitei goes through before departing camp with campers.
Our director cabin is very close to one of the WLIT cabins. Each night of camp, we can hear them talking, singing, and laughing as we get ourselves ready for slumber. Last night however, they were silent. Woody and I were imagining each WLIT thinking about his/her solo experience the following day. Being self-reliant in a wilderness setting is no small feat. We are proud of each of them and will be thinking of them constantly until we welcome them under the bridge on Sunday afternoon.