♫ We are the shining, golden LITs of Alleghany — we jump around and have fun while we’re learning! We will be leaders soon, and JCs by next June, but for now we are the golden LITs of Alleghany. ♫
— The LIT Song
As you may have seen from our blog posts throughout the previous year, our brand new Leaders-In-Training (LIT) program includes a four-day, three-night wilderness excursion. And on our inaugural wilderness trip this summer, the LITs were able to learn and develop skills like map reading, using a compass, and filtering natural water, all while managing lots and lots of day hiking.
Hitting the Road Less Traveled
For your reading pleasure here’s a review of this summer’s wonderful backwoods trip:
Our girls left on Wednesday, June 26th, and returned on Saturday, June 29th. During this time, they spent their days hiking back and forth to campsites along the Monongahela National Forest.
The LITs were led by a tour guide named Jackie Lambert and one named Erika Vikander, both from the company Experience Learning. Jackie helped the girls hone their wilderness skills and adjust to a pretty dramatic change of lifestyle for a few days! She spoke fondly of the LITs, saying,
We had an amazing time hiking across streams and rivers, up and over mountains, and through grassy meadows with the Alleghany girls. We had master navigators from the LIT pool lead us and even got to listen to a ‘radio’ of all the latest hits while walking along.
Although this was a new experience for many of the girls, they rose to the challenge and their upbeat attitude and willingness to try new things made for a great week in the woods!”
The Heads of LIT, Teresa and Maddie, both shared that they were thrilled to see the growing bond within the group of girls. This first batch of official LITs were able to make the whole trip a wonderful, fun experience.
Upon returning from the forest, and in classic ‘Ghany fashion, the LITs got together in their lovely and rustic treehouse to decompress and discuss their different experiences on the trip. The LITs beamed about the adventure, often saying that the trip encouraged them to grow and bond with each other.
Step Lightly, Step Lively
The athletic experience alone gave the LITs a sense of strength in hiking at least five miles each day. LIT Coleman said,
During the wilderness trip we hikes six to seven miles each day and afterward we all felt very accomplished and empowered. We all carried out own backpacks with supplies in it and it was a really rewarding experience.”
Hiking through streams and under barbed-wire, through to cow pastures with gorgeous views of vast mountains and fields, the LITs sure got a taste of the beauty, majesty, and wonder of nature in all its glory. All of the LITs shared that the sights were almost unreal.
The girls found it helpful to attach keywords to their experience, as provided by the LIT Heads. Words like jovial, thrilling, challenging, and accomplishment were thrown around frequently.
LIT Amelia was moved by the beauty, saying,
The trip gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I enjoyed the opportunity to explore and appreciate nature.”
And LIT Mary said that the most valuable part of her experience was,
Spending time with her best friends in the perfect environment.”
The other LITs agreed — it was doing this trip with each other that made it unforgettable!
In It Together
Overall, their reflections on the trip proved that they were happy for the experience. Many LITs were initially apprehensive about doing something so far out of their comfort zone — hiking long days in the deep forest while learning new skills necessary for a truly natural and off-the-grid experience. But they agreed that this anxiety and fear of an unknown challenge went away because they had each other to rely on!
The goal of the trip was to bond the group in the beginning of the summer so they’d be a stronger team as Leaders-In-Training, and hopefully, in turn, a more bonded, close group of Junior Counselors when the time came next summer.
Since then, we’ve seen so much love and progress between these girls, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that they have each other and these memories forever!
— Bridgett Criswell, Alum and 2019 Staff Photographer, Camp Alleghany for Girls