On this course for 16- to 18-year-olds, discover an arid desert where rain rarely falls and gain the skills to start a lifetime of exploring. Wake up and start cooking breakfast on a camp stove, listening for the early-morning sounds of coyote or deer. Learn about the area’s ecology as you climb high ridges and explore ponderosa pine forests. Absorb thousands of years of human history as you come upon artifacts left by the cliff-dwelling Mogollon people. On this course, you’ll backpack in the Gila National Forest, the United States' first designated wilderness, as you develop outdoor skills like minimum-impact camping, map reading, and navigating off-trail.
Leadership will also be a key component of this course. Learning to navigate through a hilly mesa becomes a lesson in decision making, while resolving a group conflict becomes an opportunity to practice communication and learn about group dynamics. Meeting new challenges is your opportunity to set and follow through on goals. By the end of this course, you’ll have the experience to start exploring the wilderness and be a leader no matter where you go.