Canoeing and camping in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota
Every other May term, the Physical Education department takes a group of students to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) of Minnesota for a week long self-contained canoe trip. The students gather gear and meet for orientation activities in preparation for the trip. After a seventeen hour bus ride, the class arrives in Ely, Minnesota at the Wilderness Wind base camp. The first several days there are spent in voluntary service, helping the non-profit organization prepare for the summer groups. During this time, students study about the area (history, people animals, plants etc.) and practice canoeing, canoe rescues, reading a compass, using a pack, tying ropes and other useful skills.
Final preparation includes review of the route as well as choosing and packing food for the week. This past year we took two groups out on the water, one led by Goshen College associate professor, Val Hershberger and one led by Mary Ruth Camp from Kidron, Ohio. Mary Ruth Camp is a former canoe trip leader from Wilderness Wind. Gretchen Nyce, Goshen alumus and Wilderness Wind board member, also helped with the 2011 May term trip.
During the trip, participants discuss and reflect on spiritual aspects as well as learn outdoor and leadership skills. Students complete a project on the trip which aligns with their area of study or interest. Projects submitted last year included poetry, art, devotionals, short stories and others.
2013 will be the ninth trip to the BWCA!