Expedition Leaders: Who Are They?

By Anne Mead

The most important ingredient to the success of our Adventure Expeditions is our experienced, compassionate, and competent trip leaders. One might call our leaders the “glue” of our programs. They ensure our mission is strong in our activities and safety is always the number one priority. We have high expectations of our staff and carefully select them based on skills, experience, character and leadership capabilities.

Our leaders wear many hats in their roles including facilitator, parent, confident, teacher, participant, and friend. It is their responsibility to provide a safe and loving environment for our expeditioners while they are away from home, and challenge them to test their comfort levels and grow as individuals.

Expedition leadership teams are made up of 2-3 leaders (depending on the trip), with a 1:4 staff to camper ratio. The leadership team is involved in all aspects; meal planning, trip logistics, community building, cooking, safety, backpacking, white water canoeing, and much more while also being “on” 24 hours a day for the trip duration. Needless to say, this requires organization, planning, and enthusiasm.

All of our leaders are a minimum of 22 years old, with the average age being 25. Many of them are educators, artists, scientists, and musicians outside of camp life bringing a multitude of talents to our teams. Each leader is required to have their Wilderness First Responder. This course helps prepare instructors with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote environments.

We are lucky to have a high retention rate with our GRP Expedition Leaders. For 2016, six of our ten leaders are return staff. In addition, two of our new leaders have worked at GRP for the past 2 summers as camp counselors. We are thrilled to have such dedicated and devoted staff members who get excited about working with teenagers.

Prior to our staff working with your children, we conduct an extensive 11-day staff training. Additionally, they go out for a week to scout their respective trip areas and prepare for the expeditioners arrival. Leaders leave training equipped with the tools to help build community, make good decisions, and provide a fabulous experience.