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The Youth Educator Intern program is a very important part of Solar Youth. Each fall and spring season, interns participate in a fun and educational outdoor leadership retreat where they learn new skills, experience the outdoors and get to know each other. This experience helps provide a foundation of leadership for the important work to come as they take on the responsibility of working with the younger Stewards in the after-school program.
On January 31st, we set out on our weekend adventure to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Nobile View Outdoor Center in Russel, MA.
We pulled up in the early evening and dinner had already been prepared for us by our Youth Opportunities Program Guide, Nate, although he made it clear, “this is probably the only thing that will be done for you this weekend.”
So we ate until we were full and then moved in and got acclimated to the space. After some free time to explore we set out on a night excursion with no flashlights! During this excursion we engaged in a few activities learning about night vision and what the cones and rods are responsible for in our eyes. We also learned why certain animals have the coats they have and we did some activities that focused on using other senses.
The next day we woke up bright and early to make breakfast. After cleaning up, the Interns were presented with a challenge. A challenge that would test their patience, fortitude, and determination; as well as their communication and problem solving skills.
Object Retrieval is an initiative that lets participants practice the steps of problem solving and it fosters the thought process that some problems might seem impossible to solve but with a little brainstorming and creativity there isn’t much that you can’t accomplish.
The Interns had to retrieve a number of items from the tree without stepping in the circle using only the resources given to them: a rope, harnesses, helmets, a carabiner, and of course, each other. They came out of this challenge victorious!
MAP & COMPASS
It was time to do some hiking on the trails of Nobile View. Before we headed out we did a map & compass lesson with the interns so they could have the necessary skills to successfully lead the charge. And lead they did! The interns led the way to the waterfall without a hitch.
After exploring the waterfall, we headed back to the cabin for dinner followed by s'mores over a campfire, where we took turns telling scary stories. Finally, we headed back to the cabin and got ready for the Intern Talent Show, entertaining each other with singing, dancing, and spoken word.
All in all, the trip was a success. We all had a great time and the Interns learned a lot. They are now ready to take on even bigger challenges as youth leaders!
Written by Harry Jones, Program Director