By Alumna Dakota Z., Intercept Program
Awakened by the breathtaking sunrise overlooking the St. John’s River, you emerge from your tent anxiously awaiting the day. Since it is the first day on the river, you are unsure of what to expect. You start your day off by meeting in your ,”oh so crafty,” bucket circle and jumping straight into personal hygiene.
Brushing your teeth in the wilderness may be harder than you think…. There is a specific strategy disposing of your toothpaste that seems to be harder for some to pick up on than others. Let’s just say toothpaste stains are very apparent on your day one shirt.
After personal hygiene, you eagerly await to hear which “personal job” the instructors assigned you and what the plan is that day. As a hunter/gatherer (meal preparers) you get the honor to prepare each meal that day for your crew mates and instructors. While everyone else attempts their personal jobs, you then pour way too much granola in everyone’s bowl, unaware of the speed of granola sliding from a plastic bag.
Once meals are prepared, you move on to a special time of the day called Woosah. This time consists of 45 minutes or so dedicated to self-reflection and/or time to appreciate the beautiful campground. You are also able to write in your journal or doodle flowers, many flowers.
After Woosah, you prepare for the first day of canoe school! Your instructors are so stoked to teach you all of the skills needed to be a proficient and confident paddler. Their radiating energy is very contagious, resulting in pumping up your group to get out on the water for the first time!
The instructors enlighten you on the specific terms used describing the boat, the many phrases used on the water, the different strokes used and any other skills needed to thrive. Once you put on your stylish PFDs (life jackets) and load the boats with anything needed, it’s time for the moment you’ve been awaiting!
You choose the stern, the backseat of the canoe, to get a solid grasp on steering the boat. Making that first stroke on the water, a feeling of contentment rushes through you. While paddling along the glistening river, you look around absorbing every little detail of nature. Whether it’s the endless amount of lily pads on the water or the alligator in the distance, you begin to realize you are in for an incredible experience.