The Wetfoot Blog

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Their Own Words: Edgar

Edgar was a student in the Schuler Scholar Program who was gracious enough to answer some questions about his experience here with Manito-wish's Leadership Program. Edgar is a recent graduate of Waukegan High School, Waukegan, IL and i s currently attending Dartmouth College. Thanks for the awesome interview Edgar, and good luck at Dartmouth College from the Northwoods!

Tell me about your first experience on trail as a freshman.

Before trail, I was very apprehensive about the being outdoors thing. I had never been canoeing or camping in my life, so being outdoors for 4 days in a row was intimidating, out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t know how I was going to react to it. I didn’t know if I was going to hate it or like it, but as the days went on, I realized that being in the woods was really fun. It was great not having anything to worry about, like electronics or any other distractions. Being in nature with friends who also gained a love and enjoyment of the trail and outdoors experience increased my love for it as well. It was then, in my freshman year, that I began falling in love with nature, and canoeing became one of my passions. I enjoyed being out in the open water, being able to look into the horizon and paddle away not worrying about anything but paddling and the friends that were on trail with me. They became some of my really close friends as the years went on through the experience. Overall, the trip was a bonding opportunity for my group, as well as a chance for learning and growth for me and my love for nature.

Tell me about you feelings on trail now as a Senior Leader.

This time on trail I learned that there is more responsibility as a student leader, and for the trail leaders. I realized that as a leader you have to be thinking about campsites, taking care of the packs, food, and making sure everything is together. I also realized that there is more to the trail experience than just having fun; I didn’t realize all the work that goes into it then, as apposed to now. I enjoyed trail this time around a whole lot more because I kind of knew what to expect. While on trail this time I realized that I would love to be a trail leader. I would love coming back to Camp Manito-wish and be a trip leader for Schuler. On my trips as a senior, my feelings went from the love of nature, to the love of the outdoors, and escalated to a passion for helping others appreciate nature.

How has the Manito-wish experience changed you?

My freshman year at Camp Manito-wish I learned about awareness, teamwork, and really I think the most important part for me was compassion and understanding. I don’t think I put a lot of thought into other people’s feelings before that, but having been a part of John Harrits’ group I learned from him to listen to others ideas and to make sure everyone is being included. We learned how to work together as a team and about all the characteristics that make a good leader. The great leadership base I learned at Manito-wish, I think helped me out later in other leadership roles. Camp creates a nice experience that everyone in the Schuler Program shares, and you can relate more knowing that everyone’s been through it. As a leader in school, I have used many of the lessons I learned at camp.

As a senior, I went back to camp as a student leader. I learned that not all the scholars have the same Manito-wish experience. It’s different for all, and their experiences will vary, and I hadn’t taken that into account. My assumption was that they are were at a similar level. Going back again helped reinforce things I had forgotten, or things that weren’t as prominent. For example awareness was there but not as prominent. This time I was able to see those things and get a better understanding for those ideas. Also, using your resources was another idea I had forgotten. Returning as a senior leader has also helped me learn something new about what I want to do with my future, and as a leader. Working at Manito-wish is something I’m strongly considering.

Would you come back as a Trail Leader for the Schuler Scholar Manito-wish?

Yes, most definitely. I would love to come back and I’m considering coming back after my first year of college. I would love to work as a Schuler trail leader for Leadership, or as a Tripping Assistant or Counselor for Camp Manito-wish’s summer program.

What is next for you?

I will be attending Dartmouth College this upcoming year. Right now, I don’t have a solid major picked out, but I am considering engineering, pre-med, linguistics and international relations. So this first year I’m mainly going to be exploring my options and interests before I choose anything, maybe even an environmental studies class. For the summer I will be looking for an internship or job opportunity, if there is not one that interests me then I’m hoping I can come back to Manito-wish and work here.

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