The Wetfoot Blog

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In Their Own Words: Irvin

Irvin is a Schuler Scholar who participated in the Manito-wish Leaderhsip Program. He sat down with us for a few minuits to talk about his experiences. Irvin is a recent graduate of Waukegan High School, Waukegan, IL and is currently attending Dartmouth College. Thanks for chatting Irvin, and good luck at Dartmouth College from the Northwoods!

Tell me about your first experience on trail as a freshman at Manito-wish.

It was a pretty interesting experience to be honest. I would like to start by saying that my vision was a bit narrow, and I was very narrow-minded. I was not able to visualize my entire surroundings or grasp everything that was going on around me. It took me a while to take everything in, and I took it in slowly. It was a brand new experience for me since I had never gone overnight camping before. I didn’t know how to canoe either, so that was a challenge as well. I was shyer and less outgoing, so I had a difficult time getting to know my trail group. It was very much a learning experience and at the end of the experience I took away many things; I learned how to canoe, learned how to “survive on trail” and I met one of my best friends during trail.

Tell me about you experience on trail as a Senior Leader.

As a senior leader, I was more aware of my surroundings, I was able to witness nature and appreciate nature in a way that I could not do my freshman year. I was more outgoing and I was a better leader which was shown as I led by example rather than words. I was able to talk normally, socialize and become acquainted with everyone more easily. Also the fact that I knew how to canoe helped a lot. My freshman year, I was usually in the back of the group holding everyone up and this year I was able to lead the group. It was refreshing to have experience and to use that experience to help teach freshman.

How has the Manito-wish experience changed you?

It has been a personal life changing experience; I was able to become a better leader as a result of the Schuler Scholar Leadership Program. I have learned when to step back and when to step up. I became aware of others and how they feel in regards to a decision made or to my actions. It made me become a better person and overall I learned how to listen. I learned when to talk and when to listen. The Manito-wish Staff taught me nature survival skills, and I feel that I became a better person because of it.

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

I would love to, it’s something I would love doing during my summer. Because, I’m able to take what I have learned and give it back to other people. Also it’s just nice to be out with nature and enjoying something you love to do while you’re at it.

What is next for you?

In 23 days, I will be a college student at Dartmouth College, and to be honest I really don’t know what comes after those 23 days because I’m undecided as to what I might study. I am thinking about literature, engineering, social sciences, international relations and even economics.

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