This 10-day canoeing and service expedition takes place in the North Woods of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It combines the technical skills of paddling and wilderness travel with your leadership abilities and service ethic during the environmental service component. Each student will discover the feeling of reward that comes of giving of oneself!
This expedition will push you to discover your strengths in an exciting and engaging environment as you canoe and serve in the St. Croix River Valley, which is part of our National Park Service. You will dig deep as you learn what it really means to challenge yourself, be a positive member of a team, problem solve and discover the empowerment that comes from giving back. The STRIVE to SERVE expedition is designed to give each student the confidence and motivation to take the lead in their own lives and understand the strength that comes from giving back.
St. Croix National Wild & Scenic Riverway, WI & MN – This riverway starts as the Namekagon River in Wisconsin’s north woods and flows into the St. Croix River just north of Danbury, Wisconsin and then becomes the border between the two states. You will paddle on the upper section of either the Namekagon or St. Croix Rivers where you will enjoy pristine camping within this national riverway. As you and your crew paddle down the river you will experiencing class I and II rapids. The river expedition concludes near Minnesota’s Interstate State Park near Taylor’s Falls, WI. When you complete the canoeing phase of course you will take your newly discovered skills to a section of the river to complete a service project with the National Park Service or another organization. This service project will be sure to impact thousands for years to come as more and more people discover this watershed that eventually ends at the Gulf of Mexico.
As you and your group canoe and serve, you will perfect your paddling skills, explore your desire to make a difference and tap into your leadership skills. Throughout the expedition you will participate in activities and challenges that create opportunities to build confidence as you push yourself and others to succeed! You will learn technical skills such as paddle strokes, fire building, navigation and leave no trace ethics while at the same time developing interpersonal skills like communication, problem-solving, collaboration, responsibility and goal-setting. Our founder Kurt Hahn often shared that we teach “through” rather than “for” resulting in students gaining skills that are important for today and last well into the future.
This is an introductory experience in paddling and service. Students will travel on the river in two-person canoes and learn to maneuver their canoe team through Class I or II rapids. Early in course you will learn to steer the canoe with confidence by using the “J”, “Pry” and “Sweep” strokes as well as communicating with your paddling partner. After lessons on basic river travel, students will progress to learning about “reading” currents, anticipating obstacles, scouting rapids and working as an effective team to negotiate technical portions of the river. Students will learn about river hydrology, swimming, paddling techniques, camping and expeditionary travel. You will camp each night, pitch your tents, cook and talk over an open fire. While serving the Park Service you will learn about the uniqueness of this river from a different vantage point, its habitats and how a river of this this significance can impact users of all ages for years to come.
During your expedition there will be opportunities to learn geology, environmental ethics and natural history of this environment. Successful completion of your course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion. On your Outward Bound course you will discover what it means when you realize “there is more in you than you think.” We believe when you do, as Hahn stated, “you will be unwilling to settle for less.”
- Canoeing and Water Safety
- Map Reading and Navigation
- Paddling Techniques
- Fire Building and Stove Safety
- Proper use of tools and service equipment
Character Development, Leadership and Service
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. For full fee schedule and process, click here. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee.