“This trip has become landmark in my life. I have met amazing people and learned so much about myself. For me this experience created a microcosm of the community we live in in our everyday life. As we were paddling down the Dumoine River and past Bald Eagle Cliffs I had a revelation. Paddling down the river is much like walking through life. Some days will be rainy and cold, and sometimes the rapids are too big to run but you can always count on the people around you to pull you through in life. Life has the same rain and cold, but I believe this trip has let me appreciate the sunny days that we take for granted. Thanks to you I have been able to look inside myself and see what is truly important to me...”
Ethan, age 17, Westport, NY
“ ... Even though we spend days paddling, portaging and packing and unpacking camp, without cheesecake or soft towels, my summers in the wilderness show me how great my actual life is. The experience makes me appreciate every difficulty I have to go through at home, every stressful task I wish I didn't have to put up with. The people and the atmosphere up here have shown me how to power through everything with what I've got. And I do it consistently with my head held high and my smile shining the brightest it can. I am doing something real, something that makes me stronger, something that makes me smarter, something that makes me more capable -- but most of all something that makes me me.”
Rachel, age 16, Uxbridge, ON
“Our son Jesse left for Langskib on his 11 birthday. He had never been away from his family for more than a couple of days prior to this trip. We, as parents, were nervous for him, not sure how he would handle the physical, social, and emotional challenges confronting him. Two weeks later, when we saw him and his group speed paddling across the lake into Base Camp, we knew his stay was a success. He returned completely comfortable with himself and confident about his abilities. Jesse's experience satisfied not only his desire for fun and adventure, but also gave him an understanding of himself as a person. He learned to live comfortably and co-operatively with others, while meeting many personal challenges. He now has the aura of self control and inner strength. Others in his group all had that same appearance. Jesse left for camp expecting outdoor fun and adventure, he got all of that and returned with so much more. “
Bridgette B. & Bruce M., Westport, NY
“To my mind, the opportunity to attend Northwaters has helped D. immeasurably in a number of discrete ways. I think that DEEP was particularly helpful to him given the challenges he faces at home. His home life has been bedeviled with loss and privation, and there's no question that in his daily life he is frequently tried in ways that most people can't imagine. The loss of his father and other close relatives has left him with markedly fewer positive role models and supportive members of a close community. At Northwaters he has both of those. On this trip he exhibited a clear trend as the trip progressed towards greater self motivation, initiative, and leadership. Especially during difficult portages or extreme weather, of which there was a lot, D. was conscious of his need to place the group first and to adopt a leadership role in many small, but important, tasks.”
Jon Ehrenfeld, trip leader
“On trail M. was happy, and she was so excited about being happy. It was amazing to watch her smile all the time, and enjoy that feeling so deeply...The experiences she has are unique in her year....”
Lhotse Foster, trip leader
“M. learned strategies to work with others in demanding situations where conflict will often arise. Throughout the course of the trip I saw M. learn to stop and think before he responded to another camper in frustrating situations, as well as learn to approach the leaders for help when he needed a strategy to work through a conflict, skills he can take to use in other stressful situations. He gained confidence as his tripping skills improved by leaps and bounds including cooking over a fire, portaging heavy equipment and paddling. He also developed an interest in both the natural and cultural history of the region...”
Kate Prince, trip leader
Where Are They Now?
"I’m Lukas Hagen, I work for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, and I’m a former DEEP scholarship recipient and trip leader at Northwaters Langskib.
I was a participant and staff from 2005-14, and those summers will always be among the best I ever had. My main takeaways were to always leave a place better than the way I found it, to lead by example, be patient and encouraging of others. These ideals lead me to join AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where I served two years, one of them as the Team Leader of a crew of young, optimistic and altruistic individuals, an experience with strong parallels to leading wilderness trips. Instead of leading a group of young folks into the vast, unknown boreal forest to carry wanigans, I was leading them into the vast, known heart of Texas, to repair homes for flood survivors.
Today I use many of the skills I used to build community among my participants when I lead volunteers to build houses. I make sure they see the bigger picture, that they see themselves as a part of a larger whole, and that all of the things they accomplish on our build sites make a difference. I apply the same patience I used to teach a 9-year-old to steer a canoe to teach a dental hygienist how to raise floor trusses."
"Liz Levy is currently living and working in Portland, Oregon. DEEP scholarships allowed Liz to pursue experiences in the wilderness that built her confidence and led her on her educational and career path; while on trail Liz learned both the importance of handing conflict in groups and the communication skills necessary to do so. In June of 2017, she completed a Master's degree in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University, and currently works with justice-involved youth in a restorative justice-based job skills program in Multnomah County. Her time at Northwaters and passion for serving teenagers directly led her towards work that serves some of the most vulnerable youth in her community. She feels lucky to have so much skill and experience with group facilitation as a result of Norhtwaters, and uses circles almost every day in her job."
"Hi, my name is Joshua Ferguson.
I began attending Northwaters & Langskib Wilderness Programs when I was twelve years old. I received my first DEEP scholarship on my leadership trip. I am extremely thankful for the support that DEEP offered me because it allowed me to take the next crucial step towards achieving my life goals.
Currently I am living in Thunder Bay Ontario, and I am a graduate from the Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism program at Lakehead University. I have worked at NWL every summer since my leadership trip. When I am not at NWL I have two jobs, I am a personal support worker for individuals with developmental disabilities, and I work for NWL part time throughout the year working on different projects.
DEEP and NWL have helped shape the person I am today. The experiences that I acquired throughout my time at camp have shaped many major life decisions, and are applicable to my everyday life. Not only in the outdoors where the skills and mindset that I learned at camp provide sound framework for a fun and save adventure, but also in my interpersonal life where I use the communication and conflict resolution skills. I hope to be able to perpetuate the reach and effectiveness of these programs so that more individuals can have access to the same invaluable learning that come from the vision these organizations have."
David Emery- "I feel that my experiences both having worked at NWL and as a participant have profoundly impacted every part of my life. I was a DEEP scholarship recipient for many of the years that I was a participant on NWL trips, without which I would not have been able to attend the trips, eventually become a trip leader, and ultimately serve as a mentor to new staff on the Leadership Program. These trips taught me what it meant to be rigorously honest with myself and others, how to make and keep friends, and most importantly I learned a lot about who I am in my core self.
It was these experiences that propelled me to pursue other lines of experiential learning professionally - I’ve since worked as a facilitator at a high ropes course, worked as a professional staff for a university outdoor adventure program, and also as a year-round instructor for a wilderness therapy company working with at risk youth. Last year I completed my M.A. in Organizational Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego - an interest which I directly connect to my experience and practice of leadership at NWL throughout the years. My time at Northwaters as a guide (and participant) hold a special place in my heart, with experiential education remaining a strong theme in the rest of my life and work. I believe there’s no greater gift than helping a young person discover who they are and who they want to be, and helping them learn to get there."
Chelsea Provost- Receiving a DEEP Scholarship has changed my life completely. That first moment I stepped onto the van to head for camp, and on the docks I started to open up to others around me. I made true friends there. Nobody judged me on what I was wearing, how I acted, or where I came from. The moments there I had a new family where we all cared for one another.
When I came home every summer my mother would see something changed in me. No longer was I the shy child. Now I came home every time with more confidence I attended North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, NY. There I learned more of what I started to learn at camp. I took the confidence I gained from camp with me to push myself on trips canoeing/backpacking for a month in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park. Taking what I learned from attending NWL and applying it toward my studies in college I was rewarded with an A.S. Degree in Wilderness Recreational Leadership.
Who I am today, and what I do now is all thanks to DEEP and NWL in providing me with the chance to do something I would have never been able to do. They helped change who I was for the better, and I am truly grateful for everything they have shown and taught me in my youth.
Stella Boolukos-Brinker- My first trip to Northwaters changed the course of my life and made me fall in love with the outdoors. Without the help from DEEP I wouldn’t have been able to keep going back to the people and places that inspired me and helped me realize the person I want to be today.
Right now I am working as an assistant trip leader for NWL. In the off-season I am studying Expeditionary Studies at my local college, SUNY Plattsburgh after spending a year between high school and college to travel and work.
Because of Northwaters my goal is to introduce people to the outdoors in an ethical way, and bring it to those who don’t have the opportunity to through photography and education. I’m studying to get my BS in Expeditionary Studies and becoming a professional mountain guide, and am planning on minoring in photography and personal training.
Thanks to DEEP I was able to go out and do these incredible trips and learn the things that inspire me.