From Thursday to Sunday last week we had our Outdoor Leadership Weekend, and I was put into the half of the school that went camping first. My group spent the first day doing team-building activities on the challenge courses. My favorite was one where we had to walk on a wire with a bunch of obstacles holding hands. Later that day, we set up camp on The Point, right on the water. We learned how to process firewood, set up our personal tents with tarps, and made dinner. We also did a mini-solo where we sat alone for an hour at night in preparation for our solos at the end of the month. The next morning, we packed up all of our stuff, made breakfast, and walked back to Chewonki. We then piled into the van and went to Camden Hills for a hike that our group had planned that morning. When we got back, we got to see all of the kids in the other class and spend a night together sharing stories.
On the second half of the weekend, we took Wilderness First Aid classes offered by the WMA. I initially wasn’t looking forward to taking classes on the weekend, but it was one of the best weekends of my life. Our teacher, Eric, was really engaging and funny while also maintaining the seriousness of the class. He told us a lot of crazy stories about working in ambulances and in the ER as a nurse. He also taught us CPR, how to tend to different kinds of wounds, and how to diagnose and treat different ailments that you might encounter while outdoors. We spent a lot of time in class going through scenarios where half of the class would be patients and the other half would have to figure out what they had and come up with treatment plans. At times it felt a little overwhelming but the amount that we all managed to learn in only two days was really inspiring. At the end of the last day, Eric talked to us about the life of a nurse and about working in medical fields.
For me, it was a really eye-opening experience that made me explore different things that I could pursue in the future. I had never before considered what it would be like to work in medicine, I had always written it off because I wasn’t sure that it was something that I was capable of doing. At the end of the weekend, I was tired but still so thankful that I had gotten to learn so many practical skills that could be used to help people in the future.
Devon Young, Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA