Why we LOVE Adventure Treks! – Essay Contest Results

AT Staff10 May, 2013

You can feel the excitement at the AT office build as the countdown to summer accelerates. We can’t wait to meet our students for whom we all come together each summer. Boxes of brand new outdoor gear arrive in our warehouse daily and Instructor Joe Sisti has joined us to help organize and divide all the outdoor “toys” you will soon get to play with. Thanks Joe!

We are eager for the magical experiences we hope to facilitate for you this summer – experiences that transcend even the fun of exciting outdoor activities, the beauty of nature, the joy of close friendships and the wonderful feeling of being part of a close-knit community. If you are new to us this summer, we hope like many previous students, you will fall in love with the Adventure Treks program.

We recently held an essay / video contest and asked our students; “Why do you LOVE Adventure Treks?” We received lots of fantastic essays and wanted to share excerpts from  the winners in hopes you too will get to share similar life enhancing experiences this summer.

Congratulations to our three finalists: Hailey Weiss, Izzy Licata, and Lilly Calman. All received a brand new Adventure Treks day pack. Special Kudos to first place winner Darya Farrokhi who received a $150 gift certificate to REI, in addition to her new AT day pack.

Darya’s 1 minute video

Here are excerpts from the three winning essays

I love Adventure Treks so much that I almost don’t want to go. Now, I realize that this makes zero sense, but bear with me. I first had this thought during the summer of 2011, while I sat on a plane from Manchester to Philadelphia, where my parents were waiting to decontaminate me. I had just maneuvered my way down the cramped aisle, returning from my fifth trip to the bathroom in an hour. This was because I desperately needed to replenish my supply of tissues. It felt like the tears just would not stop flowing, as they had yet to slow down at all since I had passed through security barely three hours earlier…

Of course, when I finally arrived home, I was signed up for my next Adventure Treks summer trip within days… But once school started again, I spent a lot of time thinking about just why I had experienced such strong emotions after the trip ended. I had been to a few different summer camps and programs before, but had never felt this passionately before about any of them.

I knew it had a lot to do with the people, both the instructors and the other students. I knew it had a lot to do with the activities, particularly my new found love for whitewater kayaking. But, what it took me until after my second summer at Adventure Treks to learn is that I love it because of who it has helped me to become. I had been worried that by spending the school year at home, I would revert back to my pre-Adventure Treks self. But, when I got to my campsite in Oregon at the start of my second summer, I was happy to learn that the level of comfort I had reached with the Adventure Treks lifestyle had not diminished at all. Adventure Treks made me a more resilient and less materialistic person. It made me a better athlete, a better chef (I credit myself with the invention of the back-country donut), and a better friend. Adventure Treks allows me to be so much of myself in a place that I love, far from materialism… The parts of me that wants to meet new people,  be my completely uninhibited self, and to do and see incredible things, gets to blossom when I am at Adventure Treks. It is rare that a fall, winter, or spring day goes by where I don’t talk to at least one of my Adventure Treks friends. It recently occurred to me that, long after I grow too old for Adventure Treks trips, I will have a built-in set of travel buddies. These people understand a part of me that nobody else ever could…

The instant camaraderie and understanding of the people I have met on Adventure Treks trips has meant the world to me. Meeting these people has changed me for the better. So, at the end of that first trip, I thought the sadness might not be a price I was willing to pay in order to go on another trip. But, in the end, I realized that my reaction means I’ve found my home. Still, to avoid more walks up and down airplane aisles, I now come prepared. I’ve already started stocking up on tissues for my upcoming trip to Alaska.- Haley W. – Philadelphia, PA


The entrance into Caribou Lake, located within California’s Shasta Trinity Alps, is both the summit and descent of a shade-deprived, steep, and jagged ridge that wraps around the proximity of the lake… Once we arrived at the lake, my group and I stopped simply accepting our immersion into this unfamiliar and odorous world, and started to fall in love with it. Enchanted by the beauty around us, I believe we all inexplicably created a tacit pact to reflect through ourselves the beauty that we were observing. In essence, the charm of the land was infectious; we no longer were strangers, but family. We chased frogs through crystal brooks, created innovative yoga postures on the soft grass, and attempted the big “jump and catch” move from Dirty Dancing in the lake (Patrick Swayze makes it look a lot easier than it is!). Among all these memories, one remains most prominent to me: laughter. Sure, I had heard the sound of laughter many times previously, but I had never given it a second thought. I began to love the way my own laughter mixed with that of the people around me. It created a sound so genuine, vibrant, and natural. If the way the sun feels against your cheek could be translated into a sound, I think it would undoubtedly be laughter… I think that, like laughter and many other things, the most wonderful aspects of life are carefree and simple. Who needs cell phones or running water? That day at Caribou Lake gave me a new perspective: I believe that every situation, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult it may seem, may simply be a brilliant experience just waiting to be unwrapped. Izzy – L Burlington, VT


It may be a hard uphill hike, loose rocks, a difficult rock wall to climb, or whatever; I learned I’m strong enough to handle it… I always want to take away these feelings of accomplishment. I survived frostbite, sunburn, intense backpacking, summiting a mountain with a hurt foot, mosquitoes, and the crushing sadness when I remember that I will have to go home at the end. I truly miss all of the students and instructors.

Spending time with AT taught me that I can look inside myself for strength, and I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. There is not a day that goes by where I do not use a skill or a lesson that I learned from my summers with Adventure Treks. I look forward to this summer where I will return to California with one of my best friends. Adventure Treks is an experience that I wish everyone could enjoy, and I will never forget it as long as I live. – Lillian C. – Charlotte, NC

We hope these essays get you even more excited about the upcoming summer. We will now be posting to this blog weekly with content we hope will help you prepare and get excited for the fantastic summer ahead! Don’t hesitate to call us as questions arise. Our Trip Leader Orientation begins June 5…Less than a month to go!

See you soon! Best, Dock


View All Posts