What if I've never been camping/climbing/kayaking/etc. before?
No problem! Lots of people go on WA with little or no previous outdoor experience. You will have experienced leaders along with your group who will be happy to show you how to live and play comfortably in the woods. Most of the trips are designed with beginners in mind. All we ask is that you come with a good attitude and a willingness to learn. We know not everyone comes from a place where camping in the woods is considered fun or normal. Even though this might be a new experience for you and you may be a little uneasy about sleeping in the woods, we strongly encourage you to try this program. Don't think of it as living in a tent, think of it as a chance to make great friends and get a head start on college. Even if you feel a little nervous now, we know you won't regret it. New challenges are what college is all about, right?
Who will be leading my trip and what will I learn?
Two or three upper-class students who are Outdoor Education staff members lead each Wilderness Adventure trip. All staff complete an extensive nine‐month training program focused on risk management, leadership, teaching, and outdoor skills. Staff members are certified in CPR and Wilderness First Responder, a 72‐hour backcountry medicine course. Wilderness Adventure trips are a unique introduction to both the Colgate community and backcountry travel. Along the way, you’ll learn about navigation, camping, Leave-No-Trace, and more, with the goal of teaching you everything you need to know to be a self--sufficient group. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll also learn about life at Colgate, from classes to campus, from professors to Phys. Ed. credits, or from winters in Hamilton to weekend activities, your leaders are experts at camping and Colgate who are ready to help you figure this whole thing out.
Should I bring my phone/watch/camera/etc.?
Phones are a no go. Before your trip, your leaders will collect your phones (and any other valuables you aren't brining on the trip) and we will store them under lock and key while you are out on your trip. Mobile service is sketchy at best in the Adirondacks, and having your phone will make you more likely to call or chat your friends and family back home, rather than focusing on the people and experiences right in front of you. Your leaders will carry communication technology to be used in case of an emergency, so don't worry about that.
Some WA leaders choose to spend WA "time free," rising with the sun, eating when you are hungry, and sleeping when you are tired. Others prefer keeping to a more precise schedule. This choice is left up to each trip and leader pair. If you need your watch for a specific reason, be sure to let your leaders know when you arrive.
Since you won't have your phone, bringing a small digital or disposable camera is a great way to remember your trip. If you bring a digital camera, we strongly recommend something rugged (water, dust, drop proof and resistant point-and-shoot cameras are relatively common these days). Or, just grab a disposable and store it in a zip lock bag when not in use. If you do bring a camera, we hope you will share some of your photos with us for use in our Family Weekend slideshow!
We couldn't possibly list all the other electronic devices you might bring. The easiest answer is that if it runs on electricity, then you probably shouldn't bring it. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule (like flashlights!), so if you aren't sure, give us a call and ask.
Can I go on a WA trip and another pre-orientation? What if I am a Benton Scholar, International Student, or part of another program that conflicts with WA?
Yes! If you sign up for WA Session 1, you can also go on any other pre-orientation program. This option also works for most of the other programs that take place before regular Orientation, like Benton Scholars, Alumni Memorial Scholars, or International Student Orientation. Please double check the dates for your other program before signing up for WA.
Can I stay on campus between the end of Session 1 and the start of Orientation?
Unfortunately, there is no on-campus housing available during that time period.