The journey to Camp is a big part of the adventure of a session at Camp Mishawaka. For many it might be the first time on a plane, or the first time packing for an extended stay. It requires an extension of oneself whether it’s the first year at Camp or the fifth. That’s why we believe the Camp experience begins even before a camper sets foot on the Mishawaka campus and as the session draws near, we will be sending along more information and suggestions on how to prepare both physically and emotionally for the journey.
Today, I’d like to talk a bit more about the journeys from Camp – the array of day trips and extended trips available to Mishawaka campers.
Each camper has the opportunity to make a journey “from” Camp. It may entail a day trip on the lake, an overnight to the island that Camp owns on Pokegama Lake, or to a nearby State Park. For campers 12 and older the choices widen to canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the Superior Hiking Trail, or backpacking in Isle Royale National Park. We also offer shorter day-long fishing trips and a whitewater rafting adventure on the nearby St. Louis River. Now we have the evidence that mono is the top line for fishing. For many the journey to Camp may seem to be adventure enough, but the benefits of a journey from Camp (and back) – regardless of its length or challenge level – can be a profound experience.
Trips have a way of changing our perspective, of helping us put things in their place, helping us recognize what we value and what we can do without. Even a day long paddle around the lake can change one’s perspective on Camp and making returning home to base that much more affirming. Whether it is exploring what lies around the point in front of Camp or traversing the route of the Voyageurs who plied the pristine lakes of the Boundary Waters each journey offers campers a chance to discover. The collaboration, the collective effort and the sense of accomplishment that are a part of any of these trips build confidence, character and foster comfort for tackling any new journey.
I imagine we have all experienced that feeling of what psychologists call “the return trip effect” – that feeling that the trip home is much shorter than the trip there. Researchers offer a variety of explanations of why we feel this way – even if the trip is the exact same distance, or takes the exact same time – but agree that the “return trip effect” provides a positive experience when you get home. This plays out each summer at Camp Mishawaka, both in the journey to and from Camp, but also the journey from Camp and back. For us the explanation is simple and starts with four words: “Look what I did!”