How can experiencing something new change you?
Historically, the outdoors has not always been a welcoming or accessible space for women, particularly young women. Since 1944 Camp Nicolet – based in Eagle River, Wisconsin – provides opportunities for youth to find their voice in outdoor spaces. They foster strong female role models by demonstrating that the outdoors is a welcoming arena for women to not only participate, but also to thrive. They are paving the way for wild young women to walk an empowered path in hiking boots!
Isle Royale’s trails hold many stories for campers of past and present as this is Camp Nicolet’s twentieth trip to the park. The 2023 trippers anticipated their arrival to the island for months. Imagine the excitement they must have felt, like many before them, once they finally stepped foot on the trail for the first time. Little did they know they would leave with skinned knees, a sense of stewardship, and hard-earned self-confidence.
With nothing but packs, matching pig-tail braids, and each other they began their journey. After a week of carrying gear, telling stories under the stars, and cheering each other on while navigating their 52-mile trek, not only do these campers feel stronger and more confident in the outdoors, but this trip undoubtedly taught them new skills and forged a connection to this island that will last a lifetime.
Camp Nicolet introduces young people to new wilderness experiences at Isle Royale every season. Each tripper leaves with a different experience, but perhaps, this island has changed them more than they may know.
By Kilee Sipusich, National Park Service – Isle Royale National Park
Edited by Jeremy Starz, Camp Nicolet
Originally Posted – July, 2023