Expeditions – Far More Than a Field Trip

“Travel opens your heart, broadens your mind and fills your life with stories to tell.”
~ Paula Bendfeldt

As we quickly approach the 6th annual Explore Your World Silent Auction and Fundraiser I want to highlight one of our students and how expeditions have been central to her development as a student, a leader and a young adult.  Northwest Passage High School was started with the belief that education happens beyond the four walls of the school and Lucy is a great example of this philosophy.

Lucy started as a ninth grader at NWPHS and even though she was a bit hesitant she applied and was accepted for the Fiber Arts weekend at Buttermilk Farms in Osceola, WI.  Lucy recalls that “My mother made me a stuffed rabbit for the trip and I was supposed to make a tail out of wool for the rabbit while I was on the expedition.”

After that experience Lucy was hooked, she went on to participate in a Jay Cooke State Park backpacking trip, three MAAP STARS Leadership Retreats, a service learning trip to YMCA Camp Icaghowan, two YMCA Youth in Government experience, and a trip to Iowa to listen to Temple Grandin present at an autism conference.

That wasn’t the end of Lucy’s expedition experiences however, she decided that she wanted to expand on her prior opportunities and apply for a level three trip.  Well not only did she get on one level three trip, she was selected for a second one.

In 2018 Lucy participated in the Women in Sciences expedition to Grand Isle and New Orleans, Louisiana.  Lots of personal growth happens on trips of this nature, and as Lucy describes it this was no exception. This trip was about adapting and finding the positive, anything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong.”  Including snow and freezing rain on the gulf coast. “But I still loved this trip. It was the first time I had been away from home for that long and it was scary, but amazing to really take everything in and not worrying about being home.”

In February of this year Lucy took what will be her last and probably most memorable expedition to Guatemala.  The primary focus of the Guatemala expedition is service learning, and Lucy made the most of it. Going on this trip… honestly made me realize what I want to do. I felt so happy just experiencing another culture, it was so different and yet it seemed so right. People weren’t depressed, they were happy and that’s what made me so happy, because they didn’t really have a reason to be happy.”

Lucy’s Mom Debbie has seen tremendous growth from her,  “Before coming to NWPHS Lucy struggled in school.  It was daunting and stressful at every turn. After enrolling at NWPHS we began to see immediate and impactful changes.  She wanted to go to school. She grew in confidence and began trying things that she would have never considered in the previous school.  She learned to embrace the things that were challenges in life and find ways to grow. Watching her become a leader at the school has been so amazing!  Some of the things that she has done in the last 4 years are things I never thought we would see her do: traveling without a family member present, being involved in Youth In Government, Model UN, MAAP Stars competition, and going to Prom, are just a few examples of things that she would not have done if she had stayed in the large school district.  Ever since Lucy was in kindergarten I would describe her to her teachers as a delicate flower that would wilt more easily than blossom. Some years her flower would blossom a little but there were many years when she did not flower. At NWPHS she has not only blossomed, she has blossomed into a beautiful, strong, and resilient flower. We could not be more proud of her and look forward seeing the foundation put in place at NWPHS propel her into a bright future.”

If you are available please join us on May 4th from 11:30-2:30 to learn more about the transformational experiences that expeditions provide our students and how you can help support these amazing learning opportunities.

“I can’t tell you how much expeditions have changed my life. From the first expedition I went on to the last one I will go on, I have treasured them all. I’m not seeing the world from a computer screen or picture, I’m seeing the world with my own eyes, feeling the lake water spray on my face, Tasting food from other cultures, I’m smelling the spring breeze, And I’m hearing the sounds of New Orleans jazz band. Every single one of senses have helped taught me more than I could ever learn from a book or a computer screen.”  ~ Lucy