In September 2011, the junior class headed out to Arizona by bus to experience the first ever Archer- NOLS Arrow Week. We were split up into three groups of about ten people and went off into three different directions to hike. Two groups remained in Arizona, and one group drove five more hours to the New Mexico Gila Wilderness.
Each group spent the next four days and nights hiking their respective mountain ranges and learn- ing all kinds of new things. We learned how to lead a group past major obstacles, cook gourmet meals in the woods, and carry 40-50 pound backpacks up near vertical hills.
NOLS prides itself on producing strong, independent youth leaders that are not afraid to embrace challenges that lie in front of them, no matter how difficult they seem. This trip allowed our grade to bond in separate small groups that, in turn, helped us bond together as a whole when we returned.
Although each person’s experience was different, we all feel a certain attachment to backpacks, one-burner stoves, tents, and water purifiers. We have also learned to appreciate showers like they are rare gems. The juniors are proud to be the first ever NOLS graduates through the Archer Arrow Week program and feel we have emerged as incredibly strong and independent leaders.