A Week with Wolves: Day 4

On May 21 2018, Jo Coyle, Marketing & Communications Coordinator of Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School, joined Green Street Academy on their school’s five-day four-night expedition to Michaux State Forest. She documented the physical and emotional growth and journey of Crew C—dubbed “The Wolfpack” by their instructors—a group of eleven 15- to 16-year-old young men as they ventured into the wilderness for the first time.

This photojournalistic blog series explores the challenges and discoveries of these adolescents as they encounter both physical and emotional obstacles, and grow through it with help from their instructors, fellow crewmates, and personal insight.


 

DAY 4

Day 4 is kind of considered the peak of five-day expeditions, in that this is when the crew takes everything they’ve learned during the week and apply it to a day that’s rife with responsibility and independence. The instructors “phase out” for most of the day and let the crew do most everything from preparing meals to determining snack breaks to navigating four miles to the final campsite. It definitely proved to be an amusing day for the instructors and myself, and an educational day for the crew.

As the final full day in the wilderness for the crew, the evening was capped with a pensive campfire circle and a patch ceremony, an event where the crew reflects over the week and evaluate their growth.

 

1. Early in the day we reached what can be considered an oasis in the middle of the woods – Caledonia State Park. Most of the crew ran off to swing sets, public restrooms and the playground, while some chilled at our picnic table for a snack.

 

2. However, it’s up to the crew (with more responsibility given on Day 4) to determine the pace of the day—and the visit at the park takes over two hours. Some of the crew are not very pleased.

 

3. The crew takes a break at Caledonia State Park.

 

4. The visit at the park takes over two hours. Some of the crew are frustrated, eager to get back on the trail.

 

5. After a long break at Caledonia State Park, the crew is met with a long uphill hike. In their rush to the top to make up time, injuries are sustained, forcing the crew to break.

 

6. Rice helps a crew member with a minor knee injury.

 

7. Rice and Kai marvel at the size of a bio bag provided to them, one they needed to bring out here for treating a crew member’s bloody nose and to dispose of tissues.

 

8. A crew member takes a rest while waiting for his nose to stop bleeding.

 

9. Crew wait tiredly for their other mates to get their injuries treated by instructors.

 

10. A photo of a participant after being asked how they are currently feeling. The expression speaks for itself.

 

11. A photo of one of the injured participants after being asked how they are currently feeling. The expression speaks for itself.

 

12. Camp is reached after a long series of uphill hikes.

 

13. The instructors’ tarp setup, reminiscent of a lizard’s face and tongue.

 

14. The location of the crew’s last campfire.

 

15. The campsite is gorgeous and spacious, but the one downside is the amount of spiders. The wolf pack seems to be no match for these creatures.

 

16. In a true display of camaraderie, one of the crew works to hide his crew mate in a hide and seek game. The picture doesn’t show it, but he works diligently to shake the sleeping pad to make sure nothing was visible behind it.

 

17. Kai shows his own creativity in hide and seek as well, not to be outdone by his crew, a few of whom eye him dubiously from his right.

 

18. After an evening of fun, games, incense, great food and chamomile tea, the crew settle in at the campfire for what will prove to be a reflective gathering.

 

19. The last campfire debrief of the expedition is meant to provide an opportunity for the crew to reflect on their personal and group journeys. Facilitated by their instructors, the crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth.

 

20. Something above the campfire catches the crew’s interest — perhaps the instructors’ mention of the sky and stars.

 

21. The crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth, looking pensive.

 

22. The crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth, looking pensive.

 

23. The crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth, looking pensive.

 

24. The crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth, looking pensive.

 

25. The crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth, looking pensive.

 

26. The crew begin to look back on the past week to evaluate their growth, looking pensive.

 

27. The moon the night of the final campfire is full — a perfect environment for a wolf pack to find closure for their expedition.

 

28. After the campfire, the “Patch Ceremony” begins for the crew. This is a final, personal reflection for each crew member guided by the instructors. Based on this reflection, each crew member chooses whether or not to accept their Outward Bound Alumni Patch.

 

29. After the campfire, the “Patch Ceremony” begins for the crew. This is a final, personal reflection for each crew member guided by the instructors. Based on this reflection, each crew member chooses whether or not to accept their Outward Bound Alumni Patch.

 

30. Each crew member is instructed to take a spot around the ring by one of the patches laid on the ground.

 

31. Candles are lit for the ceremony, not just for decorum and light but in honor of Outward Bound’s history. This evening the crew learn that Outward Bound was started in order to help young Navy merchant seamen in World War I, after many of their lives were lost in hostile seas due to lack of survival training and experience.

 

32. The instructors place a patch in each crew member’s hand, instructing them to close their hand if they accept it, and leave it open if they do not. Only one crew member does not accept their patch, stating he believes he needs to do more for his own growth and for his Baltimore community to earn it.

 

33. The ceremony ends poignantly for a crew who have learned a lot over the past four days before they settle in for their last night outside.
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