In June the Chugach National Forest and Alaska Geographic hosted a Leadership Development Kayak Expedition for alumni of previous Chugach Children’s Forest Expeditions. Teens from urban and rural communities across Southcentral Alaska spent six days in Prince William Sound improving their kayak skills, and learning more about way-finding, trip planning, local ecology, natural history, and Leave No Trace principles.
In order to build confidence and self-reliance in the outdoors, the teens took turns as trip navigators. Each day, a new pair of students would work with their trip leaders to plan the day’s paddle. The navigators-in-training made observations about wind and waves, listened to weather reports, checked tide charts, charted courses on maps, and ultimately helped make decisions about when and where the group would paddle. While on the water, the student-navigators lead the way to the day’s destination.