Lessons Learned From The Adirondack Leadership Program

By Charlotte Charek, 2016 ALP Participant

I’m not much of an outdoorsy individual. I’m far more likely to “camp” next to a woodstove with a good book. However, going on the Adirondack Leadership Program was one of the best decisions I’ve made, as there are so many things to learn from the experience. The trip is taken with a small group, so that by the end they are like a second family. The hiking and camping can be difficult, but over time you learn teamwork, resilience, resourcefulness, and how to step up and be a leader when needed. You learn how to trust in others, and you learn to trust in God.


During my particular trip, we had a few instances in which we felt like giving up and going home. At one point, we got turned around in a forest, surrounded by mud and swamplands, with no idea what to do next. I remember it being miserable for about five minutes before we all realized that we were fools. We prayed for God’s guidance, and with renewed strength we persevered and He led us right out of there to a beautiful lake. I imagine He was thinking, “Well, it’s about time…” From this experience, we learned how to “take a leap of faith,” which was actually our motto for the trip. We learned that in life, there are going to be some hard times, but you have to learn to trust that God has a plan for you, that He will catch you when you fall. It’s such an important lesson, and one that I know I’m going to carry close all my life.


Another thing that’s really nice about this program is that there’s no technology allowed. With so much of our lives being occupied with phones, computers, and televisions, it’s easy to get lost amidst the buzz. Because of this, my generation tends to get distracted from what really matters. I have to say, when I got my phone back after the trip, I almost wanted to tell my leaders to keep it! Out in the woods, you get to know your group and yourself on a deeper level; the communication and thoughts are allowed to flow uninterrupted without the ring of a phone or the background noise of television. I found myself reaching out and expressing myself to God more, now that I wasn’t constantly looking at a screen.  It’s a nice reminder that God really deserves our full attention, and that sometimes to hear Him we need a little quiet.

I’m so grateful to everyone involved with this program, as it was most definitely a life-changing experience.


The Adirondack Leadership Program is an exciting opportunity for 15-18 year olds. ALP takes place in the Adirondack’s of New York where groups of 6-10 students are led by our staff on a backpacking or canoeing itinerary. It’s the perfect environment for challenge, personal growth, and community.

We are now accepting applications for the 2017 season! Apply today!

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