Welcome to Wilderness: What Week One in the Field Looks Like
Those of us who work in this field recognize that it is never an easy choice to send your child away from home for any period of time. With this in mind, it makes sense that we often receive questions from parents surrounding what a child’s first few days at Evoke will entail. Here is an overview!
Upon arrival to Evoke’s office, your student meets the team with whom they will spend the majority of their first day. This team is typically made up of two members of our operations team, who spend time transporting students to and from the field, as well as helping with many other logistics of the day-to-day operations of Evoke.
The first task of the day is to complete a basic sports physical at the doctor’s office to ensure your child is healthy and cleared to participate in the program. Once the doctor’s visit is complete, the team stops to get food from a restaurant of the student’s choosing.
After fueling up on food, the team transitions into the outfitting stage of the day. This is when students receive all the gear they will need to be prepared and comfortable throughout their stay at Evoke. The operators take their time in making sure that everything from the student’s hat to hiking boots fit comfortably. They also look through the student’s backpack together, familiarizing the student with all of their new gear.
Once the outfitting process is complete, the student is ready to head to the field. This whole process can take approximately three to five hours from arrival at the office to the student heading out to the field. After a potentially long travel day, arriving at our office, and experiencing a full day of preparing for the field, your student will finally head out to the field to meet their group.
Upon arrival to the field area, the student has one of their field guides for the week meet them at the road near where the group is camping. Everyone walks from the road over to the group together. The team your child spent the day with will make sure that your student gets settled before saying farewell. The field guides who will be living and caring for your child that week then take the time to introduce themselves and begin to get to know them.
The first 48 hours of most students’ stays are focused on teaching them about the program, how to care for themselves while living outdoors, and letting them observe the group they will be a part of throughout their time at Evoke.
Once students complete a Life Story—a written account of their life—they share this with the group and begin to integrate more fully into daily camp life. This includes beginning to receive daily responsibilities within the group such as cooking, cleaning, filling water, etc. It is intentional that students do not begin having these responsibilities in the first couple of days in the program, as we recognize how overwhelming a transition into wilderness can be.
When a child first arrives to the group, they will also be assigned a peer mentor. This peer mentor is someone who has been in the program for a number of weeks and will help teach the new student all about being in the wilderness. This mentor is meant to be an assigned peer connection that is there to support and relate to your child as they acclimate into being at Evoke.
Throughout a student’s first week, they will begin to learn how to care for themselves in a new environment, experience their first hike, learn some therapeutic tools such as the “I Feel statement,” cook dinner for their group, and have their first therapy session. As we are a dynamic program, the order these things happen vary by the day of the week that a student enters the program. No matter the order that your child experiences these first week events, they will be shown patience and care from our field guides as they adjust to being in a new environment.