Apprenticeship Focus Option: Outdoor Leadership & Nature Guiding

Wolf Journey Book 8 Cover Artwork by Joanna Colbert of GaianTarot.comTeens may also apply part-time as CITs

This summer apprenticeship program is available for young people who want to work as outdoor professionals.  Each week of the summer is an intensive training on a different aspect of outdoor education, leading trips and mentoring youth on wilderness survival, ethnobotany, wildlife tracking, ancient scouting skills, traditional crafts, sustainable homesteading, plus optional hunting, fishing, and spiritual retreat. By the end of the summer, you will have the widest professional and practical, hands-on outdoor educational training possible.

Outdoor Leadership & Nature Guides: Full-time for High School & College Grads;
Outdoor Youth Mentor Counselors In Training:
Part-time for Teens;

Benefits of program: 

1) some of the best outdoor educational training available anywhere in the world;

2) apply your mentoring hours toward high school and other volunteer program requirements;

3) eventual eligibility for employment at Wolf Camp and strong recommendations for employment elsewhere.

Part-Time Teen Schedule, Costs & Graduation Requirements (Adults see our full-time Earth Skills Teaching Apprenticeship schedule)

CITs and instructors gather around a set of tracks during a night-tracking teaching scenario.

Teens who are interested in the Outdoor Youth Mentor CIT program should study this page and complete the 20 application questions below.

Here are the part-time schedule options for teens:

June 23-28, 2019 Option: Backcountry Leadership training course is only required to start the Youth Mentoring CIT course if you have never attended an overnight Wolf Camp week in the past. To graduate from the program in future summers, you will eventually need to take an equivalent backpacking / risk management / outdoor leadership course later. If you attend this week of the summer, cost for this course will be $775 plus optional weekend stayover at $100.

June 30 – July 5, 2019 Requirement: Teaching Nature Professionally training course is required if you are accepted into the Outdoor Youth Mentor CIT program, and cost for this course is $775, plus optional weekend stay over at $100.

July 7 – Aug 31 Options:

A) Attend at least one more overnight camp week that you haven’t taken in the past in order to further your skills at $695/camp depending on when you apply, plus optional weekend stay overs at $100 each. 

B) You will also need to assist as a Youth Mentor at a minimum of one overnight camp that you have taken in the past at a price of $100 per camp you mentor. 

C) You will also need to serve as an assistant at a minimum of one kids day camp during the summer which will cost you nothing if you stay at home each night, or $100 per week if you stay with us in the evenings and overnight.

Program Costs:

There is also a $200 application fee. At a bare minimum, your total cost for the summer will be $1,590. You can add:

• more camp weeks at $775 each
• $100 weekend stayovers
• $100 food/facilities fee while mentoring/assisting during additional camp weeks.

Graduation Requirements for Teens: (may be completed over multiple summers)

1) Over the course of your training, attend and/or assist at least one week of Backcountry Leadership Training, Teaching Nature Professionally, Wilderness Survival Trek, Wildlife Safari Tracking, Wild Herbology & Ethnobotany, Ancient Archers & Artisans plus at least one additional week such as Nature & Survival Film Camp, Secrets of the Ancient Scout or the Epic Fishing Camp.

2) Return to assist and excel during at least one overnight camp week in order to specialize in at least one area of outdoor education.

3) Assist at a minimum of four day camp weeks. Must include at least one Wilderness Skills Sampler, one Wilderness Survival Craft, one Wildlife Search & Rescue, and one Wild Cooking & Herbology theme.

4) Become skilled enough as an outdoor educator to the point that you can successfully lead at least one age range of the aforementioned day camp themes.

5) Pass with at least a 90% score on one of the certification evaluations: (Ethnoecology; Ethnobotany; Herbalism; CyberTracker Trailing; Track & Sign)

Teen Application Process (Adults see our main Apprenticeship Application page)

If you meet the Responsibilities of Youth Mentors, detailed in the second half of this page, then call Chris Chisholm at 425-248-0253 or send an email to express your interest and to ask questions. Next, write an application with the following information included:

1) Write clear, concise goals as a Youth Mentor, including your intention to complete what you begin.

2) List your planned schedule, including time at Wolf Camp and time elsewhere this summer, starting with the day school ends and when it starts again in the fall. Use the information under Schedule & Tuition Choices above as a guideline.

3) Expand on the definition of Humble Respect when it comes to treating your peers, elders, and younger children, as described in the “northeast” in the Background section below.

4) What does it mean to really Appreciate your peers, elders, and younger children, expanding on the description of “east” in the Background section below?

5) What are the limitations of Intelligence, Common Sense, and Creativity, if any, when dealing with peers, elders, and younger children, according to the description of “southeast” below?

6) Where do you draw the line between Honesty and Sensitivity when interacting with peers, elders, and younger children? Use the description of “south” below as a guide.

7) In what ways do you react unconsciously in situations, where you need to increase your Will forces when dealing with peers, elders, and younger children? Use the description of “southwest” below as a guide.

8) Where do you draw the line between Unity and personal freedom in relation to peers, elders, and younger children? Use the description of “west” below as a guide.

9) Can you be genuinely interested in peers, elders, and younger children even when you don’t feel like it? If so, give an example, and use the description of “northwest” below as a guide.

10) Give your definition of Love, using the description of “north” below as a guide.

11) What has been your past experience with teaching, organizing or guiding peers, elders, and/or younger children, if any?

12) List all previous outdoor educational training you have received, both personally and institutionally.

13) List all the outdoor skills you know, and to what level you have experience with them:

14) List the outdoor skills you want to continue developing and those that you want to start developing, along with your strategy for each:

15) Include a letter of recommendation from a recent employer, or if you have none, then someone you have done personal work for.

16) Include a letter of recommendation from a recent teacher.

17) Copies of any certifications, degrees, licenses and background checks should also be provided if 18 or older.

18) Read the Expectations & Agreements section below, and write any questions or concerns you have with them. Otherwise, acknowledge that you understand your expectations and agree to abide by Wolf Camp guidelines.

19) Sign and date your application, and note any improvements we should make to this page, the website, or camp in general. Thanks!

20) Email or send the Registration Form (with your legal guardian’s signature) if we don’t already have it on file, and make program deposits by calling with a credit card, or sending a check payable to the Wolf College, and we’ll get you all set up! Deposits will include:

a) $200 non-refundable program application fee for administrative time;
b) $200 minimum deposit for the early summer training week;
c) $200 minimum deposit per new overnight camp;
d) $100 payment for food/facilities per overnight camp you plan to mentor;
e) $100 payment for food/facilities if you plan to live with us during day camp weeks you plan to mentor;
f) $100 payment per weekend stayover.

Youth Mentoring CIT Background

Wolf Camp unofficially started with adult programs during the summer of 1996, and we officially launched summer youth camps in 1997. By 2002, we had our first returning camper (Griz Chambers) who was ready to train as an assistant instructor. Basically, he participated in the apprenticeship program which had started the year prior, and we called his role Youth Mentor. The next year, we had our first Youth Mentor CIT group participate in our training week, and during the second official Youth Mentoring training week, a group of five talented young people (many of whom are now on staff) developed a “medicine wheel” of ethics and responsibilities associated with being a good mentor or role model when helping to guide others into the field.

What we did was to chart those ethics and responsibilities on a wheel. We began posting the ethics and responsibilities in the upper-right area of the wheel and called it the “northeast” because the sun was rising in that direction (it was just after the summer solstice). We decided to place the concepts of humility and respect there, or “humble respect” in the northeast. Without this ethic of humility and/or respect, we can never be open to new possibilities, nor take direction from our elders or listen to our children. In fact, this is the direction in which many people believe our ancestors and “future generations” dwell, the very entities from whom, and for whom, we bother going around this wheel.

Then we agreed to place “appreciation” in the east, initially because we had heard that some members of the Iroquois confederacy talk about “words before all else,” meaning that it is critical to start with an attitude of appreciation, and to speak those sentiments before beginning any journey, meeting, celebration or other endeavor. Appreciation, we also decided, included open-mindedness and acceptance in its definition.

Turning to the “southeast,” we must remember to use our intelligence, which is a combination of our common sense and creativity. As one of the youth mentors pointed out when thinking about assessing a new relationship, we may be initially attracted to people in the east, but it is smart not to spend time alone with them until we thinks critically about whether they will treat us well. In other words, we must choose to think critically after our heart is into something before choosing to proceed.

In the “south,” we placed honesty, but we also liked the concept of sensitivity in that location, so although we decided that it was important to be honest, it was also important to speak the truth with sensitivity toward how our words and work would be received by others. We also thought that it was important to flush out the truth before really getting too far into a project or relationship, thereby helping make it flow as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

When considering the southwest, we realized that we really needed to work hard to accomplish anything, or to work through the difficulties of a project or relationship. We decided that the act of willpower in the “southwest” was an ethic that needed to be developed more in order for us to not succumb to forces that draw us away from our highest good. We can pray and hope that our higher power will keep us from engaging in our vices, but in the end we must try to have the strength to choose the high road ourselves. The more we can develop our will forces, the better we can serve a project or relationship.

The Iroquois again teach us the second of their three “principles of peace,” which is the concept of unity which we placed in the “west.” Since we are dealing with the field of outdoor education, we need to remember to balance our egos and stay united not only with our personal tribe, but also as a confederated set of outdoor educational institutions.

Turning to the northwest, we wanted to remember that it is important to enjoy what we do in the “northwest”, and endeavor to maintain interest in the skills even though we have been working with them for quite some time. In addition, before we can truly love (the ethic we placed in the north), it is critical that we choose to have interest in others In the end, love is a choice and no longer a feeling of infatuation. I have found that choosing to have interest in someone or something is one of the critical aspects in order to achieve true love.

So, in the “north” rests the ultimate achievement: peace and love. Again, we find the Iroquois principles of peace as our standard, that we must hold an uplifted mind of peace. In order to sustain it, as the fallible humans that we are, we must continually do all the other work around the rest of the wheel.

Responsibilities of the Youth Mentor CIT

We decided that we could manifest the ethics of earth skills by enacting the following responsibilities:

1) Ethic of appreciation in the east:  write thank you notes to students who attended courses which we mentored.

2) Ethic of unity: pass around a contact list for students in a group to write their contact information if they wish. Forward the list to each participant who wrote down their information.

3) Southeast, ethic of intelligence: to mentor courses in the following busy season, maintain a 2.5 grade point average (80% or B-/C+) overall, and have no failing grades. Enroll in at least one week of new earth skills training each year, and journal at least 1 chapter of field exercises in Wolf Journey or an equivalent curriculum.

4) South, ethic of sensitive honesty: cannot mentor a program for one year if any significant law is broken except for purposeful civil disobedience.

5) North, ethic of love and peace: in the offseason, be a mentor to someone who looks up to you or form a better relationship with someone you dislike.

6) Southwest, the will to serve: do an earth skills related service project. We could teach a new group of students some skill back home, or do something like a restoration project.

7) Ethic of humble respect: do some service for an elder in our lives, such as a parent, teacher, or other mentor.

Additional Mentoring Philosophy

When visiting the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian around New Years 2008 with Wolf Camp staff members Lorien MacAuley, Scott Fanello, Micah Fay and Andrew Twele, we came across a display about the 7 values inherent in the Anishanabe Nation.  The Anishanabe Nation people are also known as the Chippewa Indians who speak the Ojibwe language, from the area of the country my family is from: the lands surrounding Lake Superior. The museum display gave credit to Garry Raven and Conrad Spence who pointed out the following principles, or values, associated with walking the good road in the Anishanabe way, including:

TRUTH: This value was symbolized, or embodied by, the Turtle in the museum’s display. It was explained that the Creator is Truth, like the Sun is always true, as no one can change it. Truth represents that which never changes.

HONESTY: This value is embodied by the Sasquatch, also known as the Wilderness Man. In the display, honesty was described as having to do with how we see ourselves, that we need to see ourselves accurately in order to achieve health, happiness, and harmony in life. Wilderness Man was described as looking after human life. His honesty encourages ours, and is reflective of how we treat his home: the natural world.

HUMILITY: This value was embodied by Wolf, who teaches us our place, as we put ourselves where we belong in the universe.

COURAGE: Bear represents moral courage, the strength to follow the Way. In other words, it gives us the courage to embody all 7 of the teachings, to responsibly care for our families and each other.

LOVE: Through its love for people, Eagle says that to love someone, you have to love yourself first.

RESPECT: Buffalo

WISDOM: Beaver

You can also begin by making a non-refundable deposit via PayPal: (account not necessary for debit and credit cards; we’ll call or email you with follow-up info asap)
Participant Name & Age:
Cell Phone Number & Anticipated Start Date:

Email us to be put on our our list for this program in the future. We always keep your information absolutely private, and will never share it. 

Refund Policy: Standard deposits ($75 for day programs, $175 for overnight programs) are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit may be required to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in case of natural (weather, geologic, etc) disasters, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it impossible for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. No refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation and homesickness protocol.

We’re looking forward to receiving your application, but feel free to call or email us so we can clarify any questions you have. There is so very much to gain and to give in this program, so we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. – Kim & Chris Chisholm

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