Trailblazers Leading the Way

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Camp Miniwanca Trailblazers in canoe wave paddles in celebration

Hey everyone, its Chris Farrar here with a special guest posting! I work at Miniwanca as the Four Trails Program Coordinator. It’s so much fun to work with our trip leaders and campers during the summer and I thought I’d share a few highlights about some of our trips so that you may join in on the excitement. You’ll see me pop up here every week or two approaching summer to share about our different trips.

This week I’d love to share a bit with you about our Trailblazer program (8th grade, 3 weeks). Our Trailblazers have the unique opportunity to experience life at Miniwanca as well as on-trail all in the same session. During the first and last week of a three week session, Trailblazer (TBZ) campers live an act as a regular Junior (Girls) or Challenger (Boys) cabin. From archery to arts and crafts, rest hour to the ropes course, TBZ campers do it all when they are with us here on the dunes of Miniwanca.

Trailblazer girls smile during backpacking trip

The real highlight of a Trailblazer summer comes in the middle week of the session. TBZ campers take off down the trail to get practice and hone the skills that they learned in their 7th grade summer as a Forester. What trail you ask? Miniwanca has the fortune of being just 45 minutes from the North Country Trail. The NCT travels across the northern reaches of the United states from North Dakota to New York and our TBZ ladies and gents hike about 20 miles of the trail. Campers pack all they’ll need into our backpacks and are dropped off at a trail-head for a 3-day/2-night excursion in the Manistee National Forest.

After resting for a night back at camp, our Trailblazer then hop into canoes for their next adventure! Earlier in the session they will have learned basic and more advanced canoeing skills (strokes, rescues, etc) and will put them into practice on an overnight canoe trip on the beautiful White River. The trip group will put in near Hesperia, MI and paddle a day and a half before being picked up just north of Whitehall, MI.

Camper aims arrow at archery

It is always a pleasure to work with the Trailblazer groups and share my love of the outdoors and camping with our newest Four Trails Campers. The energy, curiosity and enthusiasm brought to the experience by the TBZ campers is inspiring to say the least and I look forward to seeing them this summer. I heard great things from Melvin about them as Foresters last year and I expect even more greatness!

That’s our Trailblazer program at a glance. The program is open to all campers heading into 8th grade in the fall and, as is the case with all of our trips, no previous camping experience is required. If you’d like more information about our trips or have questions about a trip that you are taking this summer, please don’t hesitate to contact us or take a look at our programs.