Natalie describes TWP’s experience working with the BOEC team as “really good.” They were impressed by BOEC’s willingness to meet them where we are at, as The Woods Project has been trying new things this year. BOEC was good at pivoting when challenges arose, and figured out how best to accommodate and fit The Woods Project goals for the program. There were hiccups with bugs and weather but teamwork between BOEC and TWP staff was key to figuring out how to overcome these challenges.
Skizzi, who worked with TWP as one of her first backcountry trips with BOEC, shares her story, “My experience with the Woods Project was very enjoyable. We spent 10 days canoeing and hiking through Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River in Utah. We learned about the land and the rock formations, how to function as a nomadic community and support one another and our personal needs, and we learned how to travel through wild places, where one must manually propel themselves through that environment, far away from technology and civilization.
Some memorable moments were the water wars we had on the river where the students would all surround one boat and try to splash the captive person (though they never did successfully get me on my kayak.) Dinnertime was also a nice time to check in and laugh or cry about the day’s adventures, while shoveling in good food. “We are living bougie out here,” the students all exclaimed on numerous occasions.
The most challenging part was definitely the blood deprived mosquitos. We had to wear bug suits at most of our campsites, cover our bodies in bug spray, and still our bodies got polka dotted head to toe with the little pests. I remember the one evening when we were eating enchiladas and in really good spirits because there were no bugs present. This was the night of the summer solstice, we had planned to have our talent show, but then out of nowhere the act begins…swarms of mosquitoes cloud the sky, the uninvited guests forced everyone to run into the bug tent, physically hurtling their bodies in, as the rest of us do a countdown and zip the zipper of the tent as fast as humanly possible. The circus had begun. The longest day of the year just got a whole lot longer.”