I suppose one could call me a “seasoned Ridgey.” I have spent a great deal of time at Wolf Ridge while growing up. I attended my first week of Wolf Ridge summer camp the year I turned eleven. I was small, shy, and awkward. I came to Wolf Ridge in search of genuine friendships, meaningful experiences, positive role models, and of course to have fun. I found exactly what I was looking for, and I never looked back.
Throughout the last twelve years of my life, Wolf Ridge has been extremely influential in my process of growing up, figuring out who I was, and who I wanted to become. Throughout middle school and high school, Wolf Ridge was my summer escape. I found a welcoming community of curious and adventurous minds like my own. I was allowed to let go of the high-stress life at school, hang out in the woods, and be the person who I wanted to be.
I worked my first full-time summer job in 2011 as a Counselor and Assistant Trip Leader for Wolf Ridge. I came back for the summer of 2012. While working at Wolf Ridge, I found an incredible loving and supportive community of people that were committed to facilitating life-changing educational experiences in the outdoors. I was home. After a hiatus of three years, I was quite nervous to come back for the summer of 2015 as a Wilderness Trip Leader. I was nervous about returning to this community after being separated from it for so long, and I was nervous that Wolf Ridge wouldn’t feel like home anymore.
Everything felt oddly familiar as I sped north along highway 61, turned up towards Finland, and then pulled into the Wolf Ridge driveway. I was greeted by the familiar Wolf Ridge sign, and was delighted to see purple lupine flowers blooming at the entrance. I recognized every curve in the driveway, and the color of the dust cloud that was forming behind my car. I paused to examine the new culvert over Sawmill creek by the Stream Study site. As I parked my car by the west dorm and cautiously padded up towards the front door, I recognized the familiar Wolf Ridge scent as well.
My nerves were quickly eased after spending a few days with a few familiar faces and some new faces as well. I realized that I will always be a part of the Wolf Ridge family, and that this place will always be a safe place for me to grow and explore.
Again, I was home.