The program is built around an intentional, supportive community where participants explore their identity and relations to others as well as to the natural world. Participants have the chance to reflect, ask big questions and get ready for the adult world.
In the words of Eleanor Carr, a 2018 Cojourn Participant, “I found a place with my peers, and I found the person I want to be. Confident, self-assured, but humble and hardworking at the same time. I saw myself for the first time as a normal teenager with the ability to make friends and be liked by other people. I found myself worthy of others’ time, and a leader of others. I found the Cojourn a valuable experience because it taught me to be myself, and it was the perfect in-between for any camper seeking to take a leadership position, especially at Camp.
The specifics of the Cojourn are hard to describe because the program is reinvented by those who are taking part in it each year. The driving principles of the trip are to promote self discovery, build leadership, and cultivate empathy. It is up to us to figure out what that looks like together!
The Cojourn has its origins in a program called the Crystalaire Leadership Program, which ran in 2012 and 2013. Like the Cojourn, the CLP was designed to combine backpacking experience and leadership skills, using the wilderness as equal parts crucible and classroom. The Cojourn, which saw its first iteration in 2014, builds on these goals by emphasizing the agency of participants in crafting their own experience.
Like all of our programs, the Cojourn celebrates creative outdoor play. Because it is geared toward an older and smaller group, participants are granted a lot of necessary freedom to make collective decisions about how the group will spend our time together. You can count on a creative and varied blend of skillbuilding, games, participant-facilitated activities, outdoor exploration, conversation, consensus decision-making, and camaraderie. That said, how things play out will depend on the interests, goals, and personalities of the participants.
There are some aspects of this year’s Cojourn that are already planned: we will have a home base at Camp Carvela in Traverse City; we will take a 3-4 day camping trip during the program, which will be planned collectively by you, the participants; and we will follow a rough daily schedule. The rest will be up to you!