YLA students camping in the North Cascades.

“Why I Do The Work” : A Testimony from Youth Leadership Adventure’s Elle Gasperini

This Article was written by Elle Gasperini. Elle is the newest member of the Youth Leadership Adventures team as our Youth Leadership Coordinator. Enjoy her perspective on why she does the work to engage young people in the outdoors.

I was given the opportunity to go on my first camping trip when I was 15.  It was a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a wilderness area with seemingly endless lakes connected by forests of pines, birch, cedar, aspen, and tamarack.  Travel can only be done by canoe, as the French fur traders and Ojibwe traveled. The paths between lakes are the same ones that have been walked for centuries. The pace that comes with this form of travel forces you to slow down and notice the things around you.  At first glance, all those lakes and trees are a simple landscape, but looking more slowly, there is so much more. So many shades of green and blue, reflections of rocks on water, colorful lichen and wildflowers. Through this slower, simpler pace, I found a connection to the natural world, the people around me, and my own body in a way that I struggle to find in fast paced, every-day life.

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