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As you hike through the White Mountains, leadership of the group will rotate among the students. During your time as “leader of the day”, you must solve all the problems of outdoor leadership from planning and navigating the day's route to setting up camp at the end of the day. Your challenges will include:
Communicating with and motivating your co-leader and the other people in your group.
Being attuned to the group's safety and needs.
Exercising your skills through role-play scenarios arranged by facilitators.
At the end of your shift, your facilitators will organize a feedback session to consider what you did, what you were trying to accomplish, and how you might have handled things differently. Your fellow students and facilitators will also tell you how they reacted to your leadership.
One of your biggest responsibilities as a student is to be open and candid in your self-assessment and in your feedback to other student leaders. You will also be asked to teach 1 or 2 peer teaching lessons during the program to practice effectively communicating information to your group. In addition, you will likely be asked to participate in role-plays or scenarios wherein you will act a part of setting up a challenging situation for the group leader to manage.
Experiential Learning is the process of making meaning from direct experience. As Aristotle stated, "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." At MLS you will be the leader or co-leader of your group for a half day at least twice during the four day program. You will make the decisions and direct your group towards a common goal. Facilitators will be in the field to watch for the safety of the group and help you reflect on your learning process.
The MLS experience begins on Wednesday with a full day of classroom activities, including:
Meeting your group – seven or eight students and two staff facilitators.
Learning from brief talks – group dynamics, leadership styles, accident prevention, Leave No Trace principles.
Checking your group gear – setting up tents and familiarizing yourself with camp stoves.
Making sure you have the right equipment.
Beginning to lead – facilitators will appoint the first leader and co-leader and they will distribute group gear and plan the first day's hike.
Limited scholarships are available through AMC chapters for volunteer AMC trip leaders. If you are interested, you should contact your chapter chair or the backpacking/activities chair in your chapter.