Hi again to the probably <5 people who actually read my decreasingly frequent blog posts. I’ve been kind of dreading this one for a while since Loon Lake this year was actually a pretty negative experience for me, plus it’s winter break right now and honestly, I’d rather be sleeping. That being said, I’m still gonna write this with the same effort I usually would, and I’ll write about the good things that happened too. I guess what I’m trying to say is to make sure not to confuse my sarcastic criticism of my own personal experience at Loon Lake with me having a bad attitude about the whole thing and talking trash about the trip in itself. It was fun, I just felt as though there were a lot of things that happened on the trip, some of which were unrelated to the field school, that negatively impacted my experience over the week. Obviously, I’m not going to detail most of them since they involve other peoples’ personal lives and are irrelevant to the learning experience I’m writing about (plus, this is my school blog, not a place to gossip), but I just want to make sure that the reader understands that my negative experience at Loon Lake mainly had to do with factors irrelevant to the learning I did and the field school itself. Anyways, I digress.

So, when we got to Loon Lake we were given our groups and we were introduced to this guy named Jono. Think hipster/naturalist messiah with some Steven R. Covey and Mark Manson sprinkled on top. Throughout the trip he guided us through mostly all of our activities and learning.

The first day we mainly just spent re-familiarizing ourselves with the facilities, doing icebreaker activities and eating. There was a lot of eating. We spend most of the day inside, since there was lots of unpacking to be done and a lot of self reflection and leadership-esque activities we were doing.

Day two started out a little different. We gathered at the edge of the lake to wash our faces in the frigid water and wake ourselves up. We did even more eating (very exciting) and even more discussions. We spent a large portion of the day in the Pan-Abode, which is this big cabin lookin’ building that is kind of used as a community area at Loon Lake. Also, I gotta say, the food at Loon Lake was beyond delicious. Dare I say scrumptious? We spent most of the day doing leadership and team building activities, as well as a scavenger hunt later in the day, which was super fun. I learned how to use a compass to figure out how many degrees to what direction to travel in, which made me felt like I was back in the 1800’s, exploring the New World with Lewis and Clark.

Day three was (at least for me) the most important and pivotal day in the trip. It was incredibly emotionally intense, and by the time we went to sleep, I’m pretty sure the only people on the whole property who hadn’t cried at least once over the course of the day were the kitchen staff, but that’s because they can have as much hot chocolate as they want. Also they weren’t subject to mentally strenuous activities centred around pretty heavy and emotionally triggering topics. We did a high ropes course, learned a lot about each other, and then we did an activity aptly named “crossing the line”. There was an agreement made by everyone in the activity that it wasn’t to be discussed with anyone, so that’s all I’m allowed to say, but it was pretty anxiety inducing and it most certainly went too far. A bunch of other things happened that day too, and the last two days are kind of a blur. It felt like they went by really really fast. On the other hand, after the trust falls we did, the heavy discussions with each other, and the “crossing the line” activity, I have a lot more trust in my fellow classmates than I did before the start of the week. I guess I kind of always thought of the people I didn’t know too well as the background characters in a movie, but It was really eye opening to learn about the stories of some people who I had barely ever talked to before. It felt like we were all a lot closer and more trusting of each other after the activity. At the end of the night, Jono left us to go back home and the teachers did their best to continue with what he had been teaching us. I think they did a really good job.

On day four we ate french toast for breakfast… or was that on day five…? I don’t remember and you probably don’t care, lol. We did a lot of reflection on the events of the previous day, and we went on a long nature hike, which was really incredible. I had a blast on the walk singing Christmas carols with friends and sword fighting with sticks. Yes, part of me is still twelve. It was a great way to clear our minds of the events of day three, particularly the evening, and I had been really wanting to do a walk in the snow. I found some deer tracks and was able to determine that it was an adult and a baby. They were very fresh and going in the same direction that we were walking, so I followed them and ended up spotting the two deer in the distance, which was a really cool feeling. Then in the evening, we had a “private blackjack game” with rocks instead of chips, and we went to bed.

Day five, we only stayed until about 11am, because we were heading back to home. We got to the school around 1 o’clock, and I totally stayed for my 4th class instead of going home, playing ukulele for 15 minutes and then getting all the sleep I missed while at Loon Lake, before waking up at about 10pm and realizing that I had totally screwed up my sleep schedule by going to bed at 2. I’m way too smart to do something that stupid, I swear.

In conclusion, the Loon Lake field school was definitely type 2 fun. I had a blast with friends, but most of the learning only really happened once I reflected on the trip back at home. I feel like what we did up there totally changed the way I look at a bunch of things, for example: problem solving, or knowing when to step back as a leader, which are important skills that I’m happy to have been able to improve. I’m really grateful that I got the chance to have this learning experience, but I wish it was a little different. Maybe two weeks long and a more gradual change into heavy, sensitive topics would’ve worked better for me, but hey, if you find a hundred bucks on the side of the road you don’t think “damn, I wish this was $200 instead.”, you say “woah, a hundred bucks!”. There’s always room for improvement, but I think I got a lot out of the Loon Lake trip, and even though we’ve done it twice now, I’d totally do it again.

Anyways, that’s pretty much it. I hope you enjoyed all 1248 words of this blog post and I’ll see you next time.