This past winter, Casco Bay High School seniors Neil, Clare, and Lizzy collaborated with Hurricane Island Foundation to design and lead a four-day expedition on Hurricane during late spring for sixteen of their fellow high school peers and two chaperones. The expedition was called, “How To Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable In the Outdoors,” and focused on bringing young people together through time spent in the outdoors. The idea came about for their senior project, a great example of how Casco Bay High School’s model as an Expeditionary Learning Mentor School encourages students to engage and take the lead with their learning.
Despite chilly temperatures and a morning waking up to snow, students fully engaged with their surroundings on Hurricane. Neil, Clare, and Lizzy did a great job at creating and leading daily lessons, which included leadership exercises, hiking and exploring the island, learning about Hurricane Island’s history, teaching and implementing Leave No Trace practices, and a two-hour reflective solo.
They also incorporated an element of service learning into their time on Hurricane. Every morning students helped Hurricane staff with various projects around the island including landscaping, building repairs and cleaning, and brush clearing, which proved to be a tremendous help.
During the students’ final night on Hurricane, Neil, Clare, and Lizzy led a reflection circle, prompting students to think about their time on Hurricane, how it was impactful, and what lessons from their experience they hoped to translate into their life back home. Reflections resonated around how grateful they were for the relationships they made with their peers in thanks to the close and connected community that Hurricane Island’s environment encourages. Casco Bay High School’s experience was a great example of how Hurricane Island can be used as a site for implementing tremendous leadership skills and making close connections with your fellow island peers.