Teens Find Themselves in Nowhere

03/11/2020

Deer Hill Expeditions has been helping teenagers explore the wilderness of themselves in the wilds of the deserts and mountains of the Four Corners Region for 37 years.

View Full Transcript +

LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF TEENAGERS HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES IN NOWHERE, AND A SMALL EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING CENTER IN MANCOS, COLORADO, HAS HELPED THEM TO GET THERE. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. TUCKED AWAY IN WEBER CANYON ABOUT TWO MILES SOUTH OF MANCOS, COLORADO, A SMALL SIGN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD POINTS TO BIG CHANGES AHEAD. DEER HILL EXPEDITIONS HAS BEEN TAKING TEENAGERS ON JOURNEYS OF SELF-EXPLORATION THROUGH WILDERNESS ADVENTURES IN THE CANYONS, RIVERS AND MOUNTAINS OF THE FOUR CORNERS REGION AND THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES WITH LOCAL INDIAN TRIBES. DEER HILL FOUNDERS DOUG AND BEVERLY CAPELIN WERE TWO COLORADO TEACHERS WHO WANTED TO OFFER TEENAGERS AN EXPERIENCE THAT WOULD HELP THEM DEVELOP A STRONG SENSE OF SELF AND THE SELF-CONFIDENCE TO SERVE THEIR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES THROUGH INTERACTIONS WITH NATURE. IN 1983, THEY PURCHASED AN HISTORIC HOMESTEAD SURROUNDED BY A HUNDRED AND SIXTY ACRES SOUTH OF MANCOS, AND IN 1984, THEY OFFERED THEIR FIRST WILDERNESS EXPEDITION. THE ONLY ACCOMMODATIONS AT THEIR NEW HOME WERE AN OLD FARMHOUSE AND A FEW TEEPEES SCATTERED IN THE FIELDS. SINCE THEN, THE DEER HILL BASECAMP HAS GROWN TO INCLUDE A COMMUNITY CENTER, A LODGE AND DINING ROOM, COMMUNITY SHOWERS, AND DORMS . . . ALL THE TYPICAL ACCOMMODATIONS OF A COLORADO SUMMER CAMP. BUT THE PROGRAMMING IS ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL.  EXPEDITIONARY GROUPS OF 12 TO 15 TEENAGERS RANGING IN AGE FROM 13 TO 18 EXPLORE THE WILDERNESS OF THEIR SELVES THROUGH A THREE- TO FOUR-WEEK JOURNEY THAT INCLUDES A RAFT TRIP ON THE COLORADO, GREEN OR SAN JUAN RIVERS; A WEEK-LONG COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM ON THE NAVAJO NATION, ZUNI OR HOPI PUEBLOS; AND A BACKPACKING TRIP IN THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.
WE'RE NOT ABOUT LIKE DOING THE GNARLIEST RIVERS OR CLIMBING THE BIGGEST PEAKS. IT'S REALLY AN EXPEDITION WHERE OUR PARTICIPANTS GET TO KNOW A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THEMSELVES. AND SO, WE FIND THAT THROUGH WILDERNESS AND SERVICE, THAT'S THE BEST WAY THAT WE KNOW HOW TO DO THAT. AND SO WILDERNESS, THERE'S ALL SORTS OF LIKE, YOU KNOW, FROM LEARNING HOW TO COOK IN THE BACK COUNTRY TO CARRYING YOUR OWN WEIGHT ON YOUR PACK, TO UNDERSTANDING WHERE YOU ARE IN THE SOUTHWEST AND NAVIGATING AND THEN WORKING WITHIN A GROUP AND HAVING FUN, BUT ALSO OVERCOMING SOME CHALLENGES LIKE YOU GET TO KNOW YOURSELF. ONE OF DEER HILL'S HALLMARKS IS ITS EMPHASIS ON LEARNING FROM THE DAY'S CHALLENGES THROUGH SELF-REFLECTION, A PROCESS THAT OCCURS DURING TALKING CIRCLES LED BY TRAINED WILDERNESS GUIDES. EACH EXPEDITION MAINTAINS A FOUR-TO-ONE RATIO OF STUDENTS TO ADULTS.
THEN THE SECOND CIRCLE IS WHAT JORDAN WAS TALKING ABOUT IS A LITTLE BIT MORE LIKE FROM THE HEART. AND THAT'S KIND OF SOMETHING THAT WE LIVE BY TOO, IS LIKE SPEAK FROM THE HEART AND LISTEN WITH RESPECT. AND SO ALL OF OUR PARTICIPANTS GET A CHANCE TO SIT IN THAT SECOND CIRCLE AND A TOPIC IS POSED TO THE GROUP BY THE INSTRUCTORS. THE SIMPLEST ONE BEING WHAT WAS YOUR ROSE OF THE DAY? WHAT WAS YOUR THORN OF THE DAY AND WHAT WAS THE BUD OF YOUR DAY? AND SO THE THORN, RIGHT? BEING WHAT WAS NOT SO GREAT, WHAT ARE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT? THE, THE ROSE BEING LIKE WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHLIGHT? AND THEN, YEAH, AND THEN THE BUD BEING LIKE, WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED FOR? YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING, LOOKING TOWARDS? AND SO THAT GIVES OUR PARTICIPANTS A CHANCE TO SPEAK FROM THE HEART AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CIRCLE TO LISTEN WITH RESPECT. IN 1998, THE CAPELINS ESTABLISHED THE DEER HILL FOUNDATION TO RAISE FUNDS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS TO ENSURE THAT TEENAGERS FROM EVERY WALK OF LIFE WOULD HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE WILDERNESS AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THEMSELVES. NEARLY 80 PERCENT OF PARTICIPANTS RECEIVE FINANCIAL SUPPORT.  AND THE FOUNDATION PARTNERS WITH OTHER YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS FROM THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY TO OFFER PROGRAMMING TO STUDENTS AS DIVERSE AS INNER-CITY STUDENTS WHO'VE NEVER SEEN A MOUNTAIN TO ASIAN STUDENTS WHO'VE NEVER SEEN SNOW. OSPREY BACKPACKS, HEADQUARTERED IN CORTEZ,  OFFERS A SCHOLARSHIP FOR LOCAL STUDENTS IN THE REGION. OVER THE YEARS, LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS HAVE LEARNED MORE ABOUT THEMSELVES THROUGH A DEER HILL EXPEDITION, AND TODAY, PARENTS WHO ATTENDED DEER HILL IN THE EIGHTIES AND NINETIES ARE DROPPING OFF THEIR OWN KIDS TO BECOME TRANSFORMED BY THE CULTURES AND ENVIRONMENTS OF THE FOUR CORNERS REGION.
WHAT OUR PARTICIPANTS SPEAK TO A LOT, LIKE ONCE THEY COME HOME OR WITH THEIR PARENTS SPEAK TO AS WELL AS, LIKE, JUST THIS, LIKE, STRONGER SENSE OF SELF AND, LIKE, SENSE OF PLACE IN THE WORLD AND, LIKE BEING ABLE TO SPEND TIME IN NATURE AND JUST, LIKE, REALLY LET GO. LIKE, THEY DON'T HAVE THEIR CELL PHONES. YOU KNOW, LIKE, THIS IS A BIG THING FOR OUR TEENAGERS THESE DAYS IS, LIKE, LEAVING THEIR CELL PHONES AT BASE CAMP. THEY'RE, LIKE, HOLY COW. LIKE, WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT MY CELL PHONE FOR THREE WEEKS? THEN YOU GIVE IT BACK TO THEM AND THEY'RE LIKE, OH, I FEEL SO WEIRD. YOU KNOW, BUT, LIKE,DISCONNECTING FROM SOME OF THOSE, LIKE,SOCIAL ANXIETIES KIDS FEEL SO OFTEN TODAY FOR THAT TIME. AND THEN BEING, BEING IN A SAFE SPACE WITH, WITH FAMILY BY THE END AND, LIKE, WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE FOR THEM TO COME BACK INTO THEIR COMMUNITY AND KNOW, THAT YOU KNOW, THAT THEY'RE IMPORTANT AND KNOW THAT THEY'RE SEEN AND KNOW THAT THEY'RE HEARD. AND THAT THEY HAVE THIS, THIS PLACE IN THIS WORLD AND THEY HAVE, REALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER.DEER HILL BEGINS ITS 37TH SEASON OF EXPEDITIONS ON MARCH 23RD AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH NEXT OCTOBER. LOCAL STUDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY, AND SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON LINE AT DEER HILL EXPEDITIONS DOT COM. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. IF YOU'D LIKE TO SEE THIS STORY AGAIN, VISIT OUR WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN SIGN UP TO HAVE US DELIVER YOUR NEWS DIRECTLY INTO YOUR INBOX. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE FOR THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

PAST DURANGO LOCAL NEWS STORIES

Need more  Local DURANGO News?

Copyright © 2020 Local News Network Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy
Become an Affiliate