Kyle is the Teen Program Coordinator at Wildwood. He comes to us from Cedar City, Utah, and holds a degree in Outdoor Education from Southern Utah University. He joined the Wildwood family in 2012 as Ropes Course Director and returned in 2017 full-time as Teen Program Coordinator. With his experience in adventure programming, challenges courses, and leadership he hopes to continue to grow Wildwood’s teen programs. In his spare time he enjoys playing music, rock climbing, watching professional soccer and cooking.
Confident and competent rope work is an essential skill at camp. Whether sailing, camping out, at the ropes course, or just making your unit dope, there are a variety of knots that are useful at camp. There are hundreds of useful knots, but the list below covers almost all of the ones you need to know at camp, so grab a piece of rope and give it a shot!
Bowline: The bowline (pronounced “boh-lin”, like a bow on a gift box plus the name Lynn) is a super versatile knot. With a little practice, it’s quick to tie and easy to untie. Extremely useful for sailing and camping.
Clove Hitch: A useful knot for quickly and securely tying the end (or middle, if you know how to do it) of a rope to just about anything. Useful all over camp.
Figure-8: The mother knot for a whole family of knots. It has limited (but still important) uses by itself, but the other knots in the family are critical on the ropes course. Master this one first and then check out the figure 8 follow-through, 8-on-a-bight, and the Super-8.
Taughtline hitch: A knot for adjusting the tension on a rope, we use this one on the tents in the units and on guy lines for tents and dining flies on campouts.
Truckers Hitch: Probably the most complicated knot you should learn for camp, it’s actually a series of knots. Used for getting tons of tension on a rope, like when making a clothesline or putting up a dining fly. There are many ways to it.
Sheet Bend: A much more secure way than a square knot to join two ends of rope, but still super simple to tie.
Nature needs the next generation of environmental leaders to be ready!
Over the last few years, the teen leadership programs at Wildwood have undergone some changes to better support the Mass Audubon and Wildwood mission. We are excited to announce that going forward our teen leadership program will be called the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). This better reflects the program’s offerings and goals and will help to set it apart from programs offered at other camps. The goal of ELP is to equip and encourage teens entering grades 10+ to be effective environmental advocates and conservation leaders in their homes and communities.
The Environmental Leadership Program will mirror the progressive nature of Leaders-in-Training and Leaders-in-Action programs in a single two-year program.* The first year of the ELP program is a two-week camp experience where participants will learn foundational leadership skills and how to be a leader in any role within a group. Second-year ELPs spend three weeks further developing these skills so each individual can hone their own leadership strengths.
During each session, Wildwood staff will challenge teens to develop their individual leadership and community-building skills and support them as they develop their own voice and style of leadership. ELPs will also focus on an environmental or conservation topic and how they can apply their leadership skills to make a positive impact on the world.
*Note: Second-year ELPs are selected by application and interview. Teens finishing 10th or above this summer are eligible for selection. Prior LIT or Teen Adventure Trip participants are especially encouraged to apply. Contact the Wildwood office at 866-627-2267 or email us for more information.
At the beginning of each session, participants work with their ELP facilitators and each other set goals for their experience together. ELPs will then be involved in team-building activities and workshops that aim to develop their ability to help the group and individuals achieve those goals.
ELPs practice their skills by planning and facilitating a lesson or activity for their peers, helping counselors and camp staff plan and lead an evening program for the camp, and serving as role models for the entire camp community. ELPs may also meet members of the Rindge community, visit other Mass Audubon sites, and explore new habitats.
ELPs take part in a two-night camping trip during which they will plan and implement a day-long hike or other outdoor experience as a group.
As part of the program’s focus on leadership within groups and communities, ELPs will take part in several hours of environmentally focused service. Past service projects include sustainable agriculture at a local farm, trail building for local conservation lands, and invasive species removal for state parks. Wildwood tracks any service hours performed and early in the fall provides a letter to all ELPs documenting their service hours for progress towards honors service hours, graduation requirements, and more.
This trip embraces the challenges of winter and focuses on the outdoor opportunities unique to the season. We’ll explore Mount Monadnock and the White Mountains by snowshoe and learn about the natural world in winter. We’ll sleep in rustic cabins, yurts, and—weather permitting—spend one night in tents to truly experience winter camping. All food and snacks will be provided and participants will learn outdoor cooking skills while taking on a share of camp cooking and cleaning duties.
The week begins at Wildwood where we’ll build and learn new skills, then hone them with a climb up Mount Monadnock and camping in a rustic Yurt village. Each year, we finish the week out by venturing north to explore a different location in the White Mountains.
This year, we’ll head for the Crawford Notch area near the Presidential Range and the Twin Range. We’ll spend a night in a cozy AMC lodge before setting out to put our new skills to the test with two nights of backpacking and summiting snow-covered peaks, including one of New Hampshire’s famed 4,000-footers. We’ll spend the first night in an alpine cabin, accessible only by foot, and wrap up with a night camping on (or under!) the snow.
Last year we had a great time with five teen trekkers summiting peaks and exploring the snow-covered landscape. One teen trekker described the experience as “surreal”, and has continued to get outdoors, accumulating over a month of exploring the outdoors since our trip!
The Trip Leaders
Winter in the Whites is led by fulltime staff from Mass Audubon’s Education Department who have experience guiding and teaching camping, as well as Wilderness First Aid training and experience. If you attend programs at Wildwood or Habitat Education Center you might know this year’s leaders, Kyle Branin and Paul Kelley.
Paul Kelley is the Onsite Education Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary.
He has a Master’s degree in environmental education from Southern Oregon University and has led backpacking trips on the east coast, west coast, and New Zealand.
His passion is to mix adventure education with natural history, creating opportunities that stimulate both body and mind, leading to a wholesome outdoor experience.
Kyle Branin is the Teen Program Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp. He has a Bachelor’s degree in outdoor education from Southern Utah University and is a Leave No Trace Master Educator.
He has taught and guided backpacking trips across the country. Kyle believes backcountry travel offers a unique chance for deep nature immersion and loves facilitating this connection to nature for others while teaching the skills to move through our natural world comfortably and harmoniously.
During the trip, we will also spend time with other Mass Audubon educators and outdoor professionals.
How to Sign Up
You can register online for this exciting trip of a lifetime or call the Wildwood office at 603-899-5589 to sign up—we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
While camp is a great place to learn and grow, it is also a great place to just be silly! One of the many silly things we do at camp is singing silly songs. Here at Wildwood, it is a tradition to begin each mealtime with a song. We also sing at campfires, while we hike, while we work, and really whenever we get the chance! We’ve reached out to some of the Wildwood community about what their favorite silly camp songs are, and here is what they said:
“Topnotcher all the way! It just keeps going and going…the build-up is so great.” Livy P – Camp alumna & Current staffer
“Der Orchestra! It gets everyone involved without being a typical repeat-after-me song.” Kyle Branin – Teen Program Coordinator
“Pizza Man or Ratlan Bog because they’re the best.” Jenn H – Staff alumna“
“There can be only one song!!” (Pizza Man) Matt R – Staff alumnus
“It’s a beach party, because of yelling!” Sarah M – Staff alumna
“Little Red Wagon” Bethany W – Staff alumna
“Ratlan Bog, Sharp Toothed Buzzards was always a favorite, and Baby Shark is clearly going to be massive this year. All three are energetic and inclusive.” Sam B – Staff alumnus
“Oh I have way too many songs, I think the Princess Pat or the Elephant Song are some of my favorites.” Becky Gilles – Camp Director
Have you ever wanted to spend your summer outdoors, hiking, paddling, swimming or camping? Do you love being around kids and want to work with them now or in the future? Do you want to make a difference in the future of our planet through conservation or education? Wildwood gives you an opportunity to do all that and more when you join our amazing seasonal staff!
Wildwood is still building our team for summer camp 2019 and we’re looking for passionate conservationists, educators, and outdoorspeople to fill a variety of roles.
Working at camp is an incredibly rewarding experience for all the reasons above and more: You get to spend a summer in the lovely Monadnock region of New Hampshire on the shores of our beautiful Hubbard Pond; we provide room, board, salary, fantastic training, and more to our summer staff; and most importantly you can make a genuine and lasting difference in the lives of others. The skills you learn at camp—leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, behavior management, communication, and more—are skills and traits that will draw a future employer to your résumé.
We’re still looking for people for a variety of positions,