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Class of 2025 kicks off junior year with final Arrow Week in Lander, Wyoming

The+Class+of+2025+gathers+inside+LAX+the+morning+of+Friday%2C+Aug.+25%2C+prior+to+departing+to+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah.+From+there%2C+the+grade+took+an+approximately+six-hour+drive+to+Lander%2C+Wyoming.+Im+really+hopeful+that+we+can+reframe+some+of+the+negative+thoughts+or+the+fears+around+%5BArrow+Week%5D+and+have+students+bond+and+find+some+positive+moments+together+on+the+trail%2C+11th+grade+Dean+of+Culture+Community+and+Belonging+Casey+Huff+said.%C2%A0Photo+by+Casey+Huff.
The Class of 2025 gathers inside LAX the morning of Friday, Aug. 25, prior to departing to Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, the grade took an approximately six-hour drive to Lander, Wyoming. “I’m really hopeful that we can reframe some of the negative thoughts or the fears around [Arrow Week] and have students bond and find some positive moments together on the trail,” 11th grade Dean of Culture Community and Belonging Casey Huff said. Photo by Casey Huff.

Archer’s experiential outdoor education curriculum involves a weeklong backpacking trip in eighth, ninth and 11th grade. Students develop leadership and collaboration skills through camping with their peers and being guided by instructors from National Outdoor Leadership School.

The Class of 2025 is currently backpacking on trails throughout the Wind River Range in Lander, Wyoming, for their last Arrow Week, Aug. 25-Sept. 1.

According to the 11th grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging Casey Huff, the planning process for Arrow Week begins a year prior to the trip and is divided into three parts: contractual and legal components, outreach and enrollment and student preparation. During the week before Arrow Week, juniors attended meetings to prepare for their trip, which included activities to ensure they were up-to-date with the logistics and gear.

Before leaving for Arrow Week, there are usually students, regardless of age, who have negative feelings or are indifferent about the trip overall, Huff said.

“I will say across the board regardless of age or experience, it’s usually a pretty mixed bag of emotions. We have some students who really love the outdoors, and who are experienced campers and backpackers, so they are absolutely thrilled about this trip,” Huff said. “We have students who are terrified and either have never gone backpacking or camping, or have done these NOLS trips and didn’t necessarily have the greatest experience, and they’re carrying that with them.” 

The Class of 2025 did not go on their seventh grade Arrow Week due to COVID-19, but they did attend their ninth grade trip to New Mexico and Utah, where they were divided into groups by the difficulty level they chose for themselves. Junior Mia Vosicher was in the intermediate group and went to New Mexico as a freshman. She said she gained communication skills and bonded with her group.

“I felt relaxed and accomplished because every time we got to a new spot to camp for the night, we would cook together … then spend most of the night stargazing,” Vosicher said. “[Los Angeles] has so much pollution in the air that when you go to New Mexico, the stars look so clear.” 

Junior Bryce Collis also enjoyed her previous Arrow Week trip. When asked to describe the trip, Collis said it was a “fun, frightening adventure.” She said the trip gave her the opportunity to discover her personal leadership style.

I can’t think of a better way to start what is arguably one of the hardest years of high school by other than being out in the beautiful wilderness together without technology present.”

— 11th grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging Casey Huff

“I learned that leadership takes courage,” Collis said. “I learned who I was in a team, what I have to bring and how I can help people in the specific ways I bring to the table.” 

Vosicher said she believes Arrow Week is important because it teaches students leadership, communication and how to cultivate relationships. Additionally, Vosicher said Arrow Week connects to Archer’s values and mission of upholding honesty, integrity and responsibility.

“With Arrow Week, it’s mostly that responsibility portion. Even though you’re in a team, you’re looking out for yourself a lot of the time and learning about yourself. It is just a very reflective experience,” Vosicher said. “I think you learn to take responsibility for yourself and take on certain roles that you may not have ever tried before.”

Similarly, Collis said Arrow Week aligns with Archer’s slogan of being ambitious and joyful. She also said the backpacking trip helps students develop ambition to participate in new activities.

“I think [Arrow Week] goes along with all of the key words in the ambitious and joyful slogan because I was definitely having a lot of fun,” Collis said. “It brought out a unique type of joy for me.”

Huff said she was excited to return to the trail in Wyoming, and that this 11th grade Arrow Week was a unique opportunity for her to connect with students.

“I can’t think of a better way to start what is arguably one of the hardest years of high school by being out in the beautiful wilderness together without technology present,” Huff said. “I’m really hopeful that we can reframe some of the negative thoughts or the fears around [Arrow Week] and have students bond and find some positive moments together on the trail.” 

Collis and Vosicher both said they were looking forward to Arrow Week. Collis prepared by gathering the technical gear, breaking in her boots and maintaining a positive mindset.

“I am so hyped,” Collis said. “I’m really excited because I love getting away from everything, being with my friends and backpacking with really cool instructors.”  

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About the Contributor
Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter
Emily Paschall joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022. She is now a senior reporter. She participates in dance at Archer. She is also a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board and Dance Leadership Team. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to K-pop or Taylor Swift, and playing with her dog.

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