AIL 2022: The wilderness is the classroom

Once again, we are celebrating the completion of our Adventures In Leadership (AIL) Program by 13 NWC high school students. The week-long event took place June 11-18 and its impact was recognized by the students.

How does it work? Through an intentional partnership between the Northwest Conference and Adventurous Christians. Together we facilitate an eight-day experiential learning adventure in Christian leadership with a defining tagline of: “Servanthood is the beginning and end of Christian leadership!”

We frame the experience in three sections. The first two-and-a-half days involve a base camp training pathway to sharpen both leadership insights, competencies and potentials for each student, along with the necessary skills to negotiate a wilderness canoeing/camping adventure.

The next four days are dedicated to a student-led canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. The canoe trip serves as a wilderness learning laboratory for the students by leveraging the required team dynamics, physical effort and unpredictable elements of wilderness canoeing/camping to maximize leadership growth opportunities from the experience.

By design we provide each student with the chance to lead their group for a portion of the trip in order to personally practice, test and evaluate with their peers what they have been learning about leadership.

The final 24 hours of AIL is dedicated to debriefing the experience and exploring what God may be preparing each student for in the coming weeks and months as leaders.

And speaking of impact, here’s what some of the students had to say:

“I so appreciated all the lessons on leadership provided through AIL. Growth and learning don’t just stop. I need to learn and apply new things daily.” – Dana

“AIL far exceeded my expectations. It was a lot more fun, exciting and meaningful than I expected. I gained greater confidence and a deeper relationship with God through it.” – Noah

“I learned that I am so much stronger than I think I am. I also learned that leadership isn’t all about being the loud, outgoing one. You can be an introvert and be a leader, too.” – Grace

“This program has one purpose: to make Christ-centered leaders. And the program accomplishes its purpose wonderfully.” – Dan

“AIL reinforced how the Bible should be a part of our everyday life and leadership.” – Rosemond

“This experience was great! The leadership training was very good and helped me get a better understanding of myself as a leader. I thought the daily journaling was really beneficial as well.” – Carter

We praise God for His continued hand of protection and blessing upon this unique journey we provide student leaders in our Conference. Congratulations again to our AIL Class of 22!