Congratulations to the Aides on their hard work and completion of the new and improved Aides Experience and Leadership Orientation.
This new program provides a leadership orientation for all incoming Dudley Aides. After the 9-day orientation, Aides return to their cabins and campers better prepared to fulfill their leadership roles. The Aides Experience of the last 10 years focused primarily on building leadership skills through outdoor education. This is only one part of an Aide’s summer. While outdoor experience will continue to play an important part, the new program provides training in the four pillars of daily life at Camp Dudley- Arts, Athletics, Spiritual and Outdoors. It is simply a well-rounded and all-inclusive approach to an Aides’ summer and our effort to better support our youngest leaders.
Aides will arrive 4 days before Opening Day, check in at the office and then head out to the new Aides Leadership Village. The 3 yurts that Camp Dudley purchased last summer have been beautifully reconstructed on a wooded hillside and ridge line in the Stacy Brook Wilderness. The layout of the yurts, trails, outdoor kitchens, and council ring truly create a forest village. The Yurt Village will also, in the future, also be model for environmental sustainability. The Aides will live and sleep at the Yurt Village, taking ownership of this amazing place and program. Click here for a complete itinerary for the first and second sessions.
At the village, the boys will be split up into 3 groups, about 10 boys per yurt, and settle in. The next several days will be filled with small and large group leadership-based activities, a service project building the first elements of the “Ewok village” forest playground at the Yurt Village, and readying themselves to greet parents on opening day. Aides will have the chance to meet with their cabin leadership teams before opening day and to discuss the upcoming summer. They will join their respective cabins for breakfast on opening day, and spend that day shaking parents’ hands, helping campers to settle in, and assisting with the first night vesper.
The following day, the boys will finish preparation for the 3-day expedition portion of their Aides Experience and head into the woods that afternoon. Four small hiking groups will each be paired with two veteran Dudley leaders and Staff. Incoming Aides can look forward to a trip with Bill Harper, Tom Arnold, David Langston (Lang Fu), Bob Langston (Fu 2), Matt Lagnston (FU cubed), Will Kearney, Duncan Campbell, Marlon Fisher or Scott Steen. These very experienced staff members are Dudley’s finest in terms of outdoor education and wilderness safety. All 3 groups will head off to the Adirondacks for 3 days of outdoor adventure and leadership training in the Seward or East Dix Wilderness.
The boys will return to the Yurt Village after the 3-day Expedition for a final day of group activities and individual evaluations in further preparation for the cabin. While the Aides are in the midst of their 10-day orientation, spending much of their time talking about the cabin that they will soon join, the cabins themselves will make sure to support their Aide and to prepare themselves for his upcoming arrival. From D-heads and cabin leaders making visit to the yurts, to shared vesper planning and letters from campers to their Aides, the cabin and Aide will stay connected even while they are out having an amazing time at the Yurt Village and beyond.
For the remaining 3 weeks of the session , each Aide will be back in the cabins with their campers. Aides will take on the traditional role as part of the cabin leadership, beginning by leading a vesper their first night back. These Changes in the orientation to Dudley Leadership will help each boy in the following ways:
- Increase their self-reliance in the outdoors and give them the tools they need to lead cabins and outdoor trips in the future.
- Provide intentional leadership development and leadership tools through a standardized curriculum.
- Provide a set of practical applications, giving Aides a chance to play a larger leadership role on camper hikes and canoe trips and also give them a better understanding of how to help out with the four program pillars.
- Provide each Aide sound leadership mentoring and check-ins throughout the session- including feedback and evaluation in a formal setting so that they will know how they are progressing.