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Hero's Journey® FAQs

Am I eligible for the Hero’s Journey® program if I never attended The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as a camper?

Yes. No prior Hole in the Wall experience is needed or required.

How much does it cost to participate?

The program is free of charge…like all Camp programs! 

How old do I need to be to participate in the Hero’s Journey program?

The age range for the Hero’s Journey program is 16 to 18 years old at the time of your Hero's session.

What are the session dates for summer 2020?

  • Session 1 (General): June 12 to June 18
  • Session 2 (General): June 21 to June 27
  • Session 3 (General): June 30 to July 6
  • Session 4 (General): July 10 to July 16
  • Session 5 (Sibling): July 19 to July 25
  • Session 6 (General): July 29 to August 4

What do the days look like at the Hero’s Journey program?

A big part of the Hero’s Journey® program is experiencing the “unknown”. Participants will not know in advance exactly what they will be doing, nor what time it is. However, each day does follow a general structure that includes cooking, introspective activities, team building programming, wilderness first aid practice, chill/river time, fire council, bed. Each activity can look very different from day-to-day depending on  whether we are at remote campsites or at basecamp. 

Are all of the sessions the same?

All sessions are “General Diagnosis,” except for Session 5, which is for siblings.

Is there a sibling session at the Hero's Journey program?

Yes, our sibling session is session 5 and serves brothers and sisters of current or former campers from either Camp program or Hero's Journey program.

Do I need to be interested in camping or have wilderness experience?

No, this is not a camping or backpacking program, but the outdoors is an important aspect of our programming.

Who is Kurt Hahn and why does he matter to the Hero’s Journey program?

Kurt Hahn was an educator who developed the philosophies that lead to the formation of Outward Bound schools- expeditionary learning programs that were initially designed to help young sailors develop the skills to be successful in harsh environments. His philosophies are critical to the Hero’s Journey program because it inspired the wilderness first aid and search and rescue portion of our program.

What does the wilderness first aid and search and rescue look like and why do we do it?

Each day, we take a few hours to teach Wilderness First Aid and Search and Rescue. These lessons are “experiential”, meaning we teach a skill, and then it is immediately practiced. Most of the material is taught within the first two days, and then it is practiced through staff facilitated scenarios that become progressively more difficult as the week passes Wilderness First Aid and the ideas of Kurt Hahn (the founder of Outward Bound schools) have been pillar of the Hero’s Journey programming from the beginning because of the opportunities for growth it provides to our participants. Participants are able to work together as a group to achieve a collective goal, which is to provide a deep level of care for another. In doing this, participants practice empathy, compassion, communication skills, taking control of a situation, taking initiative, and being able to, as Kurt Hanh said, “act skillfully in the service of others”. The lessons may be foreign and uncomfortable at first, but at the end of the week, the participants feel a sense of mastery, accomplishment, and confidence. These are the skills we hope are taken with them back to their everyday lives when the program ends. There is no need to have any Wilderness First Aid or Search and Rescue experience before coming to Hero’s, in fact, the vast majority of participants do not.

Do we spend the whole time at basecamp?

There are two days in the middle of the week where we split the initial group of sixteen into two groups of eight and go deeper into the “unknown” on the “trail of trails” (according to the Joseph Campbell Hero’s Journey monomyth). These two days involve hiking, camping, wilderness first aid, and search and rescue practice in a more primitive environment. Everyone who comes to our program are approved by our medical staff who know the physical capabilities a participant needs to participate fully in the program.  The hikes and physical aspects of this program are designed with a wide range of capabilities in mind. Everyone who is medically approved to attend Hero’s Journey will be able participate fully in every aspect of the week.

What do I need to bring?

Backpacks and everything needed for living in the woods will be provided. We do ask for the participant to bring proper clothing, footwear for the woods environment and basic toiletries. We will provide a detailed packing list included in the attendance confirmation packet.

Is there a medical presence?

We have two full time nurses and a volunteer nurse in the program at all times. We also have a medical building at our basecamp location to administer and store medications, which includes a propane refrigerator for any medications that need to stay cold.

What if weather is bad?

The Hero’s Journey program is based in the woods, so weather is always a factor for us. However, we continue to run the program rain or shine! We have the appropriate weather gear for participants, and we do not hesitate to evacuate our site if safety is ever in question. It is important for participants to pack not knowing if the week they are attending will be hot, rainy, or a bit of both. Don’t worry, we have a suggested packing list for you to take a look at!

What do meals look like?

Each meal, everyone will be working together throughout the meal prep process. Everyone is split into three groups and each group is assigned to different task each day. These tasks are fire, cooking and prep, and dishes. Meals probably sound very familiar, ranging from pastas and burritos, to hamburgers and hotdogs.

What if I have dietary restrictions or allergies?

Even though we cook all of our meals over an open fire, we are able to account for any dietary restrictions and allergies. We cook all of our food from scratch with plenty of vegetarian options. We also have gluten free cookware and can become a nut free environment from week to week. We do recommend having a conversation with our dietary intern, program coordinator and nurse if there are any very specific needs we need to be aware of and a plan can be made. Food should not limit anyone from applying to the Hero’s Journey program.

Are there electricity and running water at the campsite?

There is no running water or electricity, but there will be plenty of drinkable water at the campsite. 

Are there bathrooms?

Even though we are in the woods, we have facilities. At basecamp, we have two port-a-potties and two dry-flush toilets we have deemed “space toilets”, named after the sound it makes once flushed. We also have port-a-potties at our remote camping locations.

Will I be able to shower?

Participants bathe on opposite sides of the river by gender and with proper bathing suit attire. Hot showers are provided based on medical needs.

What do the sleeping arrangements look like?

You will be sleeping on a cot in an enclosed structure called a yurt. There are two yurts, one for each gender. However, there will be two nights where you will be sleeping in a tent. Bring your pillow!

What animals might I encounter?

We are in the woods, so there are critters. The ones we tend to see the most of are bugs, but don’t worry, we have spray for that. We provide non DEET bug sprays, but if you want something a bit more powerful we suggested spraying clothes with a wash-in Permethrin product before coming. Just make sure you read the instructions on how to use it properly. Ticks are a bug we are especially aware of. We do take precautions at basecamp prior to participants' arrival, but regular tick checks are the best way to stay clean and free of them.

Is the application process the same as when applying to camp?

There is a specific application for the Hero’s Journey program, which is available online

What if I have more questions that are not answered here?

Please feel free to contact Greg Yeager, the Hero’s Journey Program Manager, by email or by phone at (860) 429.3444.