La Vida Expeditions provide wilderness-based experiences that encourage exploration of one’s personal relationship and commitment to Jesus Christ in the context of Christian community. This 12-day expedition takes place in the Adirondack Mountains of New York which boasts six-million acres filled with sparkling mountain streams, quiet lakes and challenging peaks. It’s the perfect environment for growth, adventure, self-discovery and growing deeper with God. View our photo journal ➔
La Vida Expeditions fulfills the Common Core Requirement. These expeditions are appropriate for anyone who has passed a school physical or a physical conducted by your primary physician. Most students come with no prior camping, canoeing or backpacking experience. The supportive, small-group environment will encourage you to achieve more than you ever dreamed possible.
La Vida helps students prepare for a successful transition into college by building a sense of connectedness and community before they even begin. A strong emphasis is placed on valuing each member of the group for their gifts and abilities which allows the group to encourage each other through challenges on the trail or the water. In the context of the outdoors, students learn how to lead and contribute by challenging themselves to break out of their comfort zone and by spending time alone in God’s Word. Faith is deepened and friendships are formed, setting a firm foundation of support for the college years.
What it Looks Like
Once you arrive to the La Vida Base Camp in Lake Clear, NY, you'll spend a couple days getting to know your group. Team-building activities like games and problem-solving initiatives, as well as the low and high ropes course, prepare the group to work together and face future challenges on the trail or the water. You'll also learn minimum-impact (Leave No Trace) camping skills, and go rock climbing and rappelling. During this phase of the trip, participants are trained with the skills that will allow them to become more self-sufficient later in the trip.
Groups backpack or canoe through the beautiful wilderness of the Adirondack Park and will camp at a different campsite most nights, giving them the chance to hone their outdoor skills acquired during the first few days. Each day, two people are paired together to be the “Leaders of the Day” to practice their leadership in a safe space. At the end of the day, they’ll receive feedback from their group to continue the learning process. Each evening, everyone will enjoy meaningful conversation and have the opportunity to share their life story.
You will canoe or backpack with all your gear as you travel to different campsites. This gear includes your personal gear like your sleeping bag and clothing. You'll carry various layers of clothing to be prepared for rain, heat and cold. You'll also work together to carry the group gear: food, cooking utensils, camping equipment etc. The packs can way between 35-45lbs initially but will get lighter throughout the trip as the food is a majority of the weight. Students should only carry 30% of their body weight, so the group will work together to distribute items as necessary.
Visit our FAQ page to learn more about how to select between hiking or canoeing.
The solo is a 2-day period towards the end of the trip where you will have the opportunity to practice the classic disciplines of solitude, simplicity and silence as well as fasting and prayer. It is a unique chance to step back from the normal distractions of life and evaluate what is important to you, set goals for the future and realize what you are thankful for in your life. Participants are placed approximately 150 feet from each other and given the space to read, journal and spend time in nature while under the close supervision of the La Vida Sherpas.
One element of solo that adds into the experience is fasting. Most people, but not all, do fast on their solo unless they are diabetic, hypoglycemic or have an eating disorder. Your leaders will prepare, support and encourage you to challenge yourself in this experience. They will be checking on you a few times during the day.
The solo experience is managed very closely by the leaders. All students are within a short walking distance of the leaders’ campsite. Students are checked on a minimum of twice a day and are given water and any medications that need to be distributed. Students who are a little more anxious about the experience are placed closer in proximity to the main campsite. Students wear a whistle at all times in case of emergency and are given a strobe light to turn on if they have to blow their whistle in the middle of the night.
All of the expedition groups come back to the La Vida Base Camp property to celebrate what they’ve accomplished. Groups and individuals will be able to share what they’ve learned at our Celebration service and how they plan to incorporate it into their lives at home. The following day, you will complete one last challenge with your group before heading back home.