The Senior Leadership Program (SLP) is offered as a four-week and two-week program to campers entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. This program has traditionally been tailored as a four-week format but, as of 2024, we will be offering an abbreviated two-week version for those who want just a sampler of the full program.
Senior campers, regardless of session length, take on a bigger role than the younger campers, offering support on trips as well as in in-camp activities. Additionally, senior campers run their very own activity of their choice for two hours on Saturdays (with a counselor present for support). Seniors are also involved in camp events, such as Rendezvous and other evening activities, which provide an opportunity to practice skills such as goal-setting, organization, and teamwork.
While this program provides assistance for the staff, the senior campers are practicing leadership skills that they can build upon for the rest of their lives. Senior campers attend leadership seminars once a week, where the boys are challenged to think deeply and engage in activities that build upon their leadership skills.
To balance the responsibilities of being a senior camper, they get to go on special outings that serve as a reward for their leadership in camp. These special adventures expose boys to the beauty that surrounds camp and rewards them for all they do.
In addition to the abundant leadership opportunities in camp, senior campers will have the opportunity to plan their own capstone wilderness trip! This opportunity is available to all seniors staying for four-weeks (sessions 1 and 2). Two-week seniors only have the opportunity to go on a capstone trip if they attend the final two weeks of the full four (sessions 4 and 6).
Traditionally, our senior campers have chosen to take on The Grand Portage trip. This trip involves 65 miles of paddling and 4,400 rods (45 miles) of portaging for a grand total of 110 miles in six days - an accomplishment to be proud of! You can read about a recent capstone trip down the Grand Portage here. That being said, seniors have full control over the trip they choose/plan, giving them ownership of their experience. We don't expect each group to choose a trip as daunting as The Grand Portage but we do expect them to work together to craft a meaningful adventure that will challenge them and ultimately leave them with a newfound level of confidence to brave the unknown.
After weeks filled with so many wonderful experiences, Birchwood teens leave with a deeper understanding of what it means and what it takes to be a leader. The Senior Leadership Program is designed to provide a leadership experience that doesn't just look good on a resume but sticks with the camper for life.