Testimonials, Summer Wilderness | Earlham College
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— Alan Kesselheim, 1975 graduate of Earlham College and acclaimed outdoor writer


August Wilderness has been featured in a book on the history of outdoor education and several college review publications including a recent story in US News and World Report.


"This program is absolutely amazing! I never expected it to be so incredible the leaders were great and the stories, experiences, and knowledge they were able to add were entertaining and interesting. Fabulous overall."


"I had a wonderful experience. Because of where I am in my life, on the verge of a major transition to college, I needed a reminder of myself and my abilities, which I discovered on solo and in the company of others. I am more excited for Earlham and the new adventures that lie ahead."


"This entire trip was amazing! It was a great way to start college. It was really nice to be with a group of people my own age, doing something that was new to all of us, making new friends and experiencing the wilds of Canada. This entire trip taught me so much about who I am and what I am capable of."

"Even with the passing of time I clearly recall the flavor of wild blueberries and the incredible feeling of a dry sock after a full day of paddling. Once we returned to campus, I clearly remember making eye contact, in the classroom and across campus, with the students who were in my brigade.  Without the need for words we knew we had shared in something special together. If you are considering Earlham and find it a good fit to your learning goals then you should deeply consider igniting your undergraduate career with an August Wilderness adventure." — Peter Blair, Associate Professor of Biology


"In my 18 years of teaching at Earlham College I have had the opportunity to interact with students in a wide variety of settings outside the classroom. However, the bond that is formed with those students that I went with on August Wilderness is a special and lasting one.  I will long remember the conversations, early morning hikes, and late night meals we shared during those three weeks.  It was a time of mutual exploration of the wonder, beauty, and ineffable mystery of the natural world.  I remain grateful for the opportunity to have this kind of experience with students.  It was a transformative time for all of us who shared the journey." — Vince Punzo, Professor of Psychology


"Through August Wilderness, students form strong, lasting relationships with fellow group members and faculty leaders that help them to transition to life in college and at Earlham more easily and more successfully.   Students also build a spirit of adventure, which serves them well both at Earlham and in life beyond college:  they learn to try things outside of their comfort zone; they develop skills that help them to be self-sufficient; they develop (or continue to develop) an appreciation for the natural world; they begin to understand what it means to take calculated risks, and they experience hands-on learning that engages head, body, and heart." — Jennifer Lewis, Associate Director, International Programs

"Among the many outstanding Earlham experiences, the enduring value of the preterm Wilderness Program is among the most powerful examples of what Earlham does best. Our daughter's canoe wilderness experience was transformative! Her sense of confidence, self awareness and enthusiasm have continued to thread through her 1st year experiences in empowering ways. The friendships forged during the Program, the lessons learned while confronting the challenges of the wilderness and the discovery of inner strengths and a tremendous capacity for endurance will sustain her through her 4 years at Earlham and beyond."
— Mary Brunelle Simon

 "For generations, Earlhamites have chosen to start their Earlham experience by testing their limits in the August Wilderness Program. And, for the first time last Saturday, those alumni and current students came together to reminisce, compare experiences, and share stories." Eli Richman


Alumni Testimonials

from the 2013 August Wilderness Alumni reunion

"I appreciate the care the leaders took to craft a program to teach skills and self confidence- an appreciation for nature. I made lasting friendships." - AW Alumni '72

"AW opened my eyes to traveling in nature with groups that have been the basis of the path of work I have chosen and how I spend my personal recreation time. My memories are so vivid and continue to inspire me!" - AW Alumni '85

"It shaped the next 25 years of my life." - AW Alumni & Instructor '84, '85, '87

"It is very special to have an outdoor adventure program integrated into the college experience. The students have an opportunity to develop amazing friendships and develop lasting skills. I have been forever impacted by this program." - AW Alumni '90

"AW was one of the best experiences I had in all my time at Earlham!" - AW Alumni '01

"I believe AW really is a microcosm of Earlham life on campus. Putting the principles of Earlham College into practice. It was the start of a continued passion in and for the outdoors for me. My favorite memory is paddling quietly with another student far ahead of the group and seeing a mother caribou and her baby swim in front of us." - AW Alumni '00


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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.