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General Questions

What about Safety?
Our primary concern is safety. All activities are developed with specific safety procedures clearly outlined for each area that we visit and for each activity. We carry a comprehensive medical kit on each expedition. Although we value our time spent in the wilderness, we always have the ability to contact emergency services by VHF radio, cellular phone or satellite phone - depending on where we are. Instructors are experienced and competent adults who have proven experience leading safe and successful expeditions. They are skilled at making decisions with safety in mind. All instructors have a minimum of Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician Training. For more technical activities - like whitewater rafting and sailing, we hire additional instructors who are experts in their field.

What kind of experience do I need?
No previous experience is necessary, just a commitment and desire to participate in all activities. All the necessary skills will be taught by your leaders and guides.

What is the Williwaw philosophy?
Our expeditions are designed to provide a safe and meaningful wilderness experience balancing challenging adventure and exploration with fun. We spend time developing outdoor skills, but also focus on the group experience and personal growth. Click here to learn more.

Who will be on the trip?
Maintaining a small group size is important to the trip's overall success. All expeditions consist of a coed group of 10 to 12 young adults who are interested in being a part of an extraordinary wilderness experience.

Are trips grouped by age? Are they coed?
make every effort to group trips according to age and grade completed - usually within 2 or 3 years (e.g., 14-15). All trips are coed and we make efforts to balance the male to female ratio.

What responsibilities do students take on?
In addition to making a commitment to the group and enthusiastically participating in all activities, each student shares group responsibilities on a rotating basis whether serving as the leader, navigator or cook. With the guidance of the instructors, each student has an opportunity to develop his/her leadership skills while taking on the responsibility for the daily operations of the trip.

What is the best expedition for me?
Give us a call and we would be more than happy to discuss what expedition would be the best fit for you. Based on your age and your areas of interest, we can make recommendations. If you are interested in a trip that combines sailing with other wilderness activities - our Maine Wilderness and Pacific Northwest Expedition would be a good fit. If you would like an introduction to the wilderness, we would recommend our New England Explorer and Maine Peaks & Paddles. If you would like to explore the west coast - take a look at our Pacific Coast Expedition or our California Expedition.

Expedition Specific Questions

Who are the leaders?
Your instructors are highly qualified and competent outdoor educators, who genuinely enjoy working with young people. They have wilderness medical training, CPR and lifeguard training, and their average age is 25. Each expedition travels with at least one male and one female instructor, and additional instructors accompany the trip while sailing or whitewater rafting.

Where do we sleep?
When possible, we sleep out under the stars in some truly amazing and beautiful places. When in the backcountry, we always carry lightweight 3 to 4 person tents and, depending on your trip, you may sleep on a sandy beach, an alpine meadow or on a remote sea island. When sailing, we sometimes sleep aboard our sailboats when not camping on an island. When traveling between activities we sometimes stay at state or national park campgrounds.

What do we eat?
With the help of your instructors, you plan and cook our own food. All meals are well-balanced and are well-suited for each activity. When backpacking, we emphasize simple and lightweight food, but it could include chicken stir-fry, burritos, pizza or calzones, pasta or fresh fruits and vegetables.

Are there additional costs?
Trips costs are all inclusive, except travel/airfare to and from the place of origin and personal items. We will pay for food, all activities, entertainment, laundry and showers.

What about showers & laundry?
As you may imagine, we don't have the opportunity to shower or do laundry often. Generally speaking, you can expect to shower 1-3 times on each expedition, between activities. Even when we are in the backcountry, finding a swimming hole is usually possible.

Will we be able to keep in touch with family and friends?
There will be several mail drops over the course of each trip as well as opportunities to make phone calls home between activities.

How do we get around?
We travel between activities in new vans, but every effort is made to minimize travel time.
We often move seamlessly between activities in true expedition style, spending less time loading the van and driving and more time in the wilderness.

How challenging are the trips?
If you are in reasonable physical shape and enthusiastic about participating, you will have an amazing and incredibly positive experience. Our expeditions are carefully planned to be progressively challenging and are designed to balance challenge with fun.

Who sails the boats?
When we are sailing, we are all involved with steering, navigating, performing sail manuevers, anchoring and even docking. Each sailboat is staffed by an experienced, licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain who teaches all the necessary skills to be able to handle our sailboats. Find out why we have exceptional sailing instruction.

How far do we backpack & how heavy are our packs?
Depending on terrain and the point in the trip we are, we backpack between 4 and 12 miles each day. We design our backpacking components to be progressively challenging, but also give us time to explore the area we are traveling through. Packs typically weigh close to 30 lbs. - and we often divide group food and gear based on body size.

Do I have to carry all of my stuff with me?
No! That would make for a heavy pack! For each activity, your instructors will work with you to pack what you need - and the rest of your belongings will be kept in your duffel bag, safely in our van or trailer until you return.

What about spending money?
We recommend no more than $15 spending money per week for film, gifts and postage.

Do you offer financial aid?
We are able to offer full and partial scholarships, based on need.

Do you have an additional question or concern?

E-mail us by clicking here.


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We first began our wilderness adventure program in 2001, with our Maine Wilderness Expedition combining backpacking, sailing, sea kayaking and whitewater rafting. Our adventure camps are truly unique expeditions that balance adventure, exploration and fun. We focus our teen summer camps on creating a fun and positive experience in a small-group setting.

Williwaw Adventures
Searsmont, Maine

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Wilderness Summer Adventure Camp for Teens