One of the most powerful benefits of participating in LandSea is the opportunity make connections with new and current students prior to beginning college. Getting to know the student leaders on trail allows ample time to orient to life at K and get connected to resources and opportunities on campus. Friendships that begin on LandSea are often fundamental to the connections that are made within the first year at the College.
Positive Impacts of Outdoor Orientation Experiences
Participation in outdoor orientation trips like LandSea has been shown to be positively associated with many important factors to student success, including: social connectedness, feelings of belonging, campus involvement, independence, and even increased retention and grade-point averages!
LandSea is one of the most fun ways to earn physical education credit at Kalamazoo College. All Kalamazoo College graduates are required to complete one credit of PE, which is typically fulfilled by participating in five different 0.2 credit PE classes. Students who participate in LandSea will receive 0.2 credits toward their PE requirement.
LandSea takes place in the 6-million-acre Adirondack State Park in northern New York State. Comprising 85 percent of the protected wilderness lands in the Eastern United States, Adirondack State Park has the largest system of hiking trails in the country, 3,000 lakes and ponds, 1,200 miles of rivers, and the state’s highest mountains. Naturally, the Adirondacks are a great place for LandSea, and students will challenge themselves on the rivers, lakes, trails, and peaks of some of the premier wilderness destinations in the Eastern U.S.
There are two trip options: Expedition and Basecamp.
Backpacking and canoeing are the two major components of Expedition. Participants may extend (in distance traveled) the backpacking or canoeing portion of their trip. In addition, each group will have the opportunity to participate in a climb-and-rappel day, a service-and-reflection component (options include up to a 48-hour Solo, group reflection, trail maintenance and service), and finish with a day of rafting.
The Basecamp option is designed for those seeking a group camping experience. Groups of campers sleep in bunks within canvas-covered “tent cabins” for the majority of the trip and have access to pit toilets while at our Massawepie Lake Basecamp. Skill building, such as campcraft, canoeing, hiking and backpacking, will be emphasized. The pace is more casual than on the Expedition trip. There are opportunities for day trips within the 2,000-acre Basecamp and into the Park, as well as expanded service projects. The experience culminates in a three- or four-day overnight trip. Similar to the Expedition, Basecamp groups have the opportunity to participate in a climb-and-rappel day, a service-and-reflection component (options include up to a 48-hour Solo, group reflection, trail maintenance and service), and finish with a day of rafting.
Participants, Leaders and Staff
The group of approximately 60-70 participants will typically be divided into smaller patrols of six to nine, each led by two trained student leaders. Kalamazoo College staff are responsible for the program, training student leaders, and all other logistical and administrative matters. Throughout the program, interactions with the leaders, staff and other participants will provide incoming students with a substantial opportunity to become acquainted with other members of the K community.
A desire to be challenged: Most participants find they are challenged in a variety of ways at different points during the program. Participants should be willing to accept these challenges as well as any inconveniences which may arise.
Physical conditioning: It is important that participants exercise regularly and vigorously prior to the start of the program. Students who prepare by walking while wearing a 20- to 30-pound pack or running three to four times a week at increasing distances, and strengthen their upper body by weight training the summer prior to LandSea are in the best shape to enjoy all aspects of the program.
Proper footwear: It is essential that participants equip themselves with a pair of over-the-ankle, well-fitting hiking boots. These boots should be completely broken in prior to the start of the program in order to avoid physical difficulties and discomfort during the trip. Visit our footwear page to learn more about choosing the proper boots. For more information on what gear to bring, please go to the equipment page.