Trips are a big part of the Kabeyun program – every day, as many as 30 or even 40 campers are out of camp, off on adventures. Our trips focus on wilderness and backcountry exploration and wilderness skills. Like all of the daily activities, trips are available to any boy who chooses to go. On Sundays, the trips for the week are presented and explained, and boys sign up (with guidance) for trips appropriate to their ability. We offer beginner (green – no experience necessary!), intermediate (blue – some experience needed), and advanced (black – experience, ability, and specific skills required) trips ranging from half-day and full-day outings to three, and even four and five day expeditions.
Trips staff help guide boys who are interested in trips towards trips that match their abilities and experience. Just because he's a young camper doesn't mean he can't go on an advanced trip, but it does mean he will need to start off by demonstrating his skill and stamina on beginner or intermediate trips first. With at least four weeks worth of trips to work with, boys have ample time to develop both the desire and ability over the course of the summer.
All trips start the night before departure, with a trip orientation, where the trip leaders gather the campers for their trip after dinner and review safety guidelines, what they will all do to stay both safe and healthy, the route and activities that will be involved on the trip, and the challenges that will be involved. If there is equipment to be checked out from the Trips Room, leaders will issue that and provide a detailed explanation of what needs to be packed. Finally, they will pack the van and make all final preparation for the trip, and it'll be off to bed to rest off before the next day's adventure!
Hiking and Backpacking
Hiking and Backpacking have been central to the Kabeyun program since its beginning. The White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine offer some of the most beautiful mountains in the world and Kabeyun trips travel far and wide following their trails. Backpacking trips sometimes head to the Green Mountains of Vermont or the Adirondacks of New York as well. Groups are small - six boys and two trip leaders - and travel in our camp vans.
Each week there are trips for every level of experience and ability, from one to six days long. Our trips department is stocked with tents, stoves, packs, sleeping pads and all the food required to fulfill the boys' gustatory needs. The only equipment of his own a boy needs to bring is a sleeping bag and a sturdy pair of hiking shoes.
Trip leaders are certified in Wilderness First-Aid as a minimum (an intensive two-day course), but some have been certified as Wilderness First Responders (a nine-day course) and even Wilderness EMTs. Each trip leader is also a Red Cross certified lifeguard.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Canoeing and kayaking instruction begins on the lake in our protected coves, but the real focus of these programs lies on the lakes and rivers of the backcountry. As with hiking, backpacking and climbing, each week there is a selection of trips of varying lengths - one to six days - and different levels of challenge. Over the weeks at Kabeyun a boy can expand his repertoire of hard skills and experiences, seeking challenges that will draw him to the edges of his individual paddling potential.
After learning some fundamental safety and basic strokes in camp, boys interested in kayaking head out of camp to moving water sites appropriate to their particular skill level. Most of the canoeing we do is in the backcountry, on flat water - wilderness lakes, or slow-moving rivers. Boys interested in developing more advanced skills can also take on whitewater like the boys in the photograph.
Like all our trips, the group size for paddling excursions is small, six boys with two co-leaders. Our trip leaders are experienced in their particular sport and certified in Wilderness First-Aid as a minimum, and all are Red Cross certified lifeguards. In or out of camp, the focus is on skill development and our trip leaders are also American Canoe Association certified instructors (a three-day instructor certification course). Both paddle programs give boys opportunities to set short-term goals and work through sets of skills, achieving ratings to mark their progress.
New Hampshire has some world-renowned climbing spots and our climbing program draws boys of all ability levels to their granite faces. Though we have a small climbing wall in camp, the real focus of this program is trips and climbing real rock. Even the most dramatic cliffs have sections for beginners where the boys can have the exhilaratring sense of mountain heights while working up climbs chosen for the particular ability level of the group.
Kabeyun's rock climbing is well-supplied with the best equipment, from helmets, to ropes, harnesses and carabiners. Our trip leaders have a broad range of experience as well as training in top-rope site management and high angle rescue techniques. As with all other trip leaders, they are certified in Wilderness First-Aid as a minimum (some are Wilderness First Responders, and may even be Wilderness EMTs), and as Red Cross Lifeguards. We have a good supply of climbing shoes so the boys can have the experience of climbing like the pro's; no special equipment is needed beyond a sleeping bag for overnights and a willingness to try.
Fishing has always been popular at Kabeyun because Lake Winnipesaukee is an angling hot-spot. But we also hire a second fishing counselor so we can offer out-of-camp trips. Boys have the chance to head out on day trips to nearby ponds and marshes that host pickerel, perch and bass; day and overnight excursions to lakes and rivers throughout New Hampshire and Maine for both bait and fly fishing. If we're lucky, we also have the chance for exciting ocean fishing for striped bass.
As described elsewhere, sailing is a centerpiece of the Kabeyun program. Because the number of available campsites on Lake Winnipesaukee has steadiliy decreased over the years, there just aren't enough spots to go to support a full-scale sailing trips program. Still, several times a summer, groups of boys head out for two or three days to the far end of the lake to overnight at island campsites. Our 17-foot Town Class sloops are perfect boats for such excursions with plenty of room to stow gear and room for several boys and a counselor in each boat.
Older, returning campers who find themselves focusing more and more on trips are eligible for The Bears, an entire session out of camp on trips.
Learn more about this special program, which isn't offered every summer, here.