An Inside Look at a La Vida Expedition
The foundation of a tight community is one built on trust and dependability. On a La Vida Adirondack Expedition, you will not just talk about trust, but will live it out through the various challenges your group faces. You will experience what it actually means to trust someone who is holding your rope while you are rock climbing. If someone is struggling with the weight of their backpack, the group will work together to lift that burden. While navigating the Adirondack wilderness together, the group will bond while hiking or canoeing, cooking meals for each other and sharing stories around the campfire at night. All of these experiences take place in God’s beautiful creation and are meant to point each individual towards strengthening their relationship with Jesus and with one another.
Travel to Base Camp
Your group will travel to our 75-acre base camp in NY. We are just 15 minutes from Saranac Lake and 30 minutes from Lake Placid.
Equipment and Gear
The staff will outfit you with expedition clothing and equipment. We provide almost everything you need to participate. You’ll be given a packing list with all the specifics.
Each day you’ll spend time reading your Bible, journaling and discussing as a group how each person is seeing and experiencing God in the world around them. Each day is a chance for God’s Word to be heard, experienced, and integrated into daily life on the trail or on the water. Read an excerpt from our journal here.
Team-building activities like games and initiatives prepare your group to work together and face future challenges. Your group will bond as they tackle the low ropes elements, and they’ll learn the importance of working as a team and supporting one another.
Our high ropes course on property is a great way for students to encourage and support each other. Our circuit course is unique in that all the elements are close enough that you can see multiple people climbing at a time.
Our scenic rock climbing site is where students will learn the importance of trust and communication. As they attempt each climb, their group is right behind them cheering them on.
Groups backpack or canoe through the beautiful wilderness of the Adirondack Park and will camp at a different campsite most nights, giving them the chance to hone their outdoor skills acquired during the first couple days. Each evening, everyone will enjoy meaningful conversation and have the opportunity to share their life story.
Leader of the Day
You will get the chance to practice your leadership with the group. Under the guidance of your leaders, you and a co-leader will initiate the group activities for the day and make decisions about the route, order of activities and delegation of tasks.
The Adirondack Park is home to pristine rivers and lakes that reveal the beauty of God’s creation. Students will pair up with another group member to paddle together to their next camping destination. Canoeing trips are a wonderful way to get to know your other group members because of the extended time in the canoe together.
There’s nothing like standing at the top of a mountain peak in the Adirondacks. The group works together to make it to the top of the peak, and hiking gives opportunities for deeper conversations. Students carry everything they need in their pack.
The solo is a one day period at the end of the trip that is free from distractions, worry, and responsibilities—a chance for you to think, pray, fast, read your Bible, write in your journal, and plan future goals without life’s usual interruptions. Participants are regularly checked on throughout the course of the solo by the trip leaders. Although intimidating for many, this part of the trip is what campers have said impacted them the most.
All of the expedition groups come back to the La Vida Base Camp property to celebrate what they’ve accomplished. Groups and individuals will be able to share what they’ve learned at our Celebration service and how they plan to incorporate it into their lives at home.
La Vida Run
The final challenge is an 8.6 mile run or walk. It is one last opportunity to challenge yourself but also to reflect on the experience. We encourage participants to use this time to pray for something or someone specifically. You can read more about Evelyn Murphy’s run experience on our blog.
Applying the Learning Back Home
La Vida is just the start. Our hope is that you continue to incorporate La Vida’s philosophies like Be Here Now, Commitment Move and Challenge by Choice into your daily life. While living without your phone for multiple days on end is not always realistic in our modern world, we can still practice being present and removing distractions when possible.
Staff You Can Count On
La Vida takes pride in training staff so they have the confidence and ability to handle any situation that arises on the trail. Staff are past and present Gordon College students along with other carefully selected, caring young adults. Your trip leaders are trained in wilderness medicine and receive extensive training on outdoor skills, spiritual formation and La Vida philosophies.
Adirondack Expedition Values
Challenge by Choice
Even though we believe it’s beneficial for our participants to learn how to overcome challenges, we follow a “challenge by choice” approach. This means each person decides exactly how far they want to push themselves when stepping outside their comfort zone. No experience or above-average physical strength is needed—just a desire for growth, adventure and fun.
At La Vida, we believe that success is not always dependent upon completing activities and is not based on comparison. Both succeeding and failing are valuable learning opportunities and shape us as individuals. If someone gives 100% during an activity, yet doesn’t finish successfully according to the world’s standards, La Vida still views that as a success because they put forth their best effort.
How La Vida Can Serve Your Group
La Vida provides space and guidance for God to work in the lives of everyone on the trip. Groups find that spending extended time in nature away from cell phones and other distractions can help them connect deeply.
Schools use La Vida Adirondack Expeditions as a way to help first year students bond or as a capstone for senior year. We work with the group leader to create a custom experience that will be the best possible experience for the students.
ADK Expedition Reviews
“La Vida has challenged my faith to lean on God when I felt physically overwhelmed. It challenged my character to become more mature.”
–Jeff, La Vida ADK Participant
“Throughout La Vida, I’ve really been forced to rely on Christ and his plan, even his plan for just the day. I always love feeling in control of my circumstances, but this trip has allowed me to release my control and give the reigns to Christ.”
–Haley, La Vida ADK Participant
“The experiences I have had at La Vida have taught me so much confidence, which permeates my daily life, and so much about service which influences the way I interact with others.”
–Claire, La Vida ADK Participant
“Perseverance, steadfastness and persistence have been increased. Learning how to be a better encourager and active listener has enhanced my leadership abilities. Growing deeper in Christ versus in ministry has been the theme for me on this trip.”
Adirondack Expeditions is a program of the La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership at Gordon College located on the North Shore of Boston. La Vida houses six different programs for the community including an adventure day camp for middle and high schoolers, a rock gym and challenge course activities for all ages. La Vida provides spiritual development and leadership experiences for Gordon students as well as community organizations utilizing Gordon's campus and our Base Camp in the Adirondack mountains of New York.