What We Teach

The prominent Native Alaskan statesman William Iggiagruk Hensley writes of Alaskan life: “Your accomplishments are measured by your character and the qualities long and deeply prized in the region. Up here, humility and cooperation, generosity and goodwill still trump wealth and academic and political prowess.” This epitomizes the spirit of an AWOC expedition, i.e. to embrace the totality of a back country experience and effect personal and ethical growth. The allure of wild places is a force deeply embedded in the traditional fabric of America and just as important in the rapidly changing world we inhabit.

Wilderness Skills:

  • back-country ‘no trace’ camping and cooking
  • map and compass orienteering in a region devoid of established trails
  • basic wilderness survival
  • sea-kayaking and/or big river canoeing
  • appreciation and respect for the natural world

Life Skills:

  • promote and encourage self-confidence and leadership potential in each boy
  • instill camaraderie that comes from common effort rather than individual achievement
  • promote self awareness of a deeper identity by modeling how to live and socialize without the constant noise of technology and the shallowness of online ‘social networking’
  • instill patience exploring a land that rarely bows to man’s time-table, and allow a boy to discover the ability to withstand deprivation and some physical discomfort without self-pity
  • develop an understanding of and respect for Native American history and culture


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