Ten students from the Carleton Navigator group recently returned from a four-day canoe and camping trip to celebrate the end of exams and to grow in their walk with God.
The trip lasted from April 28 to May 1 in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York state in the Adirondacks. This was the Carleton group’s second annual trip and the first one that was completely student-led.
Braeden Brennan, the trip organizer and a recent engineering graduate, said the trips are done at this time so students can use it as a way to detox after exams. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for people to see God in nature and for them to look back on this last year and reflect on the good and bad and how God was involved in it.”
Despite rainy, windy weather and near-freezing cold, the students had a good experience. The trip brought everyone closer together, both literally and figuratively, and gave the students a chance to focus on God without the distractions of everyday life.
Kim Crosbie, a Carleton Navigator intern, says “I’m a huge fan of camping trips, in that it takes you away from technology. You don’t have distractions. At one point someone said, ‘Let me Google that…oh wait.’ That’s a huge thing for me and for a lot of people on the trip, to put our phones away and just have real conversations and really share life together without distractions.”
For some, the trip was a time to learn how to give control back to God. Alicia Parkin, a second-year environmental studies student, says the phrase ‘Immanuel, God with us,’ kept coming up constantly for her.
“There was quite a few times on the trip,” she says, “when I was like, ‘I don’t have control,’ and I was getting annoyed with myself and I wanted other people to know how to do this. But I can’t all of a sudden make someone know how to do this. Same with the weather. I needed to trust God and let go of things I have no control over.”
Parkin says an important lesson she learned was that “when you’re put in a situation you have no control over, the ‘Immanuel, God with us’ phrase keeps coming back. You just have to remember he’s there and he knows you’re there and he’s going to be there the whole time.”
Brennan says this idea of letting go of total control was something he learned as well. On one of the days, he says, “we were canoeing and I completely got disoriented and everybody was like, ‘We’re supposed to go that way,’ and I was like, ‘No, we’re definitely going this way. This is definitely the right way.’ Turns out I was wrong.” He says the experience was humbling, but it was also cool because “it was a way to get perspective, that I’m not always right.”
For Crosbie, one of the big lessons she learned was about the value of opening up. “Being willing to be vulnerable in situations can lead to other people being vulnerable,” she says. “And also just being willing to ask good questions and listen well. A canoe trip like that can easily just be about fun and getting outside, but I think it also has the potential to have so many meaningful conversations and so much depth, learning and discovery through other people about God, the world around you and yourself.”