BCNY’S First Expeditionary Team—An Exploration into Manhood

“I feel 100% prepared to go back out into the woods and do it all over again.”-Elijah


The piercing sounds of birds chirping, grasshoppers buzzing, and creatures rustling through the woods were all clear signs our Boys’ Club members were out of New York City. In late September, seven young-men-adventurers embarked on a fifteen-mile journey through the Appalachians trail–a voyage that solidified their presence as our first-ever BCNY Expeditionary Team!

“We learned how to make stakes out of the surrounding branches. These stakes would help make sure our tents didn’t blow away.” –Edwin

The Expeditionary Team is a group of advanced wilderness explorers who are excelling in school and are active members of our Harriman Base Camp (HBC) program. They have committed to being a part of a team that strives to test and expand their limits and take their outdoor experiences to another level. The Expeditionary Team is led by BCNY’s Teen Director Otha Caldwell and Physical Education Director Amar Kelly. Both Amar and Otha achieved wilderness training through the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and also have advanced wilderness first-aid training. 

As the BCNY Expeditionary Team traveled out of New York City, they were reminded that this trip would involve rigorous challenges–and a reliance on previous training would be needed for success. Preparing for a fifteen-mile hike would not be an easy task. This trek would test their knowledge of tent-pitching, map-reading, and poisonous-plant awareness. With the support of group leaders and the AMC, the members learned about specific gear that would prove crucial during their hike.



“My experience was very positive because they didn’t necessarily tell us what to do; they let us figure it out for ourselves. I think that’s a better way to learn.”-Kaleal

And as they took the first steps on their journey to explore the woods, they would be exploring something even more profound: the importance of brotherhood, fellowship, and comradery. During the hike, members of the Expeditionary Team took reflection breaks, shared stories, and took in the beautiful scenery. Afterward, they shared best practices when it came to implementing the life skills they had learned.

The hike would prove to be an exemplary example of executing our 4 Cs. Our members returned home feeling connected to nature, competent in their efforts, enriched with their character as young men, and confident they could survive the next expedition. As they continue to mature and go through life, they will have this experience to lean on and help them conquer any obstacle they may face.