DOC Trip leaders selected from pool of over 500 candidates

by Felipe Opazo Saravia | 4/30/19 2:00am

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Robinson Hall houses the Dartmouth Outing Club and is the starting location for the First-Year Trips program.

by Maddie Doerr / The Dartmouth

Over 300 students were accepted as volunteers to be Trip leaders and Croo members for the Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips program, according to Trips director Maddy Waters ’19.

This year, around 520 applications were submitted to be Trip leaders and Croo members, an approximately 13 percent decrease from last year’s 600 applications. Despite the decrease in applications, Waters said that some students were still waitlisted or not accepted.

Grant Croo captain William Kirby ’20 said that in addition to considering the general application scores, certain croo-specific qualifications are taken into account in the selection process. 

“We not only have to look at how an application scores, but we have to look at dynamic skills that people bring into [the] table,” Grant Croo captain William Kirby ’20 said. “Because [Grant Croo is] in charge of people’s safety on the water, we also have to make sure our croo has enough people who are experienced with white water to make sure we can lead beginners down safely.”

One of the priorities for Trips this year is the expansion of the current mental health training program, according to Waters. 

“We are continuing with the mental health training for volunteers that we started last year and expanding that to focus on mindfulness on Trips itself,” Waters said. “So, Trip leaders are going to be doing some activities related to that in their Trip-leader training.” 

Another change to this year’s program will be the addition of a new trip, “Explore the Upper Valley.” The trip will be targeted towards incoming first-year students who may not have the comfort level or physical ability to participate in more rigorous trips, according to Waters. 

“They’ll get to drive around and explore local places like the Vermont antique market and get a sense of a knowledge of a new place,” Waters said.

She added that the Trips directorate is planning on working with different offices on campus like the Student Wellness Center, Dick’s House and the Sustainability Office, with the goal of increasing communication between the Trips program and the rest of Dartmouth. 

Waters said that the Trips directorate is also looking into improving openness between Trip leaders and trippees on the individual trips. 

“We’ve been thinking this year a lot about giving trippees more agency,” she said, “Just having Trip leaders share the trips itineraries with them, and just being more open to [saying] ‘This is the experience you’re going to have,’ in order to acknowledge that [the trippees] are essentially our peers coming in [to Dartmouth].” 

All prospective Trip leaders must go through CPR training, three levels of community building and wilderness training and two more general informational sessions. Trip leader trainers are also hoping to host office hours for Trip leaders so that they can get to know the trainers outside of training.

Leah Johnson ’22 said that she applied to become a Trip leader because she enjoyed how her own Trip leaders wanted to make her feel welcome at Dartmouth. 

“I really appreciated that my Trip leaders answered every single question I could have about Dartmouth, and then once we got to campus, they facilitated reunions and had lunch with us,” Johnson said. “It was just nice to know upperclassmen that would see you and say hi and make you feel you have a home at Dartmouth. I am very excited to do that for the ’23s.”