Target age is really anyone over 16 years old and up. Anyone under 18 would need signed waivers on file with us (signed by parent or guardian) as some of the activities we take part in are not without some risk (we are trying to leave the tame life behind, so adventure requires an admission of risk!)
Two of our adult leaders are fully cleared to work with youth (mandated report training, FBI clearances, etc). We undergo routine training and endeavor to have all team members fully cleared. However, if one of our uncleared staff members is on an event with us, they are prohibited from being near a minor without one of the cleared team members present. Our activities are always 'group' in nature, so this provides an additional element of safety for any minors present.
The unfortunate answer is that this is an aggressive, active outdoor ministry and the inability to physically participate or fully mentally engage in the activities creates an issue of safety for you and the other participants. The other reality is that our team members are simply not yet trained to properly handle individuals with special needs and we would not be able to appropriately serve or care for them.
YES! We are, unapologetically, a Christian Organization. While we NEVER force our beliefs on anyone, will never come across 'churchy' and will never 'preach', our playbook does come right from Christ himself. Build relationships and love people right where they are in life, not where we wish they were or where we think they should be. Believing what we do is NOT required to join us and in fact, we would love it if you brought your belief system with you. Unlike what the world portrays today, we can still get along and love each other! Participants need to realize that they will be exposed to Christian principles though. Trust us when we say that this is a safe atmosphere for everyone and every world view is welcomed, just don't be offended if/when you hear ours too!
This may sound blunt and cold, especially in this day and age of 'everything goes' and 'what about my rights?', but frankly, this is a Men's Ministry. We talk about men stuff and guys won't open up or even come if they feel the presence of a female may jeopardize the bond they are trying to form with their brothers. There are many great organizations out there for women (or maybe even start one! We'd love to partner with you!) and we suggest seeking one out that meets your outdoor desires in the context of an all female group.
ABSOLUTELY! We need you and your son! Please contact as as soon as you can!
Absolutely! Local big brother organizations, foster homes, churches or Child and Youth Service organizations are welcome to steer kids towards us that they feel are a fit with our mission. We do retain the right to turn away young men who pose a threat to others in our group or are deemed a potential liability to the organization itself, but for the most part, any young (or old) man is welcome!
Quarterly events are usually within a few hours of us here in South Central PA but we may plan more epic events that are 6-8 hours away (you wanna do the cool stuff, you need to put in the drive time to get there!). Monthly events are usually much closer. Weekly events and gatherings are right here in Gettysburg or surrounding communities.
It certainly won't hurt! In some cases, a basic level of fitness may actually be required in order to participate in certain events. As the ministry evolves, there become an expectation of some basic level of physical fitness. Some of the events are things like backpacking (25 miles over 3 days on hilly terrain all while carrying a 30lb pack). If a participant is obese, out of shape or ill prepared, he will pose a safety threat to himself and others on the trail. Something as simple a blister can derail a whole trip. As the more epic events drawer closer, interested participants need to show they are committed by putting in the time to at least 'shake off the cobwebs'. We will even work in group training outings to prepare ourselves for the rigors of the outdoors.
Team leaders will be trained in basic field medicine. Honestly, a backcountry injury is one of the most terrifying things a leader can experience, so we try and put safety first. Obviously, a twisted ankle is annoying. However, a horrendous fall, seizure or lost camper can be tragic. We try and be prepared as best we can.
Possibly. Classic events may be things like a 3D archery shoot or an organized skeet (clay bird) shoot using shotguns in a controlled environment at local ranges. These events are under proper supervision at authorized shooting ranges and participants will learn proper gun control and handling. If an attendee or their guardian feels this is not appropriate, they may certainly opt out of these particular events. We believe a proper respect for and understanding of firearms as well as how to handle, clean and use them are part of the manhood journey!
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