Wilderness Experience and Identity
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Throughout my childhood, I participated in numerous wilderness experiences. Over the summer of 2013, I worked for the first time as a trail guide at YMCA Camp Menogyn, a Wilderness Adventure camp in northern Minnesota. Because of the great influence my own wilderness experiences had on my sense of identity, I decided to explore the ways in which wilderness experiences in general influence the sense of identity of those participating in them. In this paper, I define a wilderness experience as a period of time spent with a small group in an area virtually unaltered by human presence while traveling across the landscape in a self-sufficient manner (usually backpacking or canoeing), and carrying everything needed for survival for the duration of the trip.