From: Wilmette, IL
Price:$ 1,295
Duration: 2 weeks

Or book a Custom Trip

2 weeks
Skill Rating:
Van Supported:
Wilmette, IL
$ 1,295
Minimum Age 13
Included: Transport from The Northwest Passage to and from the Lake Michigan and Skokie Lagoons, paddling equipment and boats, camping gear, and trip meals.
Not Included: Transport to the Northwest Passage each day, daily lunch, clothing for paddling, sleeping bag for overnight trip.

Looking for an amazing opportunity to learn leadership skills and build confidence in paddling skills? Our two week leadership course will teach teens group leadership dynamics and decision making within their peer group through paddling and trip preparation. Week one is spent getting to know one another through daily paddles on Lake Michigan and the Skokie Lagoons, combined with leadership training from our experienced outdoor education staff. Participants will also learn kayak boat maintenance and repair techniques to bring their technical skills full circle. Week two will be spent putting their leadership skills into practice on a 4 day, 3 night sea kayaking trip to the lower Wisconsin River just outside of it's namesake's capital, Madison. This is a fantastic opportunity for teens to learn leadership and boating skills with their peers!


Week One: Group members will spend the first week with their guides in Wilmette, getting to know one abother and begin learning about group leadership. Daily paddle outing each morning will allow participants to lear and practice kayak paddling skills and competencies, as well as get the chance to lead the group through a paddle outing (collaborating with their guides who will be present throughout the leadership opportunity). After paddling we'll head back to the Northwest Passage boat yard in Wilmette to work on educating and teaching technical outdoor 'hard skills' (knots, shelters, gear repair, stove use, etc). Group members will be challenged to communicate and work together with one another through group intiatives and challenges. Northwest Passage staff will also be teaching the group how to make simple and intermidiate repairs to boats and get the chance to collaborate with one another on service projects that will promote responsibility and a sense of 'giving back' to the local kayak community. We'll wrap up the first week on Saturday with a shorter session and BBQ!


Week Two: We'll spend Monday packing out for our trip to the Wisconsin. If there is time we'll get another session of paddling on the water. We'll depart for the Wisconsin River on Tuesday morning. We'll arrive in the early afternoon, we'll make camp and explore, and get excited for putting in on the water the next morning. For the next couple of days' we'll be paddling down the Lower Wisonsin, shaping those leadership skills that we started to develop during the first week. Each night we will camp and make a delicious dinner. On Friday morning we will pack up and say goodbye to the Lower Wisonsin and head back to Wilmette, aiming to be back no later than 6pm.

Clothing & Equipment:

Week One: Each day we will be paddling on the lake or the Skokie Lagoons so participants will need to have the following items

  • Swimsuit or shorts and T-shirt
  • Water
  • sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, raingear
  • Croakies or something else to tie glasses on with
  • Shoes- Flip-flop sandals are not useful as they will come off in open water. Water booties are ideal and sport sandals can also work. Shoes with laces are not appropriate.
  • Extra warm layers- Remember that cotton will not keep you warm if it is wet (it will actually make you colder), so bring some extra layers that are made out of a synthetic material (such as fleece, Coolmax®, polypropylene, etc.) Come prepared for warm, cold and/or wet weather; we will be paddling rain or shine!
  • Dry clothes to change into after
  • A lunch and some snacks to get them through the day

Week Two: We'll be paddling in the Apostles  Islands all week so the following gear list is essentail to being prepared for everything that we'll enbcounter.

This is all you will need - anything else is unnecessary baggage and will only be extra weight to carry.

All items should be packed in dry bags or small duffel bags that are lined with a garbage bag. 
Several smaller bags fit in the kayaks more easily than large bags. 
Note that kayak hatches are rarely more than 1 ft. wide. 
You may find that you can borrow some of these items if you don’t own them already

  • Wetsuit (farmer john style) (can be rented from Northwest Passage)
  • 2 t-shirts (one that’s non-cotton)
  • 1 towel (small PackTowel® work great!)
  • 1 shirt, long sleeved synthetic (non-cotton)
  • 2 pairs of shorts (at least one non-cotton)
  • Sun/rain hat
  • 1 pair fast drying synthetic long pants - no blue jeans
  • 1 light to medium fleece jacket
  • 2 pairs shoes/sandals - Tevas, booties, water shoes, light sneakers etc. all work very well - one pair to get wet.
  • 2 pair socks (non-cotton)
  • 1 pr. synthetic long underwear (medium weight)
  • Bathing suit
  • Underwear 
  • Bandanas (optional) (can be used for head covering, washing up, etc)
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants) (Paddling jacket works well as top)
  • Clean change of clothing for the trip home (should be left in car)
  • Toiletry kit (toilet paper, toothbrush, biodegradable soap and shampoo, face cream, nail clippers, personal medication etc.)
  • Sunscreen and bug repellent
  • Sleeping bag (compact, 3-season) and pad
  • Small flashlight, batteries & extra bulb- headlamps are preferred
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Chums/Croakies to keep glasses on your head are imperative (floating ones are preferable)
  • Energy bars/snack food (limited quantities- we will feed you plenty!)
  • Pocket knife
  • Large plastic cup with handle (e.g. commuter coffee mug) or small lexan Nalgene (for hot drinks)
  • Fleece hat and gloves (depending on the weather)
  • Ziploc® storage bags (pack small items inside these; also good for packing out wet clothing)

Optional Equipment

  • Paddling gloves (can be any type of open fingered glove e.g. biking gloves, sailing gloves etc.)
  • Camera, film, waterproof container
  • Reading matter and maps (waterproof case)
  • Paddling jacket
  • Sewing kit
  • Compass Crazy Creek® or similar generic chair (highly recommended for camp use, gives great back support)
  • Entertainment (harmonica, cards, games)