"On a flatwater canoe trip, some friends and I wondered if we are funnier when we are outside, or if we just laugh more," says Hallie Mueller '06. "But we decided it's the people - BOCers are just really comfortable people."
By comfortable, of course, Hallie means genuine, laid back, and friendly, since "comfort" in the outdoors often means the difference between wet and cold and wet and very cold.
"The BOC stretches you in a different way than other activities," says Hallie. "I feel like I've learned exponentially in the last three years." In that time, Hallie has taken part in raft guide training, the white water paddling class, Leadership Training, and has led two whitewater Pre-Orientation trips and one to Mt. Katahdin. When she began her involvement with the BOC late in her first year at Bowdoin, Hallie hadn't even done half the things she's now qualified to teach.
"When I was searching for a college, I was drawn by the BOC," says Sam Kolins '06. "The variety of trips, the equipment-but the BOC is really about the people. It all starts with the people. On my first couple of trips as a first-year, the upperclassmen on the trips were so open and willing to share their knowledge and experience; it was very welcoming. So, when before one of my first trips as a trip leader, a first-year student asked me if it'd be awkward signing up for a trip upperclassmen would be on, I already knew the answer. It's nice — and unusual, I think — to have that kind of comfort level between students of different class years like we have in the BOC."
So, imagine that you're out in the Atlantic Ocean in a 16-foot fiberglass kayak, loaded with your tent, clothing, cookware, medical supplies, and food for several days, propelled by your muscles, and responsible to lead your fellow students in the five boats behind you to a tiny island, where you'll camp for the night. Not only that, you were responsible for planning this route in the first place, responsible for planning your meals, planning your gear, outfitting your group in the OLC, your timeline out, your timeline back.
Dan McGrath's first experience with the BOC, like most other eventual BOCers, was on a preorientation trip. "I immediately realized I wanted to become a leader," he recalls. He applied and was accepted into the Leadership Training program. Now, he's at the head of a line of kayaks, and co-head of the club's Telemark ski program. "No matter what, I'd be doing things outside, hiking, skiing, paddling-but, it's the people involved with the Outing Club that make me do these things with the BOC. That's why it's such a strong organization."
Read more funny stories and memorable experiences in the History of the Outing Club.