I returned to Dartmouth this September for three weeks while working in Jackson. As a recent ’15 graduate I was finished with school, but my chapter wasn’t quite complete. I returned to wrap up my involvement with the Dartmouth Outing Club and to facilitate the mountain biking orientation trips for “first years” as the Croo Chief.
I had many motives for doing so. I wanted the mountain bike club to have strong ties to first year trips to ensure that the club would continue long after I was a sketchy alum. I wanted the Croo members to be confident — in their biking ability, their mechanic ability, but most importantly in their ability to lead.
Beyond my motives to keep the mountain bike club thriving and getting more kids involved in an incredible lifetime sport, I had goals for the freshman. Along with our top priority of making sure no one got hurt, I wanted the students to feel confident entering their first term of Dartmouth. If they learned a little bit of mountain biking skills and felt accomplished, I hoped that that would translate into their first year at Dartmouth. I hoped that by having the Croo show genuine interest in what they had to say, that they would feel as though their opinion mattered, and that they could in fact make a difference on campus.
We were lucky enough to have the incredible backdrop of Oak Hill for trips. It is a beautiful place with bike and ski trails all surrounding a refreshing pond. We set up a great living space and shop and had a fire ring for smores with first year groups at night. Our daily schedule left us with a bit of free time and we were able to explore all the trails, cook great food together, and even take pond baths!
On our off day, my parents came up to visit and we biked The Kingdom Trails in Burke Vt. It was a blast, but the best part was seeing both the Croo and my parents eyes light up with excitement to go biking. That right there validated my three years as President of the Dartmouth Mountain Bike Club. Getting people outside and enjoying outdoor activities is my most satisfying experience.
If I get a few of the first years excited about getting out to Oak Hill, and if I get my Croo excited about both biking and teaching others how to bike, then my chapter at Dartmouth will be complete. This chapter of my undergraduate life has come to a close. Just like the first years, a new chapter is upon me in Jackson. I’m excited to get writing.