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At some point in my early teenage years I became aware of [Kroka Expeditions][https://kroka.org], which is self-described as a "non-profit wilderness expedition school based on a year-round, organic farm in Marlow, New Hampshire". I heard about Kroka from friends who had studied and worked there: Cat Hannigan, Andrew Row, Sophia Cable, Maggie Ranen, Elias Stegeman, Sarah Kennedy, the list goes on and on. Most students at Kroka, I knew, are campers, students who live at Kroka for a few weeks over the summer and going on paddling or backpacking trips. The people I knew, though, hadn't done these summer camps. They had done Semester.
Kroka's Winter Semester program
Kroka drew me in not because of its unique flavor, but simply because it offered a five month long immersion into nature connection through travel. If I had found another organization which took this as seriously as I did (NOELS and Outward Bound didn't make that cut), I might not have done Kroka's semester program. Kroka's unique flavor is something I should discuss a bit before continuing.
Kroka Expeditions was founded by Misha Golfman and his wife Lynne Boudreau in 1996. Quotes below are from [kroka.org][https://kroka.org].
Kroka Expeditions was founded by Misha Golfman and his wife Lynne Boudreau in 1996. Quotes below are from [kroka.org](https://kroka.org).
>> While in graduate school at Antioch New England, Misha conceived of the idea of Kroka, and the project became the theme of his thesis. He brought to the curriculum his experience teaching in the United States, as well as his background of being raised in the “Russian outdoor tradition,” traveling, learning, and teaching in the wilderness.
To my mind, there are several unique aspects of Kroka which set it apart from similar organizations. In addition to the usual focus on nature connection and community building, there is a strong emphasis on sustainability and agriculture. Misha has no reservations about teaching his personal anti-establishment anti-capitalist ideology to his students. The ambitious and demanding curriculum leaves little to no time unstructured. Finally, the Kroka philosophy always puts the group before the individual, and drills this in until putting ones personal needs last becomes habit.
This summer is an odd one. After returning from five months in the wilderness, away from technology, I have over two months with less responsibility and commitment than I've had in years. What am I doing with this gift of freedom? Not much, I'm ashamed to say.
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What I would like to do is divide my time between connection with family and friends, work, preparation for college in the fall, and personal projects. However, I end up spending far too much time doing none of these things, but instead using addictive attention sucks like tv shows, movies, and news podcasts to entertain and distract myself. This is a normal and widespread problem in society, and I'm glad that I do not participate in the predatory social media environments (especially Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok) which so many of peers use constantly, but there is still no excuse, no way to deny responsibility for my poor choices.
After five months of regular excericise and physical exertion, my body felt good and I wanted to challenge myself. Now, I am chronically underslept, I have aversion to difficult physical activity, and I spend most days completely sedentary. My metabolism has slowed to a crawl. This March, I could eat six to ten thousand calories in one day and be losing weight and feeling hunger pangs. Now, I sometimes eat just one small meal a day. I am eighteen years old.