Meg MacLaury ‘23 earned her Junior Maine Guide Certification over the summer, a feat that few achieve. Equipped with skills ranging from shelter building to map reading, Meg is certainly well prepared for O-Hike next week.
“I was just stunned. I passed?” Meg MacLaury ‘23 stood frozen as she stared down at the test results in her hands. Boasting an average pass rate of 29%, Meg was one of only nineteen campers to pass the Junior Maine Guide Certification (JMG) test this year. For most, earning your JMG Certification takes at least two tries; however, Meg passed on her first attempt. “All the counselors say confidence is half the battle in JMG, so I just tried to stay calm, and I guess it worked,” Meg said.
The Junior Maine Guide Certification program is a collection of 21 tests spread over five days designed to assess over 15 outdoor skill sets ranging from first aid to cartography. The certification is conducted across a variety of tests -- written, oral, and practical -- divided between major and minor areas. Despite being categorized as a minor test, the Wet Day Fire test is notorious for both its difficulty and its ability to fill test-takers with anxiety. Campers are tasked with starting a fire from a wet piece of wood, as well as boiling water in under twenty minutes. Wet Day Fire is the only test in the Junior Maine Guide Certification program where campers know the outcome of the test on the spot. While several campers needed almost the entire twenty minutes to complete the challenge, Meg managed to get her water boiling in 15 minutes and 24 seconds.
To prepare for the JMG, Meg attended the Wyonegonic Camp in Denmark, Maine. Wyonegonic holds a five-week training course designed specifically to help get campers ready for their certification tests. Whether it’s learning to build a shelter or canoeing on a pond, “a lot of it is pretty hands-on,” Meg said.
Attracted to the program by her desire “to learn more about Maine and more about the outdoors,” Meg enjoyed the opportunity to “learn how to live outside in the woods” and described the program as “an amazing learning experience.” Having received her Junior Maine Guide Certification, Meg can choose to try for her Maine Guide Certification after she turns eighteen. Although a few years away, Meg is “really excited for OB!” In the meantime, Meg is ready to join other new students for Orientation Hike and make the most of her Holderness experience.
Albert Bierstadt, the German-American painter renowned for his landscapes of the American West, came to the White Mountains to capture its simple yet overwhelming beauty. What came to life through nearly a decade’s worth of work was The Emerald Pool, a massive oil-on-canvas monument to the natural majesty of a hidden swimming hole along the Peabody River in the Pinkham Notch. Recounting The Emerald Pool, Bierstadt said, “I never had so difficult a picture to paint, as this White Mountain subject the Emerald Pool; my artist friends think it my best picture and so do I.”
At Holderness we deliberately build community through the people we bring in and programs we support. Today I want to share one story about people who showed us what it means to be a mission-centered community and talk about one unique program that is hitting a milestone.
Kicking off its 141st year, Holderness School welcomed new students to campus on September 5th. Under blue skies and surrounded by the cheers of joyful Senior Leaders, 114 new students eagerly joined the Holderness School community. The day was filled with smiles as new students and families unpacked their cars and turned dorm rooms into a home away from home.