History of Adventure Groups
Over the years as we’ve dilberatly developed our adventure groups. Each one has been built around a specific age or experience offered through our programming. A common thread through all of our adventure groups is that they’re all themed around our Western Heritage, and steeped in the spirit of the American West. Today we proudly continue these TVRC traditions that are held sacred by so many. On occasion we’ve been asked what the origin or original meaning of the Adventure Group names are. For those of you that have asked or haven’t but have always wondered, here you go!
Yearling’s at TVRC are our youngest campers, being 11 years old and typically going into 6th grade. The definition of a Yearling, western or otherwise, is a young calf, sheep or foal that is a year old or starting it’s second year of life. It’s a pretty fititng title for our youngest group of campers. Some of them may have attended camp prior but for the most part this is their first experience at summer camp and taking on adventures similar to what TVRC offers.
Rough Rider’s are our longest running adventure group at camp. It used to be that your first year was always the Rough Rider year and after that any returning camper was considered a Rough Rider. The western meaning of the phrase Rough Rider is someone who breaks or can ride unbroken horses. It was also the infamous calvary unit that Theodore Roosevelt fought in during the Spanish-American war.
Top Hands are a group we created to allow campers to come back for a year between Rough Rider and Wrangler. It was established about 20 years into Camp’s history. Top Hands at TVRC specialize in one of three program areas at camp: Horseback Riding, Hiking or Fly Fishing. The experience of this summer is tailored to give them a greater focus and more opportunity to grow their skills in this given area. The original definition of Top Hand is a cowboy who is superior at riding or horsebreaking. Like the original definition by the end of the summer our Top Hands are experts in their chosen area of focus.
Wranglers were the oldest, most experienced campers at the ranch for many years. In keeping with the true western definition of Wranglers ours are focused on the horsemanship program at camp. The majority of the year is focused on improving horsemanship skills and helping care for our heard of horses we have at the ranch.
Trailblazers were previously known as Post Wranglers here at TVRC. A few decades ago we shifted this final year at TVRC to be called Trailblazer Year with a larger focus on backpacking and becoming self-sufficent in the backcountry. And in keeping with both our focus and the true definition a Trailblazer is someone who makes new tracks through wild country. Each year, we encourage our Trailblazers to create trips that are unique to their cohort and demonstrate their love the backcountry. This is accomplished through great teamwork, and with the guidance of their trip leaders and counselors.