Will Hanlon spends L.O.T.S. of time at Bradford Woods

Betsy Moore, Staff Writer

It was a cool, crisp fall morning in September 2015. The fifth grade class at Summit Elementary was gathered in their classroom, buzzing with excitement. The big day had finally come: the class was heading off to Bradford Woods in Martinsville. This long-awaited field trip consists of two nights at the camp; they would practice archery, go on hikes, play flag football, and learn about insects over the course of these three days away from home. 

The Bradford Woods field trip is always an exciting time for fifth graders; however, one student on this trip was captivated more than most. Seven years later as a senior in high school, Will Hanlon said, “When I was in fifth grade, Bradford Woods was an unbelievable experience. I immediately knew I wanted to go back again.” 

Hanlon applied for the LOTS Senior position as soon as possible. According to the MCCSC Website, the LOTS (Leadership Opportunities Through Service) program “provides an opportunity for selected high school seniors to receive leadership training and to accompany a fifth-grade class as it goes to Bradford Woods for its outdoor education experience.” Typically, LOTS Seniors will take three days of excused absences in the school year, accompanying one group of fifth graders. However, Hanlon knew he wanted to volunteer as many times as possible. He has already attended Bradford Woods on four separate trips this year, and he will be volunteering two more times in March. 

Many might be confused as to why Hanlon would choose to be a camp counselor to 10 and 11 year olds again and again, but to him, the answer is simple. “I had gone to their summer camps every year since fifth grade because I loved it so much, so I knew I wanted to go as many times as possible this year.”

While Hanlon has always enjoyed Bradford Woods to the fullest, coming back this year as a senior was a little bit different. “It was a lot more difficult than I expected. Getting the kids to listen was the hardest part,” Hanlon said, and he doesn’t see himself doing this as a paid position. “As a father, yes, but as a job, no way,” he said. Hanlon said he would definitely recommend this opportunity to upcoming seniors, but not more than once. “I don’t regret doing six trips, but it’s definitely a lot to handle.”