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Survivor Wknd: A Lifeline for Freshman Dreams

Discovering the Inspiration Behind an Epic College Adventure

In college orientation and campus events, one experience stands out as truly unique and transformative: Survivor Wknd. For those unfamiliar, this event offers students a blend of adventure, camaraderie, and personal growth that goes far beyond typical freshman activities. But what’s the story behind this incredible event, and what drives its founder to dedicate his life to helping college students navigate the complex journey of higher education? In this article, we dive deep into the origins, inspiration, and expectations of Survivor Wknd and the behind-the-scenes effort required to bring it to life.

The Seeds of Inspiration

At the heart of Survivor Wknd lies a profound understanding of the challenges faced by new college students. It all began with a vivid memory—the memory of what it felt like to be a freshman stepping onto a college campus for the first time. The founder of Survivor Wknd, whose name we’ll discover later, recalls the insecurities, the peer pressure, and the intense yearning to belong.

It’s a shared experience that many of us can relate to—the transition from high school to college, where everything is new and unfamiliar. New roommates, new classes, new cityscapes, and for some, new countries. Internally, there’s a whirlwind of emotions—excitement and anxiety, hopes and fears, dreams and doubts. The desire to connect and form friendships is overpowering because belonging is an essential human need.

The Need to Belong

Psychologists have long agreed that every individual seeks closeness, acceptance, a sense of community, and a belief that they matter as individuals. This need to belong is ingrained in our very being, a fundamental desire that can’t be ignored. Sadly, it’s a reality for many students to be surrounded by thousands of peers and yet feel incredibly lonely and disconnected.

Survivor Wknd: An EPIC Event

Enter Tim Elmore, the CEO of Growing Leaders, who coined the term “EPIC generation” to describe the students Survivor Wknd aims to reach. EPIC stands for Experiential, Participatory, Image-Rich, and Connected. These students seek memorable experiences, want to actively engage in their surroundings, thrive on visual stimulation, and value connection over traditional lectures. Survivor Wknd aligns perfectly with these characteristics, offering an unforgettable adventure weekend designed to foster lasting relationships.


A Glimpse into Survivor Wknd

Imagine Labor Day Weekend during your freshman year—a time of newfound freedom and endless possibilities. Now, imagine being recruited into a tribe of 200 fellow students, all eager to compete against other tribes from over twenty college campuses. It’s a whirlwind of excitement, as you and your tribe load up into charter buses buzzing with energy, setting off on an adventure filled with music, camping, and head-to-head competition. This is Survivor Wknd.

A Unique Blend of Experiences

Survivor Wknd has been aptly described as a blend of the classic television show “Survivor,” the physical challenges of the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, and the high-energy atmosphere of an EDM concert. But it’s more than just a thrilling weekend—it’s an opportunity for students to form relationships that last throughout their college years and beyond.


Not a Church Camp, but a Lifeline

One crucial distinction needs to be made clear: Survivor Wknd is not a church camp. It’s an adventure weekend hosted by a collegiate-focused church, dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of college students.

A Decade of Transformative Experiences

For over a decade, Survivor Wknd has been giving thousands of students an experience of a lifetime, complete with face paint and plenty of mud. Amid the fierce competition and music-filled nights, participants also receive an inspirational message from the event’s founder and his wife. This message encourages students to discover their “why” and to “choose their tribe before their trail,” emphasizing the importance of the people they surround themselves with



Voices from the Participants

To provide a glimpse into the profound impact of Survivor Wknd, we’ve gathered some heartfelt responses from last year’s event:

  • “You always hear people say something changed their life. But I actually think this is one of those events.” – 18-year-old male student from Los Angeles, CA.
  • “It’s awesome. It’s my first Survivor Weekend, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Better than the video!” – 18-year-old male student from Jacksonville, FL.
  • “When you come from high school and you’re new to college, you don’t know a lot of people. Most of the time you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t even know where you are on campus. So having people you can bond with and trust and really talk with, that’s amazing.” – 18-year-old female student from Austin, TX.
  • “It is so surreal that you’re able to meet so many good people in such a small amount of time, and just make the best connections. Your tribe feels like your second family, and you just met them.” – 18-year-old female student from Grand Rapids, MI.



Words of Wisdom: Choosing Your Tribe

To conclude, the founder of Survivor Wknd shares a piece of wisdom: “Choose your tribe before your trail.” In essence, he underscores that people are more critical to your journey than the path itself. Your success and happiness in life are profoundly influenced by the people you surround yourself with.

Behind the Scenes: Making Survivor Wknd a Reality

Putting together an event of this magnitude requires a dedicated team of 300 volunteers known as “Survivalists.” These volunteers contribute nearly 10,000 hours to plan and prepare for Survivor Wknd, ensuring every detail is meticulously managed. Their hard work before, during, and after the event is fundamental to its success.


A Bright Future for Survivor Wknd

As Survivor Wknd continues to thrive, its mission to help students find their tribe and navigate the complex journey of college remains as vital as ever. The event’s growth and impact suggest a promising future, where even more students can experience the transformative power of Survivor Wknd.

In conclusion, Survivor Wknd is not just an adventure weekend; it’s a lifeline for college students searching for belonging, camaraderie, and purpose. It’s a testament to the power of human connection and the profound impact it can have on our lives, especially during the formative years of college. Survivor Wknd is more than an event; it’s a journey that helps students not only survive but thrive in their college experience.

Note: This article is based on information available as of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021. For the most up-to-date information about Survivor Wknd, please refer to the organization’s official website and resources.