It was a low-tech week with high ideals.
No cellphones, no showers, and the cuisine came freeze-dried.
Still, 13 Chester County teens shunned modern conveniences in the name of a historic creek and an adventure meant to tap their inner environmentalists.
“Because of technology, our generation doesn’t know things about the world and how it runs,” said Nijia Walls, 15, of Kennett Square. “We never have to do anything for ourselves.”
For a week, the teens participated in a mostly do-it-yourself excursion along the Brandywine Creek. They camped, hiked, and canoed down the waterway where George Washington’s troops once battled, in an exercise to learn about the creek’s importance and about their own capabilities.
The youngsters were part of the annual Brandywine Trek, a project organized each June by the Coatesville Youth Initiative, a division of the Brandywine Health Foundation that offers teen-development programs.
The trek takes youngsters ages 14 to 18 on a trip that begins at the start of the creek in Honeybrook and ends at Shaw’s Bridge Park in East Bradford Township. Along the way, the teens learn about the history surrounding the creek and the importance of environmental stewardship.
Water is vital, said Deric Wilson, 17, of Parkesburg. “It’s used for everything.”
Between Monday and Friday, youth from Coatesville, Parkesburg, and Kennett Square performed water-testing exercises and examined the plants and wildlife in and around the creek. They held tadpoles in their hands and stepped inside a pre-Revolutionary War springhouse built over the water that was once used to keep things cool.