Physical Training And Wilderness

pushupsVWIL encourages a life-long commitment to health and fitness. In three fitness workouts each week, cadets develop their strength and endurance. The workouts are geared to  help every cadet succeed on the VWIL SET (Strength and Endurance Test). The SET consists of a 1.5 mile run, sit-ups, and push-ups. It is based on physical fitness standards for women and complements the fitness standards of the military services. The Mary Baldwin exercise specialists are available to work individually with students on all aspects of fitness, nutrition, and stress management to ensure that every student is making progress in meeting standards. The physical training (PT) cadre of cadets works closely with the Commandant and helps conduct fitness sessions, testing, and fitness improvement programs.

In addition to the weekly PT sessions, VWIL cadets are required to take three Mary Baldwin fitness courses throughout their four years.  Cadets are encouraged to participate in Mary Baldwin NCAA varsity and club sports.

Halloween PT

Cadets in costumes to work out at Halloween PT

Freshmen are required to participate in the Leadership Challenge Program (LCP). LCP convenes each week and offers one semester hour of academic credit. It promotes the development of self-confidence, teamwork, and tests your ability to challenge yourself. LCP includes ropes courses, obstacle courses, self-defense, rock climbing and rappelling, hiking, camping, biking, caving, and white water rafting. Upper class cadets serve as cadre members in the LCP program.


wilderness 1The first year experience is designed to prepare the freshmen class for full and responsible participation in VWIL. Freshmen are referred to as “nULLS,” always spelled with the lower case “n”. The term nULL means zero and void and suggests that the new student is unfamiliar with the ways of the corps and the values it represents. The challenge of the nULL year is to develop class unity and commitment to corps standards. During their time as nULLs freshmen have fewer privileges than upper class women and are expected to take direction, show respect and demonstrate that they can handle the multiple demands of life in the corps. Their successful completion of the experience culminates in “rites of passage,” a traditional ceremony of recognition and celebration.

“Wilderness” plays a vital role in getting nULLS (first year VWIL cadets) off to a good start for what will be an exceptionally demanding four years of college.

Activities require teamwork and are physically and emotionally challenging. Upper class VWIL (also known as “cadre”) led the new crop of nULLs as they camped, backpacked, learned rock climbing and rappelling, stepped off a mountain and whizzed down a zip line, and completed ropes courses.


wilderness packing gear 2016
Packing Their Gear
wilderness logs
Climing High
wilderness brushing teeth
Learning How Backpackers Brush Their Teeth
wilderness meal time 2016
Meal Time
Wilderness hanging out
wilderness log ladder
A tricky situation
wilderness rescue
Flying High
wilderness wired
wilderness bikesShowing Their Strength