January 1, 2016
This is my final column for the North Wind, as I now hand over the Education chair duties to Jeanna Matthews. Jeanna is an outdoor enthusiast as well as a teacher, the combination of which makes her a perfect fit for this position. I have no doubt that Jeanna will succeed in her new position. Before I sign off, I’d like to take a look back at our accomplishments over the past year.
We started 2015 with a great series of presentations for our Outdoors-Indoors program. We explored the Totten Glacier system in Antarctica with Glenn Clark, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with Peggy MacKellar, experienced some extreme backcountry adventures with “MudRat” MacKenzie, and were guided to the edge of our solar system by your favorite astronomer.
Our chapter sponsored two middle school students who attended Camp Colby last summer: Rhiley Adams from Ogdensburg Free Academy and Gabriel Damon from Brushton-Moira Central School. Rhiley is a 7th grader at OFA, and this is an excerpt from a letter of thanks she wrote after attending camp:
I was never able to enjoy so many outdoor activities. I especially liked climbing St. Regis Mountain. It took us 8 hours to reach the top. I was freaking out because we were so high up, and I could see the whole forest. It was crazy! There was a counselor named Hannah who was my cabin leader. I really liked her a lot. She made me feel safe and have fun. I made a new friend while there. Her name is Lauren. We exchanged emails. We have kept in contact. I just wanted you to know that this was such an amazing experience for me and I am very grateful for your help and Mrs. Verville’s [Rhiley’s guidance counselor] for allowing me to attend Camp Colby.
Last summer we also sponsored Jacob Stiles and Benden Flanagan, two Boy Scouts who worked on the Orebed Trail for the High School Volunteer Trail Work program. Jacob writes of his adventure:
My experience on the Orebed Trail was amazing. The counselors and others taught me great lessons that I can use in life. It was fun to meet and work with kids from other areas who are not familiar with the Adirondack region. The work we did was hard and very fun. Because of his experience, I am likely to do again next year.
If you know of any teens between the ages of 14 to 17 who love the outdoors and aren’t afraid of hard work, please pass their names along to Jeanna to be considered for sponsorship for next summer’s trail work program.
We already have an exciting series of talks planned for our Outdoors-Indoors program beginning in January. We’ll hear what it’s like to survive an avalanche on Mt. Washington, paddle along in the 90-miler Canoe Classic, study some strange creatures that inhabit nearby bogs and take an 8000-mile journey through western national parks, with a little side-trip to Alaska thrown in for good measure. The schedule of these events can be found elsewhere in this North Wind issue.
Finally, I’d like to express my sincerest thanks to my wife Cheryl for helping out with the refreshments and chair arrangements at our talks the past two years. I hope that you will join me in welcoming Jeanna and supporting our chapter in the coming year’s events. I hope to see you on the trail.