Archive for the ‘Service’ Category

Outward Bound Plans to Reopen Mazama, WA Basecamp

13/07/2012

Three Fools Peak, Paysaytan Wilderness

An Outward Bound base of operations in Washington State will be reopened according to the Northwest Outward Bound School Board of Directors. I’m glad to hear this good news, as I spent many a day there when working for OB, and like many instructors, still consider it my other home.  This just in..

“On Monday, several members of the Washington Advisory Council (Steve Smith, Josh Cole, Dave Betts, Wyatt Southworth-Thomas, Julie Weis) drove to Portland to present a few options for the potential reopening of the Mazama basecamp. The following has been released from the board of directors of the Northwest Outward Bound School:

“The Northwest Outward Bound School Board of Directors has enthusiastically committed to reopening the Washington Program and the Mazama Basecamp for the 2013 season. How robust this programming will be has not yet been determined, but

OB student rappels in the North Cascade Wilderness

Northwest Outward Bound School Board, staff, and volunteers look forward to offering powerful programs in a spectacular setting. Reviving the program has taken the effort, commitment, and dedication of dozens of people on the Washington Advisory Council and the Friends of Mazama group, and moving from this decision to program implementation will take the support of many more people. For this to come to fruition, we need to raise a significant amount of funding, and we accept gifts through our website (www.nwobs.org) or at 31520 E. Woodard Street, Troutdale, OR, 97060. Your contribution toward this effort will make it a reality. We wish to thank all of those who have given time, energy, and funds to get us to this place and to all of those who will offer support in the coming months.”

– NWOBS Board of Directors

One Hell of a Paddle

30/04/2012

Expedition 2012: From  Vermont to James Bay by Canoe
Paddling Forward, Giving Back

Expedition 2012's Route

By R.Richards
Family friend, Tom Bloch is one of ten crew members of Expedition 2012, an epic 1,200 mile canoe trip from Lake Dunmore Vermont to James Bay in Northern Canada, which is underway as we post this.

The expedition is an effort to support the Keewaydin Foundation in its ongoing mission to preserve “the Keewaydin Way”, and extend its benefits to an ever-greater range of today’s youth. The Foundation has three summer camps: Keewaydin Temagami (Ontario, Canada), Keewaydin Dunmore (Salisbury, Vermont), and Songadeewin of Keewaydin (Salisbury, Vermont).

To accomplish their goal, Expedition 2012 is committed to establish a new scholarship endowment for the Foundation. Expedition 2012 is using the extended wilderness canoe trip, which is a tradition at Keewaydin’s as a fundraising platform,  . They are paddling the long route over the course of 65 days in wood and canvas boats hand-crafted by the expedition members. During the course of this project, expedition members are additionally dedicated to environmental advocacy towards the preservation of the wilderness we hold dear. To learn more about the progress of the expedition, and to follow the the paddlers go here, or head over to  their blog

Keewaydin states on their website, “To live for a summer in a world largely unstructured and shaped only by nature itself… this is an adventure few are privileged to know.” and adds, “Through these programs, Keewaydin builds strong, independent character while exposing young men and women to a bygone lifestyle. Since 1893, Keewaydin has withstood the temptation of change, holding firm to what is dear of the past and leaving it untouched. Keewaydin’s simplicity and special link to the undisturbed wilderness set our programs apart from traditional camp experiences. This is the Keewaydin Way.” To learn more about the camp, visit their website.

The map, drawn up by Johnny Clore, shows the full itinerary of Expedition 2012 from Lake Dunmore down Otter Creek to Lake Champlain, then down the Richelieu River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  From Montreal, we’ll head upstream on the Ottawa River for over three hundred miles and cut west for our resupply at Temagami by following the fabled “Trip In.”  From there the route leads over a swift succession of smaller lakes and rivers to the Abitibi River, where we will restock and head for the bay at Moosonee. Resupply locations are indicated with yellow stars. Click the “Itinerary” tab on the left to get a more detailed look at our itinerary.

Tom Bloch, On Expedition 2012

Tom Bloch has written a personal mission statement and essay, as have the other members of the team), which starts out…”I never went to summer camp.  Instead of big canvas tents and shiny green canoes, my childhood summers were filled with soccer camps and family hiking trips.  Now, here’s the shocker: I turned out just fine.  As of my college graduation last May, I was a reasonably well-adjusted, mild-mannered young man with sensible career aspirations and even a few healthy hobbies.  The world is rife with friendly, successful people who have never paddled a canoe.  In light of this, what is the value of Keewaydin?  Why this grand expedition? Read the rest of Tom’s entry here..

Getting Out – Seeing the World

06/02/2012

Rachael Umbriano is Taking a Big Bite Out of Life
I met Rachael at a recent wilderness emergency medicine refresher course in North Conway, NH where we were both participants. Rachael just finished a year-long stint studying in Italy and traveling to 40 countries in her spare time while in Europe. A rock climber and go-getter, Rachael has some cool ambitions – see her vid below.
Learn how getting out of the U.S. for an extended period can shift your perspective. The Aussie’s and Kiwi’s call it an O.E. (overseas expedition). Most Americans, due to our work and study schedules, plus our limited work reciprocity with other countries only take short visits abroad. Rachael doesn’t fit that stereotype.

Build It & They Will Come

14/01/2012

An Outpost of Sustainability

Robert and Robyn Guyton were determined to start a food forest instead of mowing a front lawn. And a forest did they grow,  when in the mid-’90’s,  they purchased some land and a house in the small coastal town of Riverton, New Zealand. Riverton along with its neighbor, Invercargill rank as one of the southernmost towns in the world, and back then Riverton was an affordable place to buy land. It still is compared to the northern resort towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, the latter which graces its runway with  private jets, rivaling Aspen Colorado.

The Guytons worked  in earnest on their two lots planting trees and plants based on permaculture practices. When they first started, they received some odd looks from the neighbors, as their front yard started to take on the forest look. There were no other like-minded people in Riverton when they arrived, but undeterred, they started a cooperative learning center called the South Coast Environment Society.

Today the organization modestly states on its website it is an umbrella group for a “several” local environmental groups who have information,displays and meetings in the centre. Those several groups include:

Groups working for protection and enhancement of local ecosystems:

  • Riverton Estuary Care Society
  • Aparima Pest Busters
  • Aparima Nursery Enterprise
  • Seed Balls for Restoration projects

Groups working to promote sustainable lifestyles:

  • Riverton Natural Health Group
  • South Coast Permaculture
  • Sustainable Lifestyles project
  • Riverton Organic Food Co-op

Groups promoting sustainable growing methods

  • Riverton Organic Growers Gardeners Group
  • Southland Seed Savers
  • Riverton Organic Farmers Market
  • Riverton Community Orchard
  • Rivertonians for Alternatives to Toxic Substances (RATS)

Robert Guyton

My wife and I met the Guytons when they were giving a presentation on sustainability to the ultra small Garston School, (which deserves its own blog post),  New Zealand. We were intrigued with their presentation, which included a movie (to be posted on this blog) called “Welcome to the Food Forest”. We decided to take our chances and take the hour and half drive from our place and show up unannounced. Even though we had a standing invitation, we happened to miss them, when we stopped by to say hi. Nevertheless, I decided to interview Mark Baily while visiting the centre. You can see the video on my adjacent post.  We’ll have to get down there again when Robert and Robyn are home, so we can get the proper tour of their food forest!

Project Positive

06/01/2012

Graeme Dingle, New Zealand mountaineer does good

Graeme Dingle is fast becoming one of my role models, and I’ve never met the man. I intend to though. Maybe if I’m fortunate, we may collaborate on a co-venture project helping to connect people to the mountains, who knows. The more I learn about Mr. Dingle, the more I like and respect who he is, what he stands for, and what he’s accomplished in outdoor education.
Here’s an article from the Directions Magazine
By Laura Crooks

Inspiring New Zealand teenagers to reach their potential was a plan born during a trip to the Arctic by adventurer Graeme Dingle and partner Jo-anne
Wilkinson in the early ’90s.

Why did you think New Zealand needed a specific programme to help the country’s youth?
I set  up the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC) in 1972 and I thought that was my  contribution to New Zealand in terms of young people. But it was really just the start, because I learnt so much about youth development through it and I got to thinking about the business of dealing with harder kids than those we met at OPC. I felt that for kids who had low confidence and low self-esteem, a one week experience in the wilderness wasn’t enough – it needed to be a continuum of things that really built on what had been learnt in that first period. I then set out to do the first continuous circumnavigation of the Arctic and in the Arctic you get a lot of very unusual communities – they’re very isolated and they live in such extraordinary circumstances where it’s light half the year, then continuously dark the other half of the year. They have very high rates of suicide, the kids don’t have too much to look forward to, and that started us thinking. But it didn’t really hit home until we got back to New Zealand – that here we lived in paradise and yet we had one of the highest rates of youth suicide, youth incarceration, dropouts from school unplanned teenage pregnancy – the works. The main catalyst was going to see Once Were Warriors – that was the thing that finally made us say: “Let’s do something about this”. So, Jo-anne and I invented Project K. basically. The Project K Trust grew into the Foundation for Youth Development (FYD) with nearly 20,000 young people in programmes each year. The FYD runs programmes for kids aged 5 – 18, and Project K is one of these. (more…)

Protesting Gold Mines in Peru Pays Off

30/11/2011

Successful Gold Mining Protestor

Copper and gold mine project in Peru suspended in face of protests
LIMA, PERU, AND BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Faced with increasingly violent local opposition, the developers of the giant Conga gold and copper mine in northern Peru suspended the project late Tuesday night, saying they were bowing to a demand from the government of President Ollanta Humala.

Much of the northern district of Cajamarca has been paralyzed the last six days by general strikes called by Conga opponents that closed businesses and schools. Residents were concerned that the massive gold and copper mine could pollute the region’s water supply, a charge the mine’s operators, led by Colorado-based Newmont Mining, strenuously denied.

The situation became more violent Tuesday, as protesters burned an office at the site of the proposed mine and clashes between protesters and police in the area left 17 injured and two arrested. Thousands of demonstrators massed in the central square of Cajamarca, the region’s largest city.

As proposed, Conga would be a giant open pit gold mine similar to the Yanacocha mine 20 miles to the north, which is also operated by Newmont. But it would include a copper mine and smelter.

Newmont has proposed investing $4 billion in the new project, which could produce between 580,000 and 680,000 ounces of gold a year. The government had projected it would receive royalties and taxes totaling $800 million annually once the mine was fully operational after 2014, income the left-leaning Humala government was counting on to finance social and infrastructure project. Read the rest of this story..

Snatam Kaur on Yoga/Meditation

29/09/2011

From: Snatam Kaur’s Blog

Snatam Kaur on Yoga

Life has such an ebb and flow. One minute you can be riding the wave, the next minute you are under the wave. One minute you can feel safe and secure in your life, and the next minute you can feel totally threatened by something.

I find that when I meditate it helps me to separate myself from the sting of something to realize that it is all coming from God’s Divine Will. Usually the most emotionally charged things aren’t really that big of a deal anyway. (more…)

Turning Passion into Purpose

15/09/2011

The North Face makes good

Cedar Wright on Turning his Passion into Purpose and an upcoming Expedition to Summit for Someone
By Cedar Wright, The North Face

This year I had the privilege and pleasure of attending several Outdoor Nation events to represent the North Face as a proud advocate of the movement to get more youth outside. I told my story of finding passion and direction through climbing in Yosemite, to hundreds of young people who are committed to turning the tide on the sad reality that at no time in human history have kids spent less time outdoors.
I spoke alongside Juan Martinez who is an Outdoor Participation ambassador for The North Face’s initiative to inspire more people everywhere to explore and push their personal limits in the outdoors.  His story of growing up surrounded by the negativity, gangs, and crime in South Central LA and then having his life changed by getting the opportunity to camp out and see stars for the first time was truly inspirational.  Juan’s journey reinforced what I have always believed; that these programs are invaluable for creating a bridge from the hustle and bustle of urban life to the quiet magic of Mother Nature. read the rest of this story..

Ed note: I take back everything I ever said about The North Face. Well, we still need to curb consumerism for consumerism’s sake, old stuff will do, and when that’s trashed, but durable goods. But I do commend the company for their initiatives in funding worthwhile orgs and projects under their grant program called the Explore Fund.

Citizenship, and the Tenacity of Pursuit

08/09/2011

Teddy Roosevelt on "Staying in the Arena"

What does it mean to be a good citizen these days?
Teddy Roosevelt had some definite ideas on the subject. Below is an excerpt from his speech Citizenship in a Republic.
And from where does the term Tenacity of Pursuit come?
Kurt Hahn
, the founder of Outward Bound considered “the tenacity of pursuit” to be one of his key outcomes of a good education.

Kurt Hahn

Says Hahn,  “I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion.”

TR’s life shows us that hard work, tenacity, and a desire to do the right thing can get you far in life. In the most memorable section of his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech, Roosevelt captured his life philosophy in just a few sentences. “The Man in the Arena” tells us that the man we should praise is the man who’s out there fighting the big battles, even if those battles end in defeat. In our day, when cynicism and aloof detachment are considered hip and cool, TR reminds us that glory and honor come to those “who spend themselves in a worthy cause.”

The Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

“Voluntourism”

04/07/2011

Voluntourism Emerging as Fast Growing Niche for Outdoor Specialty Retailers
From: The Global Ripple
Clothes that can be worn a long time, not show dirt or stink, and be washed by hand: Rain gear. Sturdy, waterproof walking shoes suitable for mud. Duct tape. Bug repellent. Compact water filter. Headlamp. Pocket knife. Money pouch. Sun block. One-liter, reusable water bottle. Day pack…

These items could easily have been excerpted from a gear list provided by an outfitter, the National Outdoor Leadership School or a chapter of the Youth Conservation Corps, but they were not. They were found instead on gear lists published by — or on behalf of — the American Hiking Society (AHS), the Conservation Volunteers International Program (CVIP) and Wilderness Volunteers, which are among the growing number of non-profit conservation groups partnering with tour operators to fuel rapidly growing demand for voluntourism. Read the rest of this story..