In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Nature Camps, we’re introducing 40 alumnae, counselors, parents and students over the next several months.
These alumnae are dispersed around the globe, are passionate about their life’s work and the environment –many raising families and delighting in watching grandchildren — all continuing to work in the service of others.
Ian Leinwand spent 1985 to 1991 as a Camper, 1992 to 1994 as an Explorer and served as a Counselor through 1998. Today, he is a Landscape Ecologist and GIS Analyst as well as Co-Owner of The Gearage Outdoor Sports. Ian lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.
In Ian’s Words: It’s hard to put into words the immense impact Nature Camps has had on my life. To me, camp is more than a place. It’s a community, a philosophy, and a life time of memories. Memories that are more than memories.
I can smell the damp earth, feel the cool water, hear the songs of joy, and see bustling excitement of campers on their way to morning activities.
Nature Camp taught me the following:
Seek a lifetime of adventure and experience.
Be confident in my abilities as a leader.
Understand how to work within a group.
Have compassion for nature and people.
Value community, fresh air, clean water.
And of course the fun of getting dirty.
As a Camper I excelled at getting dirty — stream walks, all day hikes to the Gunpowder River, canoeing, leprechaun house building, and capture the flag were my favorite activities.
My time as an Explorer eased the awkward adolescent years by surrounding me with a community of all ages and an environment where was I was free from expectations and judgment.
My love of camping and backpacking stems from my first backpacking trip with Nature Camps on the Appalachian Trail.
Growing up at camp gave me a sense of ownership and responsibility that naturally lead to being a Counselor. Being a Nature Camp Counselor is probably the best job I will ever have!
I will forever cherish my Nature Camp experiences and my lifelong friendships.
I hope it is a wonderful spring and summer camp season. You created a place, community, and a philosophy that represents all that is good in the world. The legacy of Nature Camps is infinite.