Category Archives: Wilderness Trips

Staff Spotlight – Nick Hill

Nick Hill was born in South Bend, Indiana and is a senior at Indiana University. With Interests in Business, and fine arts, nick is a general studies major with a knack for outdoor education. Through his many trips to Colorado as a young child, he has developed a love for the outdoors in which he spends most of his time. His interests include backpacking, Mountain biking, paddling, and underwater basket weaving.
He has hiked extensively through north carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, and most recently Oregon. He previously worked as a diesel mechanic in South Bend where he learned to fix anything from pink tricycles to heavy machinery.
More about Nick
What is your dream job
– My dream job is to someday race rally cars. that has been a dream of mine and my codrivers since early high school.
A secret hobby or skill that you have?
– A secret hobby of mine is that i enjoy creating unique ceramic pieces either on the wheel, or hand built. This is something that i have been able to expand on in my studies at IU.
Your favorite TV character
– Given that I don’t watch a lot of TV, but do get to watch some movies, i would have to say my favorite Movie character would be Ace Ventura, because humor plays a major roll in my life.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you’d bring?
– If i were stranded on an island, the first thing i would bring would be the essentials to stay alive such as thermal layers to protect from weather, materials to make an emergency shelter plus fire starter. Then i would bring with me the means to play music (music box) and one album. This album would either be Red hot chilli peppers, alt-j, pink floyd dark side of the moon.. not sure. To many to choose from.
How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
– I learned of camp North Star through first applying to camp Timberline. Things didn’t work out there, so they sent my application into Camp North Star, and so the process began. After i had interviewed with Dan, i knew that this would be the kind of environment that i wanted to be in.
 I applied to work as a tripper this summer to use the skill set that i have learned through my last semester in CORE.
Favorite Sports Teams
– I don’t have a favorite sports team, but was part of a competitive paintball league in my younger years. The professional team that i looked up to the most was team dynasty. 
What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
– As far as jobs go, I have worked as a mechanic nearly all my professional life. This has taught me patients that no matter what happens, things can always get worse, and to appreciate and celebrate when things are going smoothly.
What did you do last summer?
– Last summer i was hired as a part time extended hand to demo around 6 acres of trees. Alot of hard work was put in, but had a blast running heavy machinery, and chainsaws.
And lastly, this will not only be the first summer, but the first time ever working in a camp environment. I am stoked to see what North Star is all about and build a community of friends!

Staff Spotlight – Forest Lemon

Forest Lemon returns to North Star for his second summer. He’s from a small town in East Texas called  Nacogdoches. He and his family grew up off the grid, without electricity, television and other amenities. He actually built his house at the age of nine (with the help of his dad).

He’s just finished his sophomore year at the University of Arkansas where he’s majoring in mechanical engineering. In his spare time he likes to rock climbing and is an avid fisherman. The outdoors is a passion of his and he’s done quite a bit of trip leading, working in Atikokan, Ontario leading trips two summers ago for Northern Tier in Quetico. We’re lucky to have Forest back as a wilderness trip leader.
More about Forest

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you’d bring?
– Fishing gear,  H2O and Matches

Favorite special program at camp
– As a trip leader I love the trips!

Your favorite TV or movie character
– Jerry from Tom and Jerry

Your best memory of camp.
– My Canadian experience was all that I could have asked for

Favorite Sports Teams
– Dallas Mavericks and Arkansas Razorbacks

What would you choose for your last meal?
– Steak and fresh vegetables

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
– A Hawk

Your two favorite books
– My Fathers Dragon and Hatchet

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
– I play the fiddle

How has camp impacted you?
– North Star has given my something to look forward too

Staff Spotlight – Christopher Rodriguez

Christopher Rodriguez joins us for his second summer. A trip leader in 2013, he’ll serve as the director of our trip program this summer. Christopher is originally from Fort Worth, Texas but has lived in Nacogdoches for 7 of the last nine years. He just graduated From Stephen F Austin University and he wants everyone to know that their mascot is the Lumberjack. At SFAU he was a trips logistics manager of the Outdoor Pursuits program. In that role he oversaw trip leaders, was in charge of logistics for the program and also led trips. 

He’s a big sports fan but unfortunately he didn’t get to see SFAU’s big March Madness win over VCU because he was visiting his niece who wanted to watch Frozen. He’s also a big baseball fan, cheering on the Texas Rangers and is always up for checking out a new ballpark. 
More about Christopher
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you’d bring?
– A really good book, guitar, and lighter.

Favorite special program at camp
– Tripping Program!

Your favorite TV or movie character
– Benjamin Button

Your best memory of camp.
– Meeting so many great people, co-workers and campers!

Favorite Sports Teams
– Texas Rangers, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars

What would you choose for your last meal?
– My mom’s homemade chicken enchiladas

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
– Easy, a Panda Bear

Your two favorite books
– Better Off by Eric Brende and Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
– No secrets from this guy.

How has camp impacted you?
– In just one summer, North Star helped me build upon my professional and personal experience. I love meeting new people and that’s exactly what I got to do all summer long. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about the people I will be working with this summer!

Staff Spotlight – Zach Voigt

Zach Voigt, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has spent much of his life with a pack on his back or a paddle in his hand. An avid sailor, backpacker, and CrossFitter, Zach’s lack of an outdoorsman’s beard is a source of constant disappointment, but he hopes his Irish genetics will kick in before he reaches the age of thirty. Until then, he embraces his Korean half as he attempts to grow an epic top-knot hairstyle. 
Trekking in Argentina, Colombia, Israel, Vietnam, and India, among others, have provided him with unique cultural experiences on which relies daily. In particular, Zach’s time apprenticing with a Nepali artisan crafting traditional knives teaches him patience, endurance, and mental fortitude in the face of adversity, useful traits in the outdoors. A sophomore at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, Zach intends to study Athletic Training and Exercise Science in the hopes of pursuing his interests in fitness and wellness and medical care of athletic injuries.

More about Zach

What is your dream job
–  Zach’s dream job is food-tester for a well loved, benevolent queen and/or king with fantastic taste in food. Applying royalty must fit the following criteria: low chance of coup d’etat; prefer food with minimal-to-moderate spiciness.
 A secret hobby or skill that you have?
–  If recognizing relatively obscure Battlestar Galactica and Firefly references doesn’t counts as a skill, though not that Zach keeps his love of science fiction a secret, Zach would say that the ultimate search for the perfect cup of coffee is one of his true passions.

Your favorite TV character
– Zach has an abiding love affair with Michael Weston of USA’s Burn Notice, though he admits that Daryl from AMC’s The Walking Dead is a close, close second.
 

 If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you’d bring?
– Assuming his normal Snow White-like charm over animals is not an item he can bring, Zach would bring his handy Steri-Pen for water purification, batteries to last as long as necessary, and his ever-present kukri, a Himalayan survival tool he made while in India.
 
How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
– To Zach’s constant frustration, a North Star alum, now a fifty-some year old board member (of the Camp for All Kids Scholarship Foundation) and school teacher, routinely kicks his butt up and down their local CrossFit gym, known as a box. Upon post-workout commiseration, Zach and Joe spoke of their shared love of the outdoors and the opportunity they provide for teaching lessons from which everyone can benefit, prompting very fond memories of North Star and a suggestion to apply as a Wilderness Trip Leader. Zach’s experience leading, guiding, and designing trips for high school and college students, along with his own camp experience, has taught him many valuable lessons about leadership, responsibility, and logistics, to name a few newfound passions, so many that he would like to see shared effectively in the context of group living in the outdoors.
Favorite Sports Teams
– Zach admits that the Cleveland Browns are a tough team to root for, but his love for his local underdog team persists. If you promise not to tell his friends, Zach also admits he has been known to root for the Cincinnati Reds every once in a while in hopes of an Ohio team actually doing well in any sport.
 
What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
–  Zach’s unlikely past as an office assistant and data entry employee have shown him the way to the jobs he loves and seeks, including guiding college orientation trips in the Adirondack Mountains in New York and college recreational rock climbing and bouldering trips in Joshua Tree National Park. Admittedly, not a lot of life experience comes from working in an office, but working jobs to pay the bills has led Zach to appreciate the time he has spent in the outdoors and in the box as an interning coach.

What did you do last summer?
– Zach spent the summer guiding a backpacking and canoeing trip for rising freshmen at Kalamazoo College. Attending his second Wilderness First Responder course, Trip Leader Training, and leading nine students with a co-leader will forever be one of Zach’s fondest memories.

 What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?
–  Zach attended several different camps before settling on Camp Wise in Chardon, Ohio. There, he found lifelong friends and first learned about communal living. Playing various sports, playing and teaching guitar, and learning about the local ecology helped solidify Zach’s love of the outdoors and his connection to them.

Staff Spotlight – Stratton Shook

This will be my 2nd summer at camp and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. I grew up in Southern Maryland and went to high school in Washington DC (about 10 blocks from the Capitol). For college, I headed off to Washington State, going to Gonzaga in Spokane, WA. While at Gonzaga I joined the outdoor recreation dorm, went snowshoeing, skiing and climbing. I graduated with a  business degree, and after a year working in the corporate world, I moved to China to teach English.
After camp last year, I spent 2 months roadtripping around the US everywhere from the Wind Rivers in Wyoming, to Seattle, LA and beyond. During the winter, I worked at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont where I tried to snowboard as much as possible.
More about Stratton
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you’d bring?
– Satellite phone to phone home when I wanted to leave, Fishing pole to catch some dinner and a lighter- easiest way to make fire.

Favorite special program at camp

– When the buses arrive (Is that a special program? Because it seems special). There is just something about all the energy buzzing at the opening of camp.
Your favorite TV or movie character
– Neil Caffrey  from White Collar.
Your best memory of camp.
– Sharing some delicious Norske Nook Pies.
Favorite Sports Teams
– Washington Nationals

What would you choose for your last meal?
– Filet Mignon- Medium Rare with a crab cake on the side
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
– Falcon
Your two favorite books
– The Ascent of Rum Doodle & A Walk in the Woods
A secret hobby or skill that you have?
–  Secret hobby- Model Railroading
How has camp impacted you?
– It’s been fun to meet a bunch of new people and allows me to pursue a career in the outdoors.

Staff Spotlight – Jason Funk

I was born in New England and grew up in New Hampshire. My childhood was a lot of fun and I remember fond times spent with my family and friends hiking in the white mountains and summers on Lake Winnipesaukee swimming and boating. My dream as a kid growing up reading National Geographic magazines was to explore the world.
I guess it was no surprise that I chose to move out west to study anthropology in Arizona, to work at archaeological reserve in Belize for a summer and join the Peace Corps to serve in Ecuador. Recently I just finished a dual MA degree in International Studies and Environment & Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I’m excited about joining the North Star community, getting to know the campers and staff, and sharing in exploring the outdoors as a trip leader.   
More About Jason

Your three favorite movies of all time: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Dances with Wolves, Back to the Future

What is your dream job:
To be an explorer- full-time

Best place you’ve ever traveled to: Wind River Mountains in Wyoming

Favorite cartoon character: Wile E. Coyote

If you could have lunch with any two people, dead or alive, who would they be?: Layton Kor and Gary Nabhan are two individuals that I admire and find fascinating

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?: I found out about North Star through a NOLS internet job posting that I check regularly. I applied to be a wilderness trip leader at North Star for a few reasons: First, there are few things I enjoy doing more than giving back to youth through teaching, mentoring and sharing my knowledge about nature, wilderness travel and adventure sports.  Second, I was really impressed by the sense of community at North Star after talking with a few of the staff from camp.  Finally, I have never been to Wisconsin and hear lots of great things, so I’m excited to make my way out there for camp this summer!

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?: The most random job I have ever had was during high school working at a clothing department store (I won’t name which). Long story short, the job didn’t last long because I am mildly color blind and my ability to match clothing for display racks was not up to par… so if any staff or campers are reading this remember to not ask me about wardrobe choices that have to do with color because I likely won’t be much help.

What did you do last summer?:
I backpacked in Peru for two months after Peace Corps Service in Ecuador.

What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?:
I was a camper at Camp Belknap in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee as a third grader. I am not ashamed to admit that I was a little bit home sick during the first week, but by the time my parents came to pick me up I remember not wanting to leave! When I was a bit older before starting high school I went on a two week rock climbing intensive camp with Outward bound in North Carolina. The two experiences really shaped my love of the outdoors, camping outside, climbing rocks and mountains as well as traveling and exploring.

Staff Spotlight – Jason Funk

I was born in New England and grew up in New Hampshire. My childhood was a lot of fun and I remember fond times spent with my family and friends hiking in the white mountains and summers on Lake Winnipesaukee swimming and boating. My dream as a kid growing up reading National Geographic magazines was to explore the world.
I guess it was no surprise that I chose to move out west to study anthropology in Arizona, to work at archaeological reserve in Belize for a summer and join the Peace Corps to serve in Ecuador. Recently I just finished a dual MA degree in International Studies and Environment & Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I’m excited about joining the North Star community, getting to know the campers and staff, and sharing in exploring the outdoors as a trip leader.   
More About Jason

Your three favorite movies of all time: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Dances with Wolves, Back to the Future

What is your dream job:
To be an explorer- full-time

Best place you’ve ever traveled to: Wind River Mountains in Wyoming

Favorite cartoon character: Wile E. Coyote

If you could have lunch with any two people, dead or alive, who would they be?: Layton Kor and Gary Nabhan are two individuals that I admire and find fascinating

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?: I found out about North Star through a NOLS internet job posting that I check regularly. I applied to be a wilderness trip leader at North Star for a few reasons: First, there are few things I enjoy doing more than giving back to youth through teaching, mentoring and sharing my knowledge about nature, wilderness travel and adventure sports.  Second, I was really impressed by the sense of community at North Star after talking with a few of the staff from camp.  Finally, I have never been to Wisconsin and hear lots of great things, so I’m excited to make my way out there for camp this summer!

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?: The most random job I have ever had was during high school working at a clothing department store (I won’t name which). Long story short, the job didn’t last long because I am mildly color blind and my ability to match clothing for display racks was not up to par… so if any staff or campers are reading this remember to not ask me about wardrobe choices that have to do with color because I likely won’t be much help.

What did you do last summer?:
I backpacked in Peru for two months after Peace Corps Service in Ecuador.

What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?:
I was a camper at Camp Belknap in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee as a third grader. I am not ashamed to admit that I was a little bit home sick during the first week, but by the time my parents came to pick me up I remember not wanting to leave! When I was a bit older before starting high school I went on a two week rock climbing intensive camp with Outward bound in North Carolina. The two experiences really shaped my love of the outdoors, camping outside, climbing rocks and mountains as well as traveling and exploring.

Staff Spotlight – Jason Mann

Jason Mann returns for his 5th summer at North Star. He’s currently in China on an internship so we don’t have an updated staff spotlight for him, but here is his info from last year. We’re thrilled to have him back! 

 This past year has gone by incredibly fast and I cannot believe its already time to be getting back to camp for another fun filled summer. This past year I was hard at work taking business and marketing classes so I can finish up my degree at UW- Stevens Point. If all goes according to plan I should be finishing up and graduating next May.

Along with school I was also hard at work repairing, re-building, cleaning and tuning up bikes for friends, family, students and various other customers. Our bike shop “Dr. Wheels” seems to be more of a hobby than an actual business but its a work in progress and allows me to further my experience and knowledge with bike maintenance and repairs. I also worked for Wheel and Sprocket (a bike company in Wisconsin and a new location in Illinois) at their spring bike expo sale in Milwaukee at the state fair expo center. Their was over 3000 bikes at the sale and it was an awesome opportunity and experience for me. Along with studying and various work I have been working hard to stay in shape and be ready for the summer of trip leading. I ride my bike as much as possible, run, go climbing, lift weights and practice several martial arts to keep myself disciplined. Other than that not much else is new, just looking forward to my fourth summer as a trip leader.
More About Jason
Favorite Tombstone pizza type: Veggie

Favorite project at camp (that you don’t necessarily instruct): Biking

Your three favorite movies of all time: The Big Lebowski, IP Man, Wizard of Oz

Preferred wanegan offering: Starburst

Best evening program at camp: Espionage

Favorite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

Favorite camp (card) game: Malarky…. its a tripper thing

If you could have lunch with any two people, dead or alive, who would they be?:  Bruce Lee and George Washington

What is your dream job: Working for Trek (the bike company) or operating my own business

A little known fact about yourself: I have a terrible sense of direction… but not to worry this is more so in urban areas ha ha, particularly if I’m driving. Out in the woods with a compass and map I’m golden, so we don’t have to worry about any lost campers or trippers ha ha.

Staff Spotlight – Jason Mann

 This past year has gone by incredibly fast and I cannot believe its already time to be getting back to camp for another fun filled summer. This past year I was hard at work taking business and marketing classes so I can finish up my degree at UW- Stevens Point. If all goes according to plan I should be finishing up and graduating next May.

Along with school I was also hard at work repairing, re-building, cleaning and tuning up bikes for friends, family, students and various other customers. Our bike shop “Dr. Wheels” seems to be more of a hobby than an actual business but its a work in progress and allows me to further my experience and knowledge with bike maintenance and repairs. I also worked for Wheel and Sprocket (a bike company in Wisconsin and a new location in Illinois) at their spring bike expo sale in Milwaukee at the state fair expo center. Their was over 3000 bikes at the sale and it was an awesome opportunity and experience for me. Along with studying and various work I have been working hard to stay in shape and be ready for the summer of trip leading. I ride my bike as much as possible, run, go climbing, lift weights and practice several martial arts to keep myself disciplined. Other than that not much else is new, just looking forward to my fourth summer as a trip leader.
More About Jason

Favorite Tombstone pizza type: Veggie

Favorite project at camp (that you don’t necessarily instruct): Biking

Your three favorite movies of all time: The Big Lebowski, IP Man, Wizard of Oz

Preferred wanegan offering: Starburst

Best evening program at camp: Espionage

Favorite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

Favorite camp (card) game: Malarky…. its a tripper thing

If you could have lunch with any two people, dead or alive, who would they be?:  Bruce Lee and George Washington

What is your dream job: Working for Trek (the bike company) or operating my own business

A little known fact about yourself: I have a terrible sense of direction… but not to worry this is more so in urban areas ha ha, particularly if I’m driving. Out in the woods with a compass and map I’m golden, so we don’t have to worry about any lost campers or trippers ha ha.

Staff Spotlight – Stratton Shook

Stratton Shook grew up in Southern Maryland and went to high school in Washington DC (about 10 blocks from the Capitol). He headed off to Washington State for college, where he went to Gonzaga  in Spokane, WA. While at Gonzaga he joined the outdoor recreation dorm, went snowshoeing, skiing and climbing. Stratton graduated with his business degree, and after a year working in the corporate world, he moved to China to teach English. He hopes to complete his MBA in the future and combine business with his love for the outdoors.
Throughout his life, Stratton has been to 23 distinct countries (24 if you count North Korea at the DMZ) and 46 of the 50 states. Recently, he returned from a National Outdoor Leadership School course in Northern India and a side-trip to Everest Base Camp. This will be Stratton’s first year at North Star as he joins us as a wilderness trip leader.
More About Stratton

Your three favorite movies of all time: Apollo 13, Ocean’s 11, Shawshank Redemption
What is your dream job: Owner of an adventure travel company.
Best place you’ve ever traveled to: Every place is so different that it’s hard to pick just one. The place I would go back to right now is Iceland. I drove around the island one spring break with a friend and had an amazing time.
Favorite cartoon character: Calvin and Hobbes (I know it’s cheating to pick two but you can’t have one without the other).

If you could have lunch with any two people, dead or alive, who would they be?: George Washington- would be awesome to hear his perspective on the current state of America. Michelangelo- I studied his works in college and got to see many of his sculptures in person.
How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?: I learned about North Star through NOLS and applied because the camp seemed awesome. Also, who doesn’t want to spend the summer working in the great outdoors?
What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?: Spent 2 summers umpiring Little League Baseball and Softball games, worked as an English Teacher in China, interned for a Congresswoman for one summer.
What did you do last summer?: Last summer I spent working at Casual Adventure (an independent outdoor retailer) while I trained for my NOLS Backpacking course. 
What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?: I played baseball all summer so I never got the traditional camp experience but did spend a week at a photography camp in Maine.