Outdoor School was my first official job that I wasn’t college affiliated. I moved from New Hampshire to work there [after] I was encouraged by another Outdoor Schooler. He went by the name of “Muckle Futz”. He was one of my best friends in college. In New Hampshire, he never stopped talking about how much better Oregon was and he encouraged me to apply for a job at Outdoor School.
The people that I met [at Outdoor School] were just phenomenal. When I was on site I had a site supervisor named “Cherokee” who I’m still good friends with. I consider him a mentor in a lot of ways. He would point out to us that for a lot of the kids, it’s the only week in their entire childhood that they would get three meals a day every day, that they would be engaged and observed and cared for all day every day. There was just so much meaning and passion behind it. There was the ecology education which was great and interesting. We’re in a beautiful environment. But for me, that was a vehicle for the other essential things that were happening. There was art that was intertwined through. We had Janice El-Hindi as our chef on site and every Wednesday it would be International Day. She happened to be married to a person who was from the Middle East and she would make a huge Middle East spread for the whole camp and it just was really, really special and I made some really great friends.
I’ve been in the Northwest for twenty years now and I think if I hadn’t had the experience I’ve had at Outdoor School it’s unlikely that my career and my life would have been shaped in the way that it did.