Shirley has led somewhere around twenty AHS Volunteer Vacations. That probably means she likes being of service to crews, land managers, AHS, trails, and trail users. She loves meeting people, making lists of food and gear, fiddling with gear, getting dirty, and sleeping in a tent. She appreciates it if someone else will make the coffee as she is not a morning person. She threw away a career in public health to go to seminary, and is now poorer but happier.
Ed has been volunteering with AHS for nearly 20 years. He started as a crew member and has been leading AHS Crews for the last 16 years. Ed lived in Colorado for nearly 20 years and now calls Northern Virginia home. He has led crews all over the country with his favorite areas being the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with Virginia and Georgia a close second. Now fully retired, he splits his volunteer time between AHS Volunteer Vacations, his local Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Habitat for Humanity Road Trip Crazies. Ed views each of these activities ways to meet new people sharing a common goal of giving back and helping others.
Ed professes to be unusual in the Volunteer Vacation participant world, he is not a “hiker”. So his favorite hike is anywhere his tools take him to work on the trail and where his youngest grandson wants to go in the Shenandoah National Park.
I am a retired middle school teacher. I taught 35 years and coached 30. My first volunteer project with AHS was in 2001 on Lemhi Pass in Idaho. I have also worked on projects in Montana, Oregon, and Idaho. I try to participate on at least 2 projects each year. I am a member of Washington Trails Assoc., Montana Wilderness, and AHS.
I live in Walla Walla Washington, but my heart is in Montana where I was born. When not involved in trail work, you can find me doing a variety of activities such as tying flies, fly fishing in a nice stream, spending time with my grandkids, teaching fly tying to kids and adults, playing my trumpet in our community band and traveling now that my husband is also retired.
Ken has been an avid day hiker for decades but in the last 15 years has been able to repay the work of others in terms of planning, creating and maintaining hiking trails. He has done this volunteer work with a number of organizations but especially with The Nature Conservancy on their Kentucky Palisades Preserves. For a number of years Ken has also worked each year on a Volunteer Vacation including serving as a crew leader for the last decade in projects across the United States. Ken is a retired planner focusing on capital project planning and campus master planning. He has recently moved from a large home on a farm adjacent to a nature preserve to a much smaller (and more manageable) house in town. As a result he values his time in natural settings even more.
Ken enjoys turning wood objects on a spring pole lathe. He built the lathe 10 years ago and it is a historically accurate configuration. It is treadle powered (by Ken’s leg) and was in use from the middle ages until it went out of use with the availability of first steam and eventually electric power. He demonstrates the lathe occasionally at historic settings.
Mary Chayka-Crawford’s first experience with the American Hiking Society was on a Volunteer Vacation in Alaska in 2011. Since that time, she has been Crew Leader on eight Volunteer Vacations. She is also an Adventure Travel Trip Leader for the Adirondack Mountain Club. Mary calls Michigan her home but travels half the year in the United States and around the world. Most of that time is spent hiking or volunteering for various projects and generally for trail construction projects. Mary considers the outdoors the best “office” location there is and her trail stewardship the best opportunity to give back.
Chad is an avid outdoorsman who lives in Colleyville, TX. After spending 30 years serving the flying public as an Air Traffic Controller he decided to hang up the headset, leave the dark radar room, and get outside. He now serves as the Water Programs Coordinator at a large nature center. After a lifetime of hiking, he realized that it was time to give back to the trail system that he has enjoyed so much and began volunteering for AHS. He has done multiple trips and became a Crew Leader in 2014. His favorite place to hike is basically anywhere that he can see water. Besides hiking, he enjoys canoeing, fly fishing, woodworking, and wood carving.
Wayne has been working on trails with AHS since 2001, in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. All of these were within a day’s drive of his home base in Washington DC. And he has led trail weeks for the past five years in West Virginia and Virginia. He currently is working on his third career–owning and being the prime mover in a handyman service.
Terri and Robert found out they liked doing trail work when they helped their son with his Eagle Scout project. So when both of their kids left for college, they decided to take their first AHS trip. That was in 2010. They are both still currently employed, so when they plan their vacations for the year, they try to combine volunteer trips with personal interests. (ex. see new area, visit friends/relatives, or visit someplace that just sounds like a great place to hike.) They have been mostly front country campers, but have started working/training on their back country skills for their bucket list trips.
Glen is a retired stream gager/hydrologist with the US Geological Survey. With more than 30 years of professional field work in a wide variety of environments across the USA, he was stationed in Georgia, Nevada and Oregon over his career. Glen has been on 5 AHS volunteer vacations. In 2018, Glen has been recently active and out on 30 days of Trail Keepers of Oregon (TKO) trail crews in the Columbia Gorge (post 2017 fires) and attended Crew Leader School at TKO in August 2018.
Glen has a lifetime of experiences in BSA as youth (cub scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle, Explorer) and 20 years as an adult leader, (assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster, Troop Committee Chair High adventure leader). He's led, planned or participated in a dozen 50 mile BSA backpacking trips. With friends he's backpacked the 464 miles of the PCT in Oregon, large portions of the John Muir Trail, climbed several PNW peaks and hiked large sections of the Appalachian Trail. He backpacks about 150 miles a year, at least.
I’m a Washington, DC transplant, originally from small-town Michigan. I’ve been camping and hiking with my family as long as I can remember. Meeting new people and building community is my favorite part of participating in AHS. I also enjoy the physical activity and time in the outdoors that I experienced during my two previous volunteer vacations.
I have been on three Volunteer Vacations, all to Virgin Islands National Park (a great way to get away from Columbus, Ohio!) I’m eager to do more trips to different locations as a crew leader and team member. After 36 years in the Ohio National Guard, 28 as a full-time employee, I look forward to a retirement of bicycling, gardening, traveling, and volunteering!
Gayle is a Florida Native who grew up exploring "off the beaten track" places. Through these explorations she developed a deep love for the beauty of nature. She has worked for the past nineteen years as a city planner, but her passion is anything to do with the outdoors. She is a Certified Florida Master Naturalist, Certified Interpretive Guide, Leave No Trace Trainer. She volunteers as a canoe guide at a local nature center, is an assistant instructor with FWC's Becoming an Outdoor Woman, does survey's for the local Sea Turtle program, & is on Florida Urban Forestry Council Executive Committee, & also volunteers at Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.
Gayle discovered American Hiking Society last year through a friend, and has been on two trips. "It was such a rewarding experience, to explore a new part of the country and volunteer with people from across the nation who shared a love of volunteering and nature. It really is amazing to think that the trails we work on will be enjoyed by so many people in the future. In addition to loving nature, I love to cook! I am known as the dessert maker among my friends & family. I like to bake it and give it away!"
I have been volunteering since I was a child. When I discovered I could combine my love of travel and volunteering I have been all smiles. From Peace Corps to my two recent trips with American Hiking Society’s Volunteer Vacations, I am enjoying being able to give back while discovering new places and meeting new people.
I am a nurse which is a profession which also lets me wander and see new places. My nursing is presently based in a hospital but I have worked in Public Health positions. Presently I’m based in Reston, Virginia but have spent the greatest portion of my life in Maine, which I call home.
Phil Meinert has been participating in volunteer vacations since 2002. He has now done 17 volunteer vacations, 10 of them as the crew leader. Phil has lived over 50 years in Colorado Springs and is a retired systems analyst and bank data processing executive. He considers Arkansas as his first home state and has done 5 of his trips at the Buffalo River. His favorite backpacking location is the Venable Falls trail near Westcliffe, CO.
My first Volunteer Vacation trip was in March and was planned to be a break from the Colorado winter with a nice warm trip to Arizona. After backpacking ten miles through the rain, sleet and snow the group experienced freezing temperatures every night. That was so much fun that I decided to keep doing them.
I am from South Carolina, living most of my time in the upstate region in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. I love to hike and backpack in the region, including the Foothills Trail, Pisgah National Forest, and the Smoky Mountains. I have been on Volunteer Vacations since 2011, and Crew Leader since 2013. I find that participating in this program gives me a great opportunity to backpack in regions and environments other than the Southeast, but also to do so while giving back to the trails with the skills that I have been blessed with. I also relish the chance to get into the backcountry, away from the “always on” switch of the digital world. Now fully retired, I spend my time hiking and backpacking, volunteering with local organizations, and being active in my church. I have been married for 40+ years and have tthree granddaughters to keep me active and entertained.
Darin currently lives Middleton, New Hampshire but grew up in the thumb region of Michigan. After volunteering for a summer with the Forest Service in Utah, Darin enjoyed trail work so much he made into a profession. He has experience building and maintaining trails all over the country with a focus on technical projects in a backcountry setting. He currently works managing over 10,000 acres of forest and over 40 miles of trails in Southern Maine at Mount Agamenticus.
Tina Temple has been an avid trail maintainer since 2005 and thoroughly enjoys the challenges and joys of making our walks in the woods a little easier. Besides improving the trails, the food and meeting great people who share her love of the outdoors are her greatest joys of these trips. She lives in Owensboro, KY retired, and loves to travel and really likes sleeping in a tent! As a crew leader I really relish pleasing the crew with great food and nutritious menus – you’ll never be hungry.
Over her career, Linda has worked as a shepherd, a cook, a lawyer, a forest ranger, and a research scientist. Still not quite retired, she’s transitioning away from leading biological field crews in Montana by being an AHS crew leader in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. She is an avid hiker, and has backpacked throughout the US, Canada, Chile and Nepal. She spends half the year in Montana, and half the year on the Forgotten Coast of northern Florida.
Meredith Webster has been on 5 AHS Trail Trips, the past 3 in the role of Crew Leader. Meredith grew up in the North Cascades and has lived in several locations in Washington, Oregon, and Montana. She currently resides in Missoula, MT. She is an avid backpacker, with almost 50 years of boots-on-trail experience. Meredith is a soon to be retired forest soil scientist. When not on the trail, Meredith keeps a garden, skis, and crochets.
Libby joined American Hiking in 2009 and oversees the organization’s programs including Volunteer Vacations, Alternative Break, National Trails Day, and the National Trails Fund. She holds a B.A. degree in Marketing from James Madison University. Prior to joining AHS, she worked for over five years with a consulting firm as a recruiter and marketing specialist. A Navy upbringing has instilled a love of travel in her and she enjoys discovering new cities and landscapes and the cultures that they represent. Participating in her first “Volunteer Vacation” in college many years ago sparked a passion for traveling with a purpose. Since then she has participated in dozens of stewardship trips across the US. Libby is an experienced and seasoned outdoor recreation group leader, leading volunteer crews since 2010. In her free time, she takes advantage of any opportunity to hike, run, beer taste, and explore the mountains of western North Carolina.