Where Are They Now? Catching Up with Fall 2020 LAS Students

Roisin Low19 Apr, 2021

Adventure Treks’ inaugural Leadership Adventure Semester in fall 2020 exceeded even our highest expectations. This phenomenal group of students formed one of the closest, most inclusive, and most respectful communities we have ever witnessed, and their desire to learn and grow was extraordinary.

Since leaving Adventure Treks, all of our students have embarked on impressive paths, which we share in part one of this blog below!

An Adventure Treks LAS reunion on the slopes.
What have you been up to since LAS ended in November 2020?

“I spent time in Pittsburg working on a native reforestation project. There, I helped the owner of the land cut cages for plants, and I helped remove invasive species. I also relocated a lot of rocks to a nearby creek. It was a little chilly, so I decided to move south to Mason, TX, where I am working on a vineyard—and it’s amazing!

Recently, I learned how to prune the grape vines before harvest season. I’ve been here for about a month and spent most of the time helping rebuild part of the vineyard because of the huge snowstorm that hit Texas this spring. We patched up the drip lines (so the vines get water), and cut down a lot of damaged vines from the freeze. We’re hoping there won’t be another freeze this season. I’m really enjoying my work at the vineyard because I’m thinking about majoring in biochemistry and possibly having a career in the plant world.

After the vineyard, I’ll go on a month-long backpacking and canoeing trip in Utah with Outward Bound. I loved the canoeing and backpacking part of LAS, so I wanted to find another opportunity where I can continue those cool activities. I promised myself that I would never go into the backcountry during November again, so hopefully, April will be a lot warmer!” – Mia Kauffman

Backpacking on Cumberland Island, GA

“Since LAS ended, I’ve continued making bathing suits at a local company; in fact, I have designed and created my own bathing suit start to finish! I have also seen a few of my LAS buddies (Jordan, Max, Matt, Maggie, Gio, and Jacob) on a trip to Utah. Then I met up with Laura for a few hours up in Boulder to live out our plan of going thrifting together. Those are the most notable highlights because of course they involve my new buddies. It’s been equally relaxing and unnerving being here at home, but it’s been great spending time with my family and having the ‘freedom’ to do a small amount of traveling. I also purchased my first real backpack, an Osprey Aura AG 65!” – Adelaide Lenihan

“I’ve gone on a few adventures. Last fall at LAS, the word “adventure” meant whitewater canoeing or mountain biking in Pisgah National Forest. But this time when I say adventures, I mean something a little different. Getting my WFR this fall in North Carolina was an incredible experience filled with challenges, and we all graduated the class with a set of helpful skills. I knew that I wanted to “up” my certification and become a full-fledged EMT, so I took a wilderness EMT class in New Hampshire. It was super cool, and I used all of my skills from this fall in my WEMT class. I learned so much, and as a licensed EMT, I am going to work for an ambulance corps in New York and Maine this summer.

After my EMT class, I channeled my inner LAS and went on a backpacking adventure with my dad along Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia. I love backpacking and hiking, and getting to experience some peaceful days in the woods took me back to my time at LAS.

I’ve spent the last two months in Ohio, where I’ve been exploring another huge passion of mine: music! As everyone in the LAS community knows, I love playing the guitar and writing music. I’ve always loved to record music on my own, but I wanted to take it a step further, so I just finished up an internship in audio engineering and music production. It has been an incredible experience. I’ve spent a lot of time in the recording studio learning all about how to run sessions and mix and produce music. I can’t wait to take everything I’ve learned and start working on an album of my own.” – Maggie Broaddus

“After leaving LAS, I worked as a ski instructor out in Winter Park, Colorado. It was an amazing experience; it was really cool to be in the teacher role after learning from some of the best instructors at Adventure Treks. It was a lot of hard work, but I can’t complain too much when I got to be on the slopes seven days a week.”– Laura Kephart

Did LAS help inspire any goal for the near future?

“LAS definitely inspired me to ‘just do it.’ I had been set on continuing school last fall, even if it was online; however, LAS came up as an opportunity, so I thought, ‘let’s do it.’ A lot of challenges at LAS, from the rock climbing wall to mountain biking, inspired me to adopt a mentality of bravery. The 11 weeks at Adventure Treks also showed me how precious time is. I have noticed that I am living more in the present moment, rather than being so focused on my future that I miss the small beauties in the moment. This has been a huge goal in my life, especially for my gap year, and I feel that I am using these newly acquired skills in my decisions for my future and for all the activities I’m doing for the rest of the year!” – Mia Kauffman

“It’s easy to say that LAS inspired my whole lifestyle! At the surface, LAS created doubts and holes in my plan to pursue fashion. While fashion and creating clothing is still a huge part of my being, it doesn’t compare to spending hours making a fire. LAS reminded me that life isn’t about the materialistic things you put out into the world; rather, it’s the intangible ‘snip bits’ you take and release into the world that matters. Almost immediately after returning home, I revoked my acceptance to Savannah College of Art and Design and reapplied to Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, for a future in adventure education.” – Adelaide Lenihan

Maggie, Adelaide, and Tori during their LAS gap semester

“LAS had a major impact on everything I’ve done since the semester ended and on many of my future goals. The semester gave me such an appreciation for the outdoors, helping me realize how much I love being outside and backpacking, canoeing, and so many other activities. If it weren’t for LAS, I wouldn’t have met Adelaide, and I wouldn’t be heading out west to start my farming adventure. Adelaide and I are planning a lot of backpacking trips and many other outdoor adventures during our time in Oregon and Washington, and everything we learned at LAS has enabled us to do that. I also plan on taking everything I learned last semester and bringing it to college with me. Bowdoin has a very active outing club, and I can’t wait to jump in.

Most important, however, LAS infused me with confidence, and I am incredibly grateful for that. The supportive community we formed this fall was truly everything. We tackled many challenges together, and all of those rewarding experiences left me feeling more ready to go into the world. It left me feeling capable. The rest of my gap year has been filled with some wild adventures. In my EMT and audio engineering classes, I have been surrounded by people a lot older and more experienced than me. And before LAS, that would’ve really scared me. But the community we formed in our semester was so empowering that my confidence has allowed me to tackle everything thrown at me.” – Maggie Broaddus

“LAS has influenced my priorities in life. It showed me just how fulfilling it can be to not follow the traditional path in life, and I think it will end up affecting which major I decide to pursue while in school!” – Laura Kephart


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