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Outings Leadership & Training

Workshop Facilitators

  • Chris Bachman has been a Sierra Club member on and off for 20 years, but it was the Inner City Outings (ICO) program that really seized his imagination and got him deeply involved. At a Sierra Club meeting in 2005, he met another stay-at-home dad, Curt Chambers, and the two decided to start an ICO group in Spokane. "I got the ball rolling," Chambers says, "and Chris picked it up and ran with it." The Spokane ICO program completed 13 trips in its first year, serving some 145 youth, many of them repeat participants. "It's incredibly rewarding exposing these kids to the wild places that surround the city of Spokane," Bachman says. "Many of them had experienced Mt. Spokane only from a distance. Now they've had the opportunity to stand on top of the mountain and watch moose browse on the slopes nearby." Bachman's favorite thing about ICO is watching kids wake up to the world around them. "We challenge the kids on each outing and they've met the challenge. I had one young man hug me and thank me for believing in him after he overcame his personal fears. That's what the program is about helping young people explore the world and discover themselves." He says being an ICO volunteer has helped make him a better father and husband by teaching patience and understanding.
  • Karen Benton is a Naturopathic Physician who lives in Boise, ID. In 1998, she changed careers from administrative management in financial services to naturopathic medicine. This decision involved attending another six years of college/medical school and a significant shift in lifestyle. While continuing her formal education, Karen was a Hospice and medical free clinic volunteer. She continues to be a student of Native American culture and the ways in which Native Americans connect with the natural environment. In particular, Karen has a fascination with the Anasazi culture in the Southwest, and has participated in several Sierra Club service and private trips to Bandelier, Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, and Chaco Canyon. Karen is currently the Middle Snake Group Outings Chair and is a facilitator for the OLT workshop and the Outings Chair Training.
  • Guy Brown has lead backpack and base camp trips since 2000. He is Wilderness First Aid certified. He loves the outdoors, the Sierra and greatly enjoys sharing the back country splendor, wilderness and fishing experiences with the great people who come on Sierra Club trips.
  • Born in the UK, Deirdre Butler grew up hiking and horseback riding in Dartmoor National Park, southern England. She has been involved with Sierra Club in various leadership roles since 2001 and first became involved with the Sierra Club outings program through leading local trips in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Deirdre is a graduate of the 2008 NOTT and has staffed trips for the Rocky Mountain, Midwest and Knapsack subcommittees. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder from the Wilderness Medicine Institute. A keen supporter of wildlife, Deirdre takes delight in sharing her knowledge of wildlife rehabilitation and field observations with trip participants. When not hiking, Deirdre barters her labor for organic veggies on a local CSA farm and enjoys spending time at home with her husband looking after their chickens, cats and dog.
  • Bobbie Foster teaches Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder and recertification courses for the Sierra Club through her company called Foster Calm. Her courses are fast-paced and focus on the recognition, assessment and treatment common wilderness emergencies.
  • Tom Libby led his first outing as a Sierra Club leader in 1989. Since then Tom has led hundreds of participants on backpacks, day hikes and trail maintenance outings. Tom has served as a group outing chair and as chapter outing chair for Oklahoma. He was selected by the American Hiking Society as Oklahoma Volunteer of the Year in 2003 and has served on the Oklahoma Trails Advisory Board. Tom was chair of Outdoor Activities Governance Committee and is currently the volunteer co-lead for the Sierra Club Chapter and Leader Support Team. Tom is a facilitator for the weekend OLT workshops and the annual Outings Chair Training.
  • Carol MacFarlane has been hiking, backpacking, and climbing peaks for more than 35 years in New England, the Canadian Rockies, and in all the mountain states of the West. She participated in her first Sierra Club National Outings backpack in 1971, and began leading backpacking trips for National Outings seven years ago. Carol is an early-retired educator who loves to spend time walking her dog, improving her Spanish, and volunteering for various organizations. Carol facilitates the National Outings Training Trip and Winter School.
  • Melanie Mac Innis first was introduced to the Sierra Club as a participant on an Inner City Outings rafting trip in 1993. Since then Mel trained as an ICO leader and has led hundreds of participants on ICO day hikes, backpacks and river rafting trips. She has been a Western Regional Representative on the national ICO steering committee, chair of the San Francisco Bay Rafting Group, chair of the Training Committee and much more. Mel is currently the Local and Inner City Outings Manager (staff) and is a facilitator for the weekend OLT workshops and the annual Outings Chair Training
  • Paula Mitchell has been involved with Inner City Outings in Kentucky since 2000. Paula had been taking children on wilderness experiences for years at a local community agency and after leaving her position, was at a loss of how to continue to share her passion for the wilderness with children. Luckily she discovered ICO, which offered her the opportunity to continue sharing the wilderness with children. Since joining ICO, she has been the chairperson for her local group, the Midwest Representative on the ICO National Steering Committee and is currently the Chairperson of the ICO National Steering Committee. Professionally, Paula is a social worker at a local social service agency and specializes in child welfare issues. Paula is a facilitator for the weekend OLT workshops and the annual Outings Chair Training.
  • Sascha Paris first became involved with the Sierra Club as teenager on a National Outing in King's Canyon National Park. Sascha serves as the Sierra Club's Outdoor Activities Training Manager (staff person) and is very excited to provide trainings that will help trip leaders grow and lead fun, safe and inspiring outings. Sascha's experience includes being a sea kayaking and mountaineering instructor, staff trainer and safety reviewer for the Outward Bound School; a Wilderness First Aid instructor; a program director and backpacking instructor for the freshman wilderness orientation program at the University of California, San Diego. Sascha is a facilitator for the weekend OLT workshops, the annual National Outings Training Trip and Winter School and the annual Outings Chair Training.
  • Bill Shecket joined the Sierra Club as a teenager and got involved with National Outings in the early 1990's. He has been a leader and assistant on backpacks, float trips, family base camp, international tours and lodge-based adventures. Bill is active in the Northwest, Alaska and Foreign subcommittees. Bill taught a college Outdoor Leadership class for several years in Seattle and has been a challenge course facilitator for the Washington State University Cooperative Extension program. Bill lives in Seattle, where he teaches in a bachelors level human services training program. Bill is a facilitator for the weekend OLT workshops and the annual National Outings Training Trip.
  • Mark Walters is an trip leader (and former chair) of the Miami Inner City Outings group and has served on the National Steering Committee for Sierra Club Inner City Outings since 2005. He became an Inner City Outings volunteer around 2000 after he was invited on an outing. After spending the weekend camping with kids, he realized that: a. being outdoors is what he had been missing, b. he had an obligation to the kids with whom they were working that they see themselves reflected in the adult leaders organizing these outings. Mark also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, which saved the historically black beach of Miami from corporate development and now oversees the development of the historic park property as directed by the public. Mark is a facilitator for the weekend OLT workshops and the annual Outings Chair Training.

Previous facilitator bios can be found here.


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