Staff – 2016 Oregon Session 2, Camp Myrtlewood
Evan Wright ~ see his bio on admin page
Advisors do lots of things: teach workshops; lead games, sports, hikes, fieldtrips, and other activities; help out with logistics; and other stuff. But most essentially, they connect with campers–individually and in small groups. Each advisor meets daily with their group of 11 or so campers, and is generally available for support, hugs, and conversation.
Margie Sanderson, 21
Margie is always thrilled to be joining NBTSC again! Previously she has attended camp as a camper from 2009-2013, Junior Staffer in 2014, and Senior Staffer in 2015. She is having a great time working on behind-the-scenes staffing logistics for camp, and is even more excited to work at both Oregon sessions.
Since bumping into unschooling along her traditional education path, Margie has done a lot of thinking, reading, writing, and researching about the worlds of schooling, learning, and education. She served as student representative to the school board at her high school and has spent hundreds of volunteer hours at an array of elementary and preschool programs. Margie is now a staff member at the Philly Free School, a democratically run school (taking inspiration from the Sudbury Valley School) for young people 4 through 19. She spends most of her waking hours working for this school in one way or another, and loves it.
Throughout the years Margie has tried on the hats of competitive gymnast, amateur photographer, nanny, and bookworm. This year she finished reading all of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, started practicing gymnastics again (recreationally), helped to design a website for the first time, played lots of board games, and continued to enjoy living with her boyfriend and cat in their west Philadelphia home.
NBTSC History: camper, 2009-2013; Junior Staffer in 2014, administrative assistant and night owl in 2015.
June Kinch, 38
Advisor and Project Leader
I’m a native Oregonian and I have lived my whole life in the lush, green Willamette Valley. I spent my youth catching fish and frogs, wandering the forests of the Cascade foothills, and swimming in icy cold rivers and sun warmed ponds. After high school, in 1996, I went to work as a cook and gardener at a local homeless shelter where I fell in love with plants and people. I went on to indulge both passions working with people with developmental disabilities and serving on my neighborhood community garden board. I bake, embroider, grow food and flowers, and spend most of my sunny weekends foraging for local herbs that will make their way into recipes and remedies via kitchen-witchery. I’ve spent the past 12 years exploring all corners of the homeschooling/unschooling spectrum as a mom of three.
My older kids are frequent NBTSC’ers, and my youngest is counting down the years till she’s old enough to attend. Camp culture has become an important part of our family culture and I’m looking forward to a session of learning, sharing and engaging.
NBTSC History: camp mom, 2011-2016, advisor 2015
Matt Sanderson, 28
Advisor (and Logistics Coordinator)
This will be my ninth summer at NBTSC! I started out as a logistics junior staffer and have since been an advisor, dish queen, and night owl, but most people know me as Logistics Coordinator (or Logistics Goddess).
For the past three years my non-camp work has involved running weekend retreats for MIddle School Quakers in the Philadelphia area. It’s been a blast, but I’m ready to move on, and looking to transition to other youth work.
Happily, I’ve been given the opportunity to direct the Unschool Adventures Real World Retreat this May, in which myself and two staff members will guide approximately 20 16-20 year old Unschoolers in various workshops and challenges around moving out of their parents’ homes, finding meaningful work, and continuing to live a self-directed life while gaining independence. I’m very excited!
Two other major changes have happened in my life in the recent past. Helen, my girlfriend of 5 and a half years is now in Med School, completing her second year as I write this. This means we live about 100 miles apart and I spend a lot of time commuting back and forth to see her via Scooter.
We’ve also adopted an adorable dog named Stoffel. She is slightly over a year old, extremely affectionate, energetic and enthusiastic about fetch.
I’m very much looking forward to another magical year of camp, excited to see new faces and reconnect with long time campers!
Andy Pearson, 28
Advisor and Project Leader
I’m a lifelong unschooler, so excited to return to NBTSC this year.
In Minnesota, my life is fairly full of organizing and activism — I work with a climate change movement-building nonprofit in opposition to crude oil pipelines across the Great Lakes region. This means working with volunteers, trying to pull coalitions together, and doing lots of action planning and strategy. I love this work because it feels like a good match to the times that we’re living in, at least for me. I love the self-development that comes naturally out of joyful and powerful movements; I love seeing the ways we as individuals can channel our personal actions into collective systemic change. I love being able to be involved in productive work against one of the biggest threats to our world right now.
A few years ago, I graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a major I designed myself around environmental organizing and communication. I was unschooled entirely prior to college. Beyond organizing, I like to play guitar and occasionally write songs (though I don’t do it as often as I’d like), cook food with friends, and improve my Spanish. I spent a few months living in Madrid in 2010 and will talk your ear off about urban design / transportation / trains if you let me. I can’t wait to meet you. I’ll see you in Oregon.
NBTSC History: Camper 2002-2006, Junior Staff 2007, Dish Queen 2008, Night Owl 2009-2012 and 2015; Advisor 2014.
Danielle Taylor, 22
Danielle is a life-long unschooler who currently spends most of her time studying psychology in college. She is especially interested in the way our minds and bodies interact and influence each other, and how our social world interacts with physical health. She is hoping to spend some time researching these topics soon. She also really loves doing environmental activism when she can, connecting with people and connecting people with each other through being really silly, creating new things, learning about biology and physics, playing cooperative games, learning about what makes people tick, and wading in rivers.
This year at camp Danielle plans to among other things, lead a project on using different art mediums as a mode of self-expression, and teach a workshop on how to read (and understand) research. She is so excited to be Night Owl and get to connect with all of you.
NBTSC history: Camper 2007-2012, junior staff 2013, Dish Queen 2015.
Our Mama Bear offers attention, compassion, simple palliative care, and basic advice to campers who experience physical discomfort (cramps, bellyaches, sore throats, whatever shows up). When faced with a serious situation she contacts parents and, as needed, acts as a liaison with outside healthcare providers.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I am a former public school teacher turned unschooling Mom, with three children I can’t get enough of, who have unschooled from the start, and who’ve been nbtsc-ers for years.
As a teenager I trained for a career in ballet. I got hired in a ballet company at age 22, but quit after my first year. Among other downsides, it’s not an easy world in which to have a healthy body image! But those years were part of my journey and they have left me with the physical ability and ballet knowledge to dance in advanced ballet classes for fun, art, and fitness, which has turned out to be one of the most joyful ways I live life fully as I get older.
I’m interested in the idea of “endless playful pursuit” in life and career pursuits, as well as frequent jaunts outside of the comfort zone.
I’ve voraciously studied health/immunity/nutrition for years, but I believe mostly in listening to the wisdom of the body. I started doing my own simple vegetable fermenting a couple years ago, with favorite veggies that work for me (can’t do cabbage). I’ll show you how if you come to my workshop at camp! I’m always trying to be sugar-free, but ice cream, and chocolate, tend to foil that intention sometimes.
My mothering experience flows very naturally into my Mama Bear role at camp. If you get sick, I’m going to mother you and check on you and “poor-baby” you unless you tell me to go away. And even if I weren’t the designated “Listener,” I’d be inviting you to come lean on me anytime, with any stress/emotions/discussions you might want to confidentially share. Human connection and people being there for each other is, I believe, “what it’s all about.”
If you like to write, do art, or just want to more actively connect with your geographically-dispersed camp tribe over the next year, talk to me about contributing and subscribing to the (“hardcopy”) print biannual magazine I produce with a small staff of camp people, “Under the Same Sky Magazine” (.com!).
On a clear night at camp I like to end my day sitting by the creek looking up at Myrtlewood’s amazingly starry sky, sometimes with my 34-year best friend (J/Camp Driver…no, we are not spouses or romantic partners). We’d love to have your company there.
I’m so looking forward to spending time with all you vibrant, opinionated, funny, loving teenagers, and with my amazing fellow staff members, whose commitment and passion about mentoring young adults inspires me and makes me feel at home.
We sometimes have a ton of errands to run, so at Myrtlewood we have a dedicated driver. When he’s not on the road, we will again have the pleasure of J’s company back at the ranch.
San Juan Capistrano, California
I am honored to be on staff at NBTSC as the driver. This will be my sixth session and it is one of the highlights of my year. I learned about unschooling through a good friend’s experience unschooling her children and through reading Grace’s Teenage Liberation Handbook. Since then I have read many articles on alternative education by John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, and Blake Boles. Still a self-directed learner even as I enter my 50’s, I feel I would have thrived as an unschooler. I wish I could have given my own children the opportunity as well. I’m looking forward to learning more through my NBTSC experience and meeting new people and friends.
I am a certified adaptive ski instructor and just completed my 200-hour Yoga Certification (only 9800 more hours to go to mastery!). I do a lot of volunteering and I like to think of it as “Tithing my Time” to organizations and/or causes that I am passionate about. I recently started my own online tea business and hope to support myself through that business, my yoga classes, and whatever other miscellaneous opportunities that might come my way. My interests range widely including literature and book arts, cooking, fitness/sports, and music. I love to discuss environment, culture, politics, religion, history, philosophy and how we can act in small and large ways to do our part to ensure our world remains people-oriented and a place of love.
My goals at NBTSC include connecting with the campers and staff, finding more ways to get involved at the camp, sharing music and song with everyone, drinking and discussing tea with anyone I can find, and maybe getting involved in some workshops, soccer games, and yoga/meditation.
NBTSC History: Myrtlewood Driver, 2011-2015
The kitchen coordinator plans all menus, orders and shops for food, trains and supervises the kitchen staff.
Franny Bannen, 29
Franny is a lifelong unschooler who attended school for the 3rd grade and 4 years of college which was plenty but not regrettable.
As of the writing of this bio Franny has lived in Minneapolis for two full years and is liking living with seasons again, midwest thunderstorms, chains of lakes and biking home down the same street every day. Having grown up in the rural midwest and then spending 9 years living in the bay area of California this feels like coming home and in the year since she last updated this bio she has invested a lot of time and energy and effort into making Minneapolis feel like home by cultivating relationships, getting the garden half of the yard cleaner and cleaner and getting involved in the community.
Franny has had a plethora of food related jobs including a Cheese School, a sorbet company, a restaurant, a pizza farm, a co-op deli, a french language camp and, of course. NBTSC. She spends a lot of time thinking about what the “dream job” might look like. Currently working as a shift lead in a deli kitchen and figuring out how to make it work for now. When not bouncing back and forth across the country, Franny is passionate about all things food and cooking, bikes, books, good coffee, gardening, printmaking and the months when it’s light out when she goes to work. At camp you will probably find her in the kitchen cooking, planning or organizing. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to talk to you about your life or teach you to dice onions or hear about whatever book you’re reading.
NBTSC History: Camper 2000-2004, Cook 2009-2011, Kitchen Coordinator 2012-15
At camp, our fabulous cooks prepare 3 meals a day, harmonizing with each other and with the many campers who help out in the kitchen. Food at NBTSC definitely does not happen in a factory atmosphere; while making dinner, the kitchen crew is liable to sing together and to discuss life, the universe, and everything–or garlic, blackberries, and pizza crust, which often amounts to the same thing. Anyway, because they have so much interaction with campers we consider them unofficial advisors and hire them with that in mind–they are advisor-caliber folks who can also make magic with potatoes and other miracles of nature.
Elizabeth Tobey, 29
Cook and Project Leader
Hi! I’m Elizabeth. I’m turning 30 this year, right after NBTSC. I live at my property Squawking Hawk Acres, which I’m developing into a permaculture and homesteading demonstration site. I live with four other radical adults and one awesome almost-two-year-old. We grow food, raise chickens, keep bees, and have a website and blog about the whole adventure of learning to live sustainably together.
I was unschooled for most of my childhood educational years, and continue to be a life learner, although a year ago I decided to go to college through a limited-residency program at Prescott College to get a degree in Sustainable Community Development. I’ll graduate this winter and it will be the first time in my life I’ve ever graduated from anything!
I’ve traveled all over the world, worked on organic farms, coffee shops, and restaurants. I’ve lived in Alaska, Oregon, and Hawaii. I speak a little Spanish and French. Some things I’ve studied and am interested in are: natural building, permaculture, community living, gardening, yoga, dance, wilderness first aid, and open relationships. In my spare time I love to be outside biking, hiking, camping, rafting, or swimming in cool clear rivers. I also love writing, yoga, dancing, cooking delicious food, and spending time with friends. I’m really excited to be back at camp again in the kitchen, and I’m looking forward to leading a project too! One awesome things I’ve done since camp last year is that I got to spend 25 days rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon this spring. It was amazing!
NBTSC History: Camper 2000, 2001, 2004; Oregon Cook 2014-2015
Jane Bender, 25
Kansas City, Missouri
Jane dropped out of preschool and has been an unschooler ever since. Over the past few years she has worked for a slew of companies: selling truck parts, delivering organic produce, sewing curtains, and taking care of babies. Currently, Jane is living in Brooklyn and working as a nanny for one tiny human. Right now she is enjoying walking to work, living in a large city, all of the subways, her weird apartment, having a roommate for the first time, and time alone that rarely feels lonely. Jane is very fond of road trips, cooking, coffee with cream, listening to podcasts, sewing, potato chips, cold weather, dancing, math, trains, and horror movies.
NBTSC history: Camper 2006, 2008, 2009; cook, 2013-2015
Maya Toccata, 34
Joshua Tree, California
Maya lives in the Mojave Desert with her husband, Damian, and five-year-old son, Oliver, with lots of family within toddling distance. They call their place Opuntia Garden Farm and are doing their best to sequester carbon and grow nutrient dense food. She and Damian probably discuss compost quite a bit more than most couples. This year Maya completed a Permaculture Design Course and started an official(ish) business offering permaculture consultation, desert-adapted plants, veggie starts, and lacto-ferments. When she’s not thinking about permaculture, feeding the chickens, making play-dough for Oliver, fermenting, or trying to catch up on laundry, she can be found doing admin stuff as the NBTSC Camper and Family liaison.
Unschooling history: Maya went to school until she was 13, when she read the Teenage Liberation Handbook and quit. She then proceeded to learn about hats, hardware stores, Anne Frank, traveling solo, rock climbing, newsletter editing, self defense, and other things. At the age of 28, she decided she did want to go to college after all, and had a great time using her brain for new things like balancing chemistry equations.
NBTSC history: Maya came to camp for the first time as a camper in 1997, and then was present every year and almost every session for many years afterward. She’s spent time at camp as Junior Staff, an Advisor, Cook, and Logistics Goddess. She’s been the year-round Office Gal & bookkeeper, Staff Liaison, and Family Liaison. She took a few years off to go to school and have a baby, and is delighted to be part of the actual ‘camp’ part of camp once again.
Celina Dill, 21
Whidbey Island, Washington
I began my schooling adventure at age 3 in a beautiful Waldorf Kindergarten. From there I tried homeschooling, public school, Waldorf school in Germany, Online school and finally Unschooling, or just “life” as I like to call it.
Grace Llewellyn, 52
Grace and Yared are excited to see all y’all at Myrtlewood.
See Grace’s long bio on the admin page.
The junior staff does all kinds of logistical and grunty stuff that frees up the senior staff to focus on caring for campers directly–they scrub lots of pots and pans; supervise bathroom cleanup, the dish-line, and other chores; wake people up in the morning; count heads twice daily; cook; and do all kinds of other important stuff. We really appreciate and love our junior staffers! Their week on jr. staff also enables us to get to know them in a different context and find out how we think they might do in the future as potential senior staff, and it helps them see what being on staff entails. (Lots of fantasies are dashed, actually, when people discover for themselves how hard the staff works, so not everyone ends the week begging to join the senior staff!) Almost always, junior staffers are 19-21 year olds who have come to NBTSC previously as campers. Once in a while, they are folks completely new to our community. (As a bit of historical trivia: Matt, Nicole, Damian, and Jasmine all made their first appearances at camp as junior staffers.)
The 2016 Oregon Session 2 Junior Staff team is Claire Ward, Garrett Cope, and Ani Pond.
Back to administrative staff page
Joshua Tree staff – coming soon