Staff - 2012 Vermont
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 his or her group of 11 or so campers, and is generally available for support, hugs, and conversation.
Mike Reddy, 34
The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
Advisor and project leader
I went to suburban public schools in second rate midwestern cities my whole life. I rejected the high school social scene and immersed myself in diy/punk and hip hop culture--becoming involved with the Sitcom Collective, Food Not Bombs, and a burgeoning scene of young DJs, b-boys/girls, and graffiti writers. I went to college in Chicago and Rome, Italy -- and ended up with a degree in Communication for Social Justice and minors in Peace Studies and Philosophy. Though I excelled in both public school and college, I’ve consistently been working to forge an existence other than the prescribed 9-to-5. I refuse to sell my soul for “security.” I am passionate about living and learning and am convinced that there is no one right way to do either. I love kids and being a positive role model and friend, and as such I am determined to learn about and defend the land and bioregions that we all depend upon for sustenance. I've traveled around much of the world, worked with mentally ill and homeless adults, organized and participated in college speaking tours, eco-defense action camps, collective infoshops, squats, and free-stores, and taught at the Albany Free School (a school without tests, grades, or set curricula) and the Tamakoce Wilderness Program for homeschoolers. I've been living in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for the last two years--working with "at-risk youth", stewarding a 600 acre land trust, attempting to learn as many homesteading skills as possible, and trying to find time to occasionally lose my ego in the wilderness.
I tell everyone that advising at NBTSC is the most fulfilling job I've ever had. It's the two weeks that I find myself crying and hugging more than I do the whole rest of the year. It's great to be in a space where I feel completely supported and appreciated despite revealing my insecurities and vulnerabilities. It's great to be recharged and reinspired by all of the beautiful people that camp brings together. I missed camp last year, and can't wait to return this year to share my insights with campers and to learn from their unique experiences and perspectives.
Brenna McBroom, 23
Asheville, North Carolina
Advisor and project leader
Brenna is a long-time unschooler and a former camper. Her current passion is wheel thrown pottery, and she left college in 2009 in order to pursue that passion full time. When not at the pottery wheel, glazing table, or kiln, Brenna loves traveling, doing scene analysis, running and swimming, and attending craft shows.
Brenna is also passionate about the value of artistic self education at the college level, and she would love to talk with you about pursuing an education as an artist without obtaining a degree. She has taken part in two self-designed pottery apprenticeships: one in Cambridge, Massachusetts and one in Corvallis, Oregon.
Brenna's project at camp this year will focus on the Practical Aesthetics Acting Method.
NBTSC history: camper, 2004-2007, junior staff 2011.
Ethan Mitchell, 35
Advisor and Project Leader
Ethan is a scruffy-looking gentleman who likes to work with stone, ideas, and paper. He collects questions. He has spent most of the last two years taking care of his lover, who got (and beat) leukemia. They have spent quite a while “in the valley of the shadow of death,” as the old dude said. This has given him the opportunity to acquire and hone many new questions. He is eternally inspired by unschoolers, and yet remains somewhat suspicious of unschooling. He does not believe robots will take over the world, but he wants to see them try. He puts his trust in the mystery of love; igneous rocks, sharp tools, grammar, the endless growth of fungus, and the way water moves. He is strongly opposed to mayonnaise, fascism, scritchy noises, the easy way, and the fear of doubt. He writes too much, and he is secretly proud of his insomnia. He is a much better cook than he used to be. He mostly wears pajamas, and a surprisingly large number of them have caught on fire. He is currently trying to build a logarithmic abacus, and draw a map of metaphors, and build a spiral-shaped wardrobe. He worries about whether or not he sets a good example.
In six or so sessions at NBTSC, Ethan has taught workshops on the history of unschooling, statistics, the Bible, stonecarving, alternative currencies, natural history, and he can't remember what else.
Ethan also teaches at the Pacem homeschooling center, and the Walden Project (which is an alternative program “within” a public school, although it meets out in the woods all winter long, and generally feels quite more un than school). He also had the opportunity to teach a few classes at North Star homeschooling center, and he recently quit a job teaching special ed in a public school. And he has a few other gigs.
In those capacities, he's taught classes on algebra, biology, bread, computer programming, corn, Darwin, economics, finance, giraffes, heavy metal, heavy metals, human trafficking, Jesus, Lovecraft, Massachusetts, Mormonism, Nixon, obstetrics, philosophy, prostitution, Quakerism, quantum physics, robots, sculpture, the Spanish Civil War, statistics, Tesla, universities, violence, X-rays, and zombies. To the best of his knowledge, Ethan has never taught a class on anything beginning with I, K, W, or Y. But he likes a challenge.
Alex Rhue, 24
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Advisor and Project Leader
Growing up, partially, in the middle of rural California was the most instrumental chapter of my life. It was there that I discovered how - and why - to be curious. I would spend my days and evenings wandering through the forest near my house, with a small pickaxe, in search of fallen trees, natural springs, and the ever elusive Banana Slug.
After moving around from coast to coast, I have been perched in Ann Arbor for the past 2 years, working in movie theaters, reading books, collecting records and cooking extravagant meals for anybody who will eat them and compliment me. Last summer I co-wrote, directed and acted in a short dramatic film called Always Elsewhere, which was shown at the Blue Water Film Festival (you haven't heard of it). The film garnered two nominations. I'm not going to say here whether or not one of them was for acting, but... One of them was for acting. "Best Actor", they were calling it.
I have been unschooled my entire life (willfully excluding a four-month stint in a 7th grade first period art class in the upper peninsula of Michigan), and my mother nearly [read: definitely] had to bribe me to come to camp for the first time at the age 14 in 2002. Ten years later, I've spent more time - cumulatively - at camp, traveling to camp, or between sessions, than I have the last three cities I've lived in.
At camp I have held the roles of Camper (2002-2006), Junior staff (2008) Asst. Cook (2008) Advisor (2009-2011).
Blake Boles, 29
Asheville, North Carolina
Advisor, project leader, and first aid guy
While never an "official" unschooler himself, Blake spends most of his time promoting self-directed learning and leading trips for teen unschoolers. He is the author of two books (Better Than College and College Without High School), the director of Unschool Adventures, and the founder of Zero Tuition College.
Blake is also an adventure guy who keeps a running goal list (http://www.blakeboles.com/projects-goals/). Since camp last year, Blake's adventures have included:
- cross-country backpacking in Mammoth Lakes, CA
- organizing the Unschool Adventures Writing Retreat (4 weeks), ZTC Camp (4 days), Asheville Intensive (5 days), and Argentina Immersion (4 weeks) trips
- road tripping from California to North Carolina with stops in Zion, Navajo Nation, Four Corners, Vegas, Austin, and New Orleans
- running the trails of North Carolina's Blue Ridge mountains
- serving as a private mentor to multiple teen unschoolers
- speaking for home/unschooling conferences across the country
- giving a 5-minute Ignite talk about unschooling college (and taking first place!)
- redesigning the Zero Tuition College website--it's so pretty now (ztcollege.com)
- writing, revising, editing, raising $9200 for, and independently publishing his new book, Better Than College. He's really proud of it. Check it out here: http://www.better-than-college.com.
In Blake's previous lives, he has worked as a high-volume cook, Aurora Borealis physics research assistant, delivery truck driver, math tutor, outdoor science teacher, camp medic, summer camp director, market researcher (on a snowboard), freelance web designer, and windsurfing and tree climbing instructor. He has failed with twice as many businesses as he has succeeded. He loves guacamole with a burning passion, and he thinks the movie Dumb & Dumber is a true work of art. Recently he was bit by the Settlers of Catan bug, and it hasn't let go.
NBTSC History: Advisor, 2006-2011
Evan Wright, 30
Advisor and Session Director
Evan has been involved in Not Back to School Camp for more than a decade. He has been an Assistant Director, Advisor, Project Leader, Junior Staffer and Camper. Within the larger unschooling movement he has been active as a mentor and conference speaker. For five years he directed Quo Vadis – a weeklong gathering for adult unschoolers and other empowered learners.
When he was 15, Evan read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and began unschooling. Outside of high school he was able to re-establish a direct, personal relationship to learning and education. He explored the British Museum; raised orphaned harbor seal pups in California, volunteered at a London homeless shelter run by nuns; trained villagers in Mexico to disentangle sea lions from fishermen's nets, and assisted in research of 5 ft. long green sea turtles in Costa Rica. Without school he studied the life of Albert Einstein, eventually correcting an error in a Princeton University Press book on the scientist. Attending NBTSC for the first time in 1998 was an inspiring and affirming experience. This year he bought property in Seattle, WA which is being transformed into a shared house for unschooled adults, unschooled young adults and other free people.
At camp Evan has led or co-led workshops and discussions on: Stone Sculpting, The Supreme Court of the United States, How to Get What You Want, Speaking (to others) about Unschooling, How to Build an Underwater Robot, How to Change the World in 90 minutes, A Tidepooling/Marine Biology Fieldtrip, Scavenger Hunt, Investing for People who are Scared of Money, How to Make Homemade Pasta, The Life of Albert Einstein, How to Organize a Big Project or Event, A Local Farming Tour/Fieldtrip, Barn Raising (a networking activity), Blues Dancing, and The Effective Unschooler.
Abbi Miller, 27
San Francisco, CA + Kansas City,MO
Advisor, Project Leader
Abbi works and creates as a Vinyasa yoga teacher, Holistic Health Coach, unschooling advocate, aerialist, scent alchemist, dancer, singer, and actress. Her greatest skill is to facilitate a space where people can fully meet and thus celebrate themselves. As a teen, she attended NBTSC and fell in love with the brilliant coterie she found here, and feels that it has informed many of her decisions in life. By the end of her teen-hood, she was working as a professional actress/singer/dancer in NYC and boomeranged from the east to west coast and circled the globe performing.
Abbi completed Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Certification and later attended Laughing Lotus College of Yoga in San Francisco where she studied circus arts at the San Francisco Circus Center, taught yoga and was a creativity coach at the nation's largest private art school, Academy of Art University. For two and a half years, she helped co-create and lead an international adventure company for unschooled teens, visiting Argentina, Coastal Oregon, and Australia. During solo travels, she spent 3 months in the sumptuous motherland India, where she studied Ashtanga Yoga with Kamal Singh of The Tattva Yoga Center, fended off mango-thirsty monkeys at the Ganges and witnessed the intense extremes that comprise India. She has run from pigeons in the United Kingdom, tap danced on the Eiffel tower, traversed cobblestone walks in Belgium, performed Broadway shows in South Korea, explored the Petronas towers by wheelchair, sipped bubble tea in Singapore, been mistaken for a man in Indonesia, and laughed loudly in Canada and 46 states.
This year, Abbi is glad to announce the birth of her new company, Wonderlark, a wellness-based international adventure company for free-range teens just like YOU!
Abbi will soon graduate from the world’s largest nutrition school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (NYC) as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She works with clients (especially teens!) to bring themselves into balance by integrating everlasting food and lifestyle choices based on each person's bio-individuality and life story. There are so many ways in which we as humans are nourished. Food is but one way. Abbi adores aerial dance, face painting, Hafiz’ poetry, the color orange, raw chocolate truffles, and making big things happen.
NBTSC history: camper 2001 & 2002, junior staff 2006, senior staff 2007-2011
Nathen Beryl Lester, 40
Joshua Tree, Californa
Advisor, Project Leader, Counselor
Nathen is a therapist who works with couples, families, and individuals, and specializes in work with home/unschooling teenagers. He conducts sessions primarily over the internet with clients from around the country.
In his spare time, Nathen writes a blog (www.nathensmiraculousescape.wordpress.com), writes music for his band (www.abandon-ship.com), reads about psychology and philosophy, dances Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Balboa, is happily married to Reanna Alder, an adult unschooler, and lives with her in a remodeled travel trailer near his family in Joshua Tree, California.
Nathen has been an advisor at every session but three of Not Back to School Camp since 1999. He is famous there not only for being sincere, friendly, enthusiastic, and sometimes potently amused, but also for the zeal, intellect, and originality with which he teaches workshops on subjects such as the human digestive system, partner dancing, and Einstein’s theories of relativity. He says, "What I love about camp is the people who come--the staff, the campers--and how they interact, how they share their excitement and inspiration and how they form friendships and communities with each other."
Among his plans for NBTSC 2012 are a workshop on how to help a friend who is thinking about suicide, and an eighth reprise of his Music Project, in which a group of musicians -- with a wide variety of skill levels and instruments -- co-create a piece of music and perform it for the whole camp.
The kitchen coordinator plans all menus, orders and shops for food, trains and supervises the kitchen staff.
Dalia Shevin, 33
Hi friends! Here are some things about me. I am an artist, cook and writer living in Putney, Vermont. I live in a little cabin up in the trees with my longtime sweetheart, Saturn, hundreds of books, and our mouse assassin, Ruby. I am learning to draw better than ever, and how to make gumbo and jambalaya and lemon sorbet. I got to spend a magical winter in New Orleans this year, where I ate great food, heard every kind of music, and climbed many live oak trees.
A self-taught chef and baker beginning at age 16, I have cooked in many different places. It’s been all over the map- everything from wilderness skills workshops, a 24-hour gay diner, a silent Christian meditation retreat, direct action trainings, a sweet girl’s summer camp, head chef at an artist’s colony, bread baker, pastry chef, and lots more.
In addition to these cooking adventures, I have worked as a personal care attendant, farmer, artist’s model, nanny, science museum guide, used book seller, and H.I.V. prevention/sexual health educator.
I LOVE to read, and will talk forever about books, zines and comics. I am always looking for new jokes. This will be my second year at camp, and I cannot possibly convey how excited I am. Last year opened my eyes and my heart in ways I never imagined. See you all in the kitchen!
NBTSC history: Kitchen coordinator, New Hampshire 2011
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.
Josie Banks-Watson, 26
I was home educated along with my three brothers. I've tried out university, and it didn't suit me, not yet anyway. I've had many different jobs, one of my favourites was in a book store. I got married when I was 23, to Dave Thomas, and immigrated to the US later that year. I lived in Philadelphia,PA a year and a half and have just moved to Seattle, WA, where Dave is going to grad school. While living in Philly, I took fashion design classes at Moore College of Art and Design and also did a 20 week internship at a locally owned and run fashion boutique called SA VA. I learned a lot about the fashion industry, and greatly enjoyed most of it. When I'm not working, I spend a lot of time reading or baking. My father-in-law and I make many types of christmas cookies between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I'm compiling a book of our favourites. My resolution at the end of camp last year was to get pregnant in the coming year. I'm a friendly person, though can be overwhelmed by so many boisterous campers all at once. You'll find me in the kitchen, with a cup of tea and a smile on my face.
NBTSC history: Camper - Session 2 Oregon 2000
Junior Staffer (cook) - Session 2 Oregon 2006
Cook - Session 1 Oregon 2009
Advisor - New Hampshire 2011
Geneva Mollins, 20
Geneva spent the early years of her life as an accidental unschooler. While she was formally home schooled by her mom until age six, most of her early education came from roaming through the woods, catching frogs and fireflies, reading books, and asking lots and lots of questions. She did end up going to a “real school” eventually, but halfway through her sophomore year of high school, all the endless nights of studying and perpetual exhaustion sunk in, and she realized that something had to change.
By sheer luck, Geneva wound up holding a copy of the Teenage Liberation Handbook, and after reading it she realized that unschooling was the solution she'd been looking for. After a lot of planning and more than one or two sleepless nights, she finally quit high school in January of 2008.
After a month or so of unwinding from the routine of school, Geneva began to realize that her love of food was morphing into a genuine passion for baking. She quickly realized that professional kitchens were where she felt most at home, and has been working in them ever since. Around the time she started baking, she also started to discover her second greatest passion: music. Geneva fell in love with punk rock after hearing a stray punk song on the radio, and before long it had consumed at least half her brain with its beautiful noise. Once she started going to shows she was hooked, and for the next two years she would spend her days baking early in the mornings and traveling all over New England (and sometimes other places) in her junk heap of a first car to see shows in the evenings.
In May of 2012 Geneva attempted her scariest adventure to date: moving across the state, alone. She now lives in a spacious apartment in Somerville, Massachussetts, with 3 roommates and 2 adorable cats. She spends her time working in a bakery, going to shows, and zooming around on her bike. When inspired, she likes reading about alternative education, psychology, and brain function—particularly about things like the theory of Neuroplasticity, brain differences, morality and how we develop it, and emotions and how we process them. And of course, novels are always welcome. Geneva would love the opportunity to talk about any of the above (or just about anything else) with campers, and can't wait to be a part of camp this year.
NBTSC history: Camper 2008—2010, Junior Staff 2011
Over the last 6 years I have mostly been a movie projectionist living in the city of Albany, New York. For two years, though, I've been running a gorgeous farm in the northeast kingdom of Vermont-- ironically Albany, Vermont. What do I do all the way up there? Grow tomatoes, hundreds of plants; raise and eviscerate chickens, hundreds of birds; maintain apple orchards, yes more than one; haying, logging, building furniture, concocting an array of hot sauces, pickle everything I can get my hands on, raise a murder of crows, and daily invent devices to make the farm run as smooth as a nice glaze of glass. Free time? sure. I run fifty miles a week through the hills and bike at least twice that, rage it with my son Emmett, listen to birds, build giant fires, throw dominoes, read, listen to jazz, study architecture, and well there are the pigs. More on that if you ask. As a post script - last year I had a raging time at camp and throughout the past year nbtsc has jumped 'round the brain synapse regularly resulting in firework explosion anticipation for next time. See you there!
NBTSC history: 2007 guest kitchen and miscellaneous presence, 2008-2001 cook.
Kaylyn Guetti, 21
The fabulous Kaylyn would apparently rather cook than write. Says:
Likes: Knitted hats. Dislikes: Hungarian fish soup. Wonders: Doesn't that sum it all up nicely?
NBTSC history: Camper 2006, 2008, Junior Staff 2010, Cook 2011
Autumn Star, 20
Autumn Star is a lover of life and finds her way in the world though exploration, curiosity, and laughter. She has been greatly influenced by her unschooling experience which started at the age of eight. She finds comfort in simplicity and enjoys delving into herself through personal expression. She tends to be most satisfied in life when she is balanced between time spent alone and time spent with invigorating, inspiring, and unique individuals—which is one of the main reasons she continues to come back to NBTSC!
In life recently Autumn has been traveling, making plans for building a wood or straw-bale cabin, attending Goddard College and studying identity development and formation, sleeping in a park and participating in Occupy Wall Street, thinking about what life would be like if lived out of a van, taking walks on the beach, exploring relationships, making lots of homemade bread, and having long in-depth conversations.
At NBTSC this coming fall, Autumn is excited to be sharing, conversing about, exploring, and connecting around: concepts of self, cabin building, sexual orientation, gender and gender nonconformity, Occupy Wall Street, community organizing, nonviolent communication, meditation, peer counseling, relationships (romantic and otherwise), trauma healing, dance, Indonesia, developmental play, volunteering, and life in general!
NBTSC history: Camper 2006, 2007, 2009; Junior Staffer 2011; Co-Mama Bear 2011 (all of which took place in Vermont or New Hampshire).
In early camp years, we had a few vigorous staffers--the most memorable was our beloved Billy (Upski) Wimsatt, also the author of a couple marvelous books--who tended to stay up all night right along with campers. More recently, as our staff aged and wrinkled, this niche didn't get filled as automatically, so we made an official position. Now, at each session somebody sweet and strong stays up late--until 2 or 3 a.m., depending on when most campers have nodded off--to be a reassuring and attentive adult presence.
Miriam Grace McKinney, 21
Kansas City, Missouri
For Miriam Grace the world is her inspiration; possibilities are infinite. Firmly grounded in a passion for learning, Miriam explores a plethora of interests and seeks ways to share her experiences with others. As a Certified Health Coach, Licensed Massage Therapist, artist, and unschooling resource Miriam mentors others in feeling well, being authentic, and experiencing the fullness of life.
Connecting with and caring for others has always been a priority for Miriam. Working with children as a nanny and gymnastics coach, Miriam has enjoyed witnessing others grow, develop, and achieve personal goals. Later, Miriam expanded her teaching to include many styles of dance and gained an understanding of different stages in life by caring for infants and the elderly. Presently, Miriam is passionately focused on her work as a Health Coach and Massage Therapist under the umbrella of her biggest project to date, Studio Oak. These experiences, telling travels, and a huge dose of compassion equip Miriam to guide others in becoming healthy and empowered. Her intentions are to inspire wellness, curiosity, and self discovery.
This is Miriam’s 6th year at NBTSC, her home away from home. Being a part of camp has taught Miriam that possibilities are infinite.
NBTSC history: camper, 2007-2009, junior staff 2010, cook 2011
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 2012 Vermont Junior Staff team is Eljah Blanton, Courtney Anderson, Kate Guerrero, and Liam Nilsen.
Back to administrative staff page
Oregon Session 1 staff
Oregon Session 2 staff