We are excited to welcome, Aaron Bacon as our newest Wilderness Director at FLC. Aaron joins an illustrious group of FLC Wilderness Directors who have for over 90 years led campers into the heart of the Adirondack wilderness. Aaron has been on staff for the last two summers and has demonstrated his competence in the outdoors and commitment and joy for working with FLC’s campers. Through his love for the outdoors and his time at FLC he has decided to pursue a career in Outdoor Adventure and Education. We are very fortunate to have Aaron leading our wilderness program and look forward to all he and our wilderness team will bring to FLC’s outdoor program.
How did you originally hear about Forest Lake Camp? Spring semester of my first year at Champlain College, in Vermont, I was enrolled in a rhetoric class in which my professor allowed for a lot of freedom with my writing. Naturally, I wrote about my passions—the outdoors.
About halfway through the semester, Eric—my professor—told me he’d received an email from Forest Lake Camp, asking if he could recommend anyone for their wilderness program. He said something to the effect of “you always write about climbing and being in the outdoors, maybe you should look into it”.
Long story short, I emailed FLC, interviewed, and shortly after began my first summer leading trips for FLC.
What are you most excited by with your new position within FLC’s Wilderness Program This Summer, I’m excited to play a more active role in finding places in the Adirondacks we–as FLC- haven’t explored before, and create more unique trips for our campers. The Adirondack park is a massive outdoor playground with many peaks and rivers for FLC to continue exploring.
If there is any one thing you can teach your campers this summer, what would it be? If all the campers could learn one thing from me, I hope it would be this: enjoy the simplicity of being in the outdoors with your friends. The school year is a busy time, between academics and sports, I hope our wilderness trips offer campers a chance to slow down and learn to live simply and gain an appreciation for the outdoors.
If there is any one thing you hope to impart on FLC’s wilderness staff this summer, what would it be? Yes, Staff should know that these trips are work and they are exhausting at times, but they’re also a lot of fun! Enjoy canoeing or hiking with campers, and enjoy the opportunity to be outside for the summer in some incredible wilderness areas.
Why do you feel FLC’s wilderness program is an asset to FLC? If for no other reason, I feel FLC’s wilderness program is an imperative part of camp because it’s one area that provides campers with a chance to slow down and enjoy being in nature; research has shown the benefits of spending time in nature, plus it provides an avenue for some pretty fun activities (rock climbing, canoeing, hiking).
What is your favorite outdoor recreational activity? Why? This might be cheating, but I can’t pick one favorite. I will say for the warmer months I tend to climb the most, while in the winter I ski and snowboard as much as possible. Although boarding and climbing are dramatically different sports, I love them for similar reasons. They both keep me outside, both push me mentally and physically, and both continue teaching me more about myself.
Tell us a little about yourself? I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio–not exactly an outdoor playground. I was fortunate enough however to have one set of grandparents who lived in Denver and one set who lived in Florida. Family vacations always meant packing up the car with gear and driving halfway across the country to see my grandparents and play in the outdoors. Whether we were skiing and climbing in Colorado, or kayaking and snorkeling in Florida, my Dad taught me from a young age to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of avenues.
When I went to college I chose Vermont partly because of its geographic location and for the terrain that VT has to offer recreationally. As I began school, I got more into rock climbing and began going on more adventures with my friends, further exploring the outdoors. After one summer of working in the outdoors and leading trips for FLC, I decided there isn’t anything else I’d rather do than show others the outdoors. After two years of studying marketing, I transferred to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and began a degree in Adventure Education.
The outdoors offer simplicity and a slower pace of life, both increasingly difficult to find in today’s world. I believe it is fundamentally important that both children and adults alike spend time outdoors.