Archive for the ‘25 years: Gifts and surprises’ Category

Dave Leonard and Don Molgren set the foundation of this year’s project.

By Kevin Wilder, current board member and past volunteer

For the past 7 years I have brought a small group of guys every other year to help with foundations for construction projects and to fish in the evening. It has been a good experience with each intergenerational group of men. These groups have included high school age, college age, a “senior” college professor, young adults, a retired carpenter, a couple of industrial arts teachers and a refinery worker as participants. We created the basic structure for The Gathering Place at Lakeside (2006), foundation and floor/platform for the 30-foot Yurt at Lakeside (2008), the foundation and floor for the bunkhouse (2010) and replaced the foundation for Bear’s Den for the BIg City Mountaineer’s (BCM) storage building this year. My body is always extremely tired from the physical labor, but mind and spirit are rested. I am teacher and student so this is a welcome break for me. We have worked with Kathy on all these projects and with Dave on the last three. It has been good. The relationships with the people on these projects have all taken a depth that would have taken much longer in our normal interactions. I am extremely grateful for these relationships. Living, working, fishing and driving together has made for great conversations and memories.

2012 Project: Create foundation, gut, insulate and put walls and ceiling back up in Bear’s Den.

John Reimer installing much needed insulation.

2012 Fish and Serve crew: Roger and John Reimer, Kevin Wilder, and Don Molgren.

I am finishing my first year on the board and I am very excited about what we offer for individuals, families and youth on our wilderness trips and cabin rentals, but what made me want to be a board member is our connection to Big City Mountaineers. There are a couple reasons for this enthusiasm. First, part of my story is a two- year service assignment in Indianapolis where I took inner city kids on canoe, hiking and bike trips in connection with my work in a teen center that networked for social services and led Bible Studies for the kids. I really believe that these canoe trips can reframe the way people see themselves and the world. Secondly, I have been reading Outside Magazine for over 20 years and in the past few years they have written about the work of BCM. I always wanted to do something that made Outside Magazine. We have all been part of something that is impacting people, and Wilderness Wind is doing just that. I already have guys asking about the 2014 Fish and Serve trip.

Glimpses into past Fish and Serve Projects and People:

2006: The Gathering Place at Lakeside begins.

One of the next steps.

All ready for people to gather.

The Beginnings of the foundation of the 30-foot Yurt at Lakeside.

Brent Gehman came all the way from PA to help build.

A sizeable contribution, indeed!

The 2008 Fish and Serve crew: Don Molgren Luke Wagner, Elliot Widner, Brent Gehman and Kevin Wilder

2010: Mark Ropp joins the bunkhouse project.

2010: Mark Horst joins the bunkhouse project.

 Matt Ropp and Kevin Wilder… I am not sure I would call that a cookie break!

Buildings are always a bit of a balancing act. Marion Bontrager, Dave Leonard and Glenn Gilbert.


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By: Abby Nafziger, Board member

Due to some technical difficulties this post was delayed from its original publication date, but hopefully in the snowy days of early December, you can still enjoy this look back at our 25th Anniversary Celebration dinner.

While almost a month has gone by, I am still enjoying the memories of the great evening many of us got to share on October 22 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Wilderness Wind. Full of laughter, conversations and some fierce silent auction bidding, the evening included a buffet dinner by Bread & Chocolate, singing and great time for storytelling.

The program included Paula Northwood telling the story of the purchase of the original camp,stories from an early Creation Renewal canoe trip by Ed Kauffman, an interview between Marshall and Kathy Landis, executive director, and a glimpse into Wilderness Wind’s future by Steve Mullet, Board President. The winners of the Photo and Writing contest,  Renee Neufeld and Särah Rich, were announced. If you want either a chance to see a brief recap of the evening, check out the video below for a glimpse.

Wilderness Wind 25th Anniversary Dinner

As a new board member, helping to plan this event was a great chance for me to work with many of Wilderness Wind’s biggest supporters and enthusiasts, including the wonderful planning committee that consisted of Val Hershberger, Steve Shantz, Peter Paetkau, Marshall King and Arlene & Freeman Christner. Other super star volunteers include:

  • Michelle Horning – for planning and setting up decorations
  • Vikki Garber – for the wonderful copper candle holders
  • Penny Yarman – for amazing clean-up help
  • Mary Ruth Kamp – for putting together invitations and many other details
  • Michael Miller – for kitchen support
  • John Nafziger – for processing donations
  • Heidi Collins – for endless help with the silent auction
  • Craig & Kathy Miller – for judging the Photo Contest
  • And many others who donated items to the silent auction!

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this a fun event and also for all the support shown for the work of Wilderness Wind. During the evening Kathy shared snippets of people’s post Boundary Waters reflections and they all included the idea that going out into the wilderness changes people. Whether you are an urban youth from Chicago, or a more rural adult from Kansas, being in a place of silence and amidst the natural world can help shift the way you perceive both the world around you and your own situation and life. From high school youth group canoe trips and providing outfitting to more experienced groups, to retreats or even family reunions at the Lakeside camp and our partnership with Big City Mountaineers, Wilderness Wind finds many ways to nurture relationships to God and creation through wilderness living that promotes spirituality, cooperation and environmental sustainability. But without all of your kind support through taking canoe trips, donating time or money, cheering on or participating in Paddle-a-thon, none of Wilderness Wind’s work could happen, so thank you. I look forward to seeing all the ways Wilderness Wind keeps fulfilling its mission over the next 25 years!

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