Laketrails Staff 2018
The Laketrails Staff is one of our greatest assets. Chosen for their leadership abilities, Laketrails Guides are talented college students and graduates who share a commitment for working with teens and middle school youth as well as possessing a passion for living in the natural world. Many of them first came to Laketrails as campers, so they know our program well. Serving as positive role models, the Guides have an amazing impact on the lives of the young people we serve.
Since safety is always at the forefront, our staff possess a number of health and safety certifications. All Guides are certified in Basic First Aid, CPR, and Wilderness First Aid, and most are also certified Lifeguards. Some have further qualifications as Wilderness First Responders.
Several years ago Sue Lemm moved from her public school classroom to one with no walls, the Great Outdoors. A middle school teacher for over 30 years (from Savage, MT to Warroad, MN), Sue had traveled the U.S. by bicycle, but exchanged that for a canoe when she discovered Laketrails in 1996. Paddling with some new-found friends and a love of exploring the wild places on Lake of the Woods provided the impetus to get involved with camp, first as a volunteer, then Guide, and Program Director. Serving as Camp Director since 2010, Sue enjoys working with both staff and campers and seeing them grow through their experiences each summer.
I absolutely love seeing the transition from a little uncertainty before the canoe trips leave the island to the all-out confidence and exuberance that campers have when they return. There’s nothing so exciting as that empowerment of kids!
Catalina Island, CA
If you catch a whiff of something delicious coming from the Laketrails kitchen, chances are that Marlene McAdam, Laketrails Cook, has whipped up another tantalizing treat for your taste buds. From her 30 years as the innkeeper of the Inn on Mt. Ada on Catalina Island, CA, Marlene brings her culinary experiences to Laketrails. No stranger to camp life, she has also worked with the Girl Scouts and knows how to make perfect s’mores! Making her home in Green Valley, AZ, Marlene is an avid pickleball player and also enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her family. Although she cries every time she hears “Beauty and the Beast” she’s looking forward to some island fun with camp songs, getting to know the campers and staff, and views of the beautiful lake.
As the Camp Nurse at Laketrails, Breanna Rau has one of the shortest–and most beautiful– commutes ever! Her family owns and operates Flag Island Resort, just a stone’s throw from Laketrails Base Camp. An avid outdoors-woman and no stranger to island living, Breanna is an ace with a fishing pole and also loves campfires, hunting, and hiking through the woods. She began her career in caring for others as a Nursing Assistant back in high school, graduated as a Licensed Practical Nurse and later as a Registered Nurse from St. Cloud Tech. Her nursing experiences include working with the elderly in nursing homes, assisted living, and home care settings as well as pediatric experience. While she plans to enjoy the typically spectacular sunsets and northern lights of the Angle and Islands, Breanna is especially looking forward to meeting new friends and working with the teens at Laketrails this summer.
Nate Gilson is the Laketrails Program Director. A veteran Guide and native of Eagan, MN, Nate was first introduced to Laketrails as a camper with his high school’s Summer Science Institute. When he’s away from camp he enjoys playing his guitar, cooking, and listening to his growing collection of old vinyl records. He considers himself an extrovert and as such, might try to convince you to try his favorite pizza made with green olives and pepperoni. Having discovered his love of working with teens at camp, Nate is continuing his studies at the University of MN-Duluth where he’s training to become a history teacher. He’s especially looking forward to meeting new people at Laketrails this summer and visiting some of his favorite places on beautiful Lake of the Woods.
I am looking forward to visiting my favorite lakes and meeting some awesome people in the best place on earth!
Riley Blauvelt, Laketrails Guide and lacrosse aficionado from Plymouth, MN, loves to play catch with friends, read, and hang out with family including his twin sister. A recent graduate of St. John’s University with a Biology degree, Riley hopes to become a teacher or wildlife biologist to share with young people his love of nature and animals. In fact, his dream vacation would be to return to the Galapagos Islands where he studied turtles, and this time stay long enough to observe lots of other wildlife. He loves birds and envies their unique vantage points. “I think paddling and portaging is a way to get more immersed in nature,” says Riley. “The effort gives an extra special feel to reaching your destination.” He’s looking forward to meeting the campers and teaching them how to handle themselves in a wilderness environment this summer.
I think paddling and portaging is a way to get more immersed in nature. The effort gives an extra special feel to reaching your destination.
Larkin Brodie is a Laketrails Guide who finds her home in Boulder, UT when she’s not studying Women and Gender Studies in Boulder, CO at the University of CO. She loves slack-lining, climbing, and hiking, and would like to make the world a better place by “encouraging everyone to be a little kinder.” Larkin loves carrot cake and hearing the birds when everything else is super quiet, and she hopes to spend a lot of time in Yosemite in the future. She enjoys disconnecting in the woods and escaping from the real world for a time while appreciating the beauty all around. An avid reader, she counts “The Boys in the Boat” among her favorite tomes. This summer she’s looking forward to teaching the campers and also growing and learning from the experiences they share on Lake of the Woods.
Eagle River, AK
Max Ditzler is looking forward to being back on his favorite island this summer as a Laketrails Guide. While he believes the saying that “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” Max hopes to use that advice as a metaphor for new experiences and his dream vacation of spending 6 months traveling all around the world. Paddling and portaging “is the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done,” says Max. “Even when it’s storming, and everyone is going as hard as they can, it creates a certain peace within.” A German and Pre-Med student at St. John’s University (who enjoys walking on his hands!), Max hails from Eagle River, AK and loves snowboarding and being outside whenever he can. He’s hoping to find an island goat this summer because, well, goats are just really cool!
Christina Efteland‘s dream vacation might be exploring New Zealand, but until she gets there, she’s happily returning for another summer at Laketrails. A veteran Guide, Christina plans to breathe deeply and enjoy the beautiful people and natural setting of the islands while at the same time enjoying the unknowns that can only be found through paddling and portaging the less-traveled parts of Lake of the Woods. Having lived for a summer in North Cascades National Park, Christina gets excited by trees! She particularly appreciates their beauty and uniqueness and the feeling of being really small when next to a forest giant. A 7th Grade Math teacher at North Jr. High in St. Cloud, MN, she enjoys watercolor painting, hiking, biking, and playing her ukulele when she’s not in the classroom.
I am looking forward to everything about this summer – adventures, the unknown, sunshine, rainy days, starry skies, canoeing, trail food, being silly, making memories – I can’t wait!
Elizabeth Efteland of Minneapolis, MN attended the University of MN-Duluth and majored in Acting before becoming a Laketrails Guide. Her hobbies include reading, photography, running, dancing, and eating ice cream cake–with extra fudge! Being “passionately curious” (like Albert Einstein), Elizabeth knows how to juggle and is a fan of adorable, cuddly rabbits because they can do “binkies” when they want to express their happiness. Hoping to someday become both an actor and ASL interpreter, she also dreams of a trip to New Zealand. This summer Elizabeth is looking forward to being near the water and seeing the night sky over Lake of the Woods. She hopes her campers breathe deeply of the fresh air and paddle enough to make themselves feel strong and confident.
Catalina Island, CA
Marisa Garcia grew up mostly on Catalina Island, CA and in New Mexico and has moved often enough to believe that “Not all who wander are lost.” Her travels have sparked her dream of hiking to Machu Picchu and also allowed her to interact with intelligent and friendly dolphins, one of her favorite wild creatures. As a Laketrails Guide, she’s looking forward to visiting a new area of the United States this summer and meeting people who enjoy the outdoors as much as she does. Her hobbies include hiking, painting, “DIY” projects, and fishing, and she hopes to someday turn her love of heights into a pilot’s license. A “foodie” at heart, her campers can expect some fun campfire cooking this summer, perhaps chowing down on Marisa’s go-to favorite, traditional Mexican cuisine.
Connor Golden, originally from northern Virginia is a Laketrails Guide who studies Music Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Miami (FL). He enjoys making music, slack-lining, snorkeling, soccer, and camping. In fact, one of his favorite memories is from a canoe trip when he and a friend saw a huge albino deer with massive antlers. Connor enjoys chocolate caramel ice cream, deer, and the book “My Side of the Mountain.” He’d love to change the world by having everyone show the positive side of themselves. Connor also loves the soothing sounds of the woods saying, “You can listen closer and closer without being offended by any harsh sounds of the city. The woods also challenge us to be our best in an environment without phones and computers.” He’s excited to meet new people this summer at Laketrails!
Noah Harren, Laketrails Guide, hails from Warroad, MN and studies Computer Science and Video Game Design at the University of Utah. While that doesn’t exactly sound like the typical background for a wilderness guide, Noah has learned from his Laketrails experience as a camper, camper worker, and Guide-in-Training that he likes to float in the lake like the water lilies, build tree forts where he can hang his hammock, and sit out in a pouring rainstorm, sometimes getting good and muddy. His other outdoor pursuits include climbing, canoeing, skiing, and snowboarding. Also a student of ballet, modern, and jazz dance, Noah hopes to someday go backpacking in the Himalayas or maybe Chile. But until then, he’s looking forward to meeting new friends as well as creating some great memories at Laketrails this summer.
Quin McIntyre, Laketrails Guide, is trading in his bicycle for a canoe paddle this summer. He’s quite possibly the first person to pedal from his home in Portland, OR all the way to Young’s Bay, but he’s excited to be on the island again, having last been to Laketrails when he was a 16 year old camper. Prior to his cross country adventure, Quin has been studying Jazz Performance at the University of Miami (FL). When not on his bike, he enjoys playing his saxophone, watching trees, reading, and rock climbing. Between canoe trips this summer he might create his special pizza for the staff with a number of unusual ingredients. Although Quin loves the Oregon coast, he’s looking forward to paddling and exploring Lake of the Woods with the campers.
Zara Meyer, Laketrails Guide from Zimmerman, MN, has some fun camp memories as a camper and camper worker, particularly recalling a crazy moment when a merganser found its way into the Laketrails Lodge via the fireplace. A student at Penn State University, Zara plans to study Engineering and Forensic Science. She also enjoys drawing, playing volleyball, telling duck jokes, and watching otters. Zara wishes she could make the world a kinder place for everyone and says the woods are special because being there is beautiful and fun and it allows you to “get to know yourself and the people you’re with better than you could anywhere else.” She’s excited to meet new people and go on trail with them this summer!
A veteran Guide, Kirk Pearson hails from Roosevelt, MN and grew up with Laketrails in his “back yard” on Lake of the Woods. Though Mechanical Engineering is his field of study at the U of MN-Duluth, Kirk delights in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits. Included in his list of favorite activities are whitewater kayaking, camping, slack-lining, and rock climbing, a sport that has led him to heights of adventure in the Red Rock area of Nevada. Kirk believes that “in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn,” so “Climb that mountain!” While at camp this summer, he’s especially looking forward to making new friends and seeing new places. If Kirk’s campers are lucky, he might even show them his talent for making cheese curds over a campfire!
I am looking forward to meeting cool new people and seeing rad new places on Lake of the Woods
Samantha Schmitz, Laketrails Guide, is returning to Lake of the Woods where she spent childhood summers at her grandparents’ cabin. A student of Applied Health and Fitness at Portland State University, not far from her hometown of Pendleton, OR, Sam hopes to someday be involved in developing recreation programs for youth while continuing her personal enjoyment of skiing, rock climbing, camping, and photography. With a wealth of experience and grace in a swimming pool, Sam loves penguins because they’re “kind of clumsy.” Time spent with friends swimming, roasting marshmallows, and singing songs around the campfire are among her favorite memories, something that fits perfectly into the role of a Laketrails Guide! Sam loves the calmness of paddling and is looking forward to meeting new people and having fun on Lake of the Woods this summer.
Sam Seacrist, Laketrails Guide, grew up in Portland, OR and loves making music, biking around the city, and hanging out with friends. One of his favorite spots on the planet is the Columbia River Gorge where he enjoys the humble yet invigorating feeling of being in the woods, away from society and the stresses of daily life. A student at Portland Community College, Sam really likes studying Physics and Math. He believes it’s important to follow your passion and is doing his best to make the world a better place by being kind, helpful, and accepting of others. Sam has a special place in his heart for crows because they’re one of the smartest animals on earth. He’s even seen them (apparently) holding crow “funerals.” Sam is especially looking forward to building new friendships this summer at Laketrails.