The Wetfoot Blog

Monday, January 10, 2011

A warm welcome to Ryan Wagner, Wilderness Program Director –

We are pleased to announce our new Wilderness Program Director, Ryan Wagner. I wanted to take this opportunity for all of us to get to know Ryan a little better. Ryan has been at Camp Manito-wish for the past four summers. He started as a counselor for the Summer Camp Program as a Far North kayak leader in the Apostle Islands. He then moved onto the Outpost Program as a Western Backpacking Leader in the Wind River Range of Wyoming and the next summer as an Expeditionary Backpacking Leader in the Brookes Range of Alaska. In 2010, Ryan returned to Summer Camp as Trips Director. Lets get to know Ryan a little better!

What were you like as a kid?
It all started growing up on a farm in Newton, Wisconsin, which is just south of Manitowoc, WI. We never had a full farm operation, but simply a hobby farm of sorts. I remember raising six steer in order to generate enough money to buy a four-wheeler when I was 12 years old.

What has had the largest impact on who you are today?
After High School, I set my course for the United States Marine Corps. This lifestyle would dictate my next four years and shape who I am today. During my time on active duty I participated in three overseas operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first of these tours was in support of the initial invasion in Kuwait while the other two were centered in Fallujah, Iraq. I was honorably discharged in the summer of 2006 and began my college schooling at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall of that year.
What are you most looking forward to about being the Wilderness Program Director?
I am most looking forward to being part of wonderful place and working with amazing individuals on a full-time basis with the common goal of making camp successful. I also want to provide guidance for participants and staff. I take a lot of pride in what I do and want to give everything I can to Camp by bring my leadership style and diverse outlook to the organization.

What is your favorite thing about Camp Manito-wish YMCA?
My favorite thing about Camp Manito-wish YMCA would have to be the people. Since joining this community I have met so many different people with entirely different backgrounds and yet, we all have made great friends. When traveling across the country, it seems that there is always a place to crash or a friendly face to grab coffee with.

What is your favorite memory from a Camp Manito-wish Trip?
My favorite memory would have to be climbing Peregrine Pass in the Gates of the Arctic National Park. Tres, one of the participants, and I were the two last individuals in the group to make it up the pass and we needed all the encouragement we could get from each other in order to keep moving. This experience showed to me the true value in Manito-wish tripping. We are out there as a collective group supporting one another as opposed to a guided trip.
What are you most excited about living in the Northwoods?
I SKI TO WORK! I think that sums in up. Oh, and hunting in the fall.
Submitted by Drew Richmond

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