Board of Directors

WHO OWNS WILDERNESS WIND?

Wilderness Wind is a nonprofit organization operated by a national board of directors. Wilderness Wind Inc. offered its first trip in 1986. The availability of the Lakeside cabins in 1995 broadened the program to include people with varied abilities and interests in wilderness experiences.

John Daniels
  • How you spend your time: I spend most of my time as a CFO for a large law firm. I also serve on the board of Global Gifts in Indianapolis and on the Worship Committee at First Mennonite Church.John Daniels
  • Hometown: Indianapolis. Indiana is where I live now, though I grew up all over, including Europe (France andGermany) and the Far East (Korea).
  • Home congregation: First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis
  • Reason for joining the board: I was looking for an opportunity to serve on a board and chose Wilderness Wind based on the enthusiasm of the other board members despite not having been there before I started on the board.
  • Area of interest: I hope to strengthen the financial reporting. I am also interested in building a monthly donation program.
  • A life goal: I would like to visit Bhutan and I’m interested in building a “green” home to retire to.
Melissa Falb

  • How you spend your time: I am an administrator and a member of the piano faculty at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. I help manage our extensive summer camp program consisting of all different kinds of genres from classical to hip hop. When I’m not at work I enjoy cooking, biking, hiking, X-country skiing, going to hear live music and traveling to new places.
  • Hometown: Minneapolis, MN. I’m originally from Orrville, Ohio.
  • Home Congregation: Faith Mennonite Church, Minneapolis
  • Reason for joining the board: I started going on WW trips the first summer after I moved to Minnesota. I appreciated WW’s philosophy of sustainability and care for nature. Not only did WW give me access to the beauty of creation but they helped teach me the skills I needed to comfortably exist in the wilderness while having little impact on the wilderness.
  • Area of interest: Strategic planning and marketing
  • A life goal: To make every dan an adventure
Abby Nafziger
  • How you spend your time: I currently serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA at NPower Northwest located in the city of Seattle. I work with nonprofit leaders to help them find ways to further their mission, engage their audience and tell their story through technology. I also have a Masters in Library and Information Science and enjoy reading, baking, biking, and sitting in coffee shops during my free time.
  • Hometown: Evanston, IL, though I also have very strong roots in Goshen, IN and Lancaster, PA
  • Home Congregation: Having just recently moved to Seattle, I am still discerning the options.
  • Reason for joining the board: I went on my first Wilderness Wind trip the summer of 8th grade and went back another 4 times as a youth. Then in the summer of 2010 I got to help co-lead a group of high school students on a trip and that experience helped complete the circle for me and make Wilderness Wind a place that I wanted to get involved with.
  • Area of interest: Online engagement and development
  • A life goal: To spend most of my life in jobs that I am passionate about and only occasionally feel like work.
Paula Northwood
  • How you spend your time: During work hours I spend my time as Associate Minister of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Otherwise, I hike, bike, kayak, canoe, read mysteries and grandmother Aurora and Azure whenever I can.Paula Lehman
  • Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
  • Home Congregation: Plymouth Congregational Church
  • Reason for joining the board: I co-founded Wilderness Wind and have been on the board ever since. I believe in WW’s mission to offer wilderness experiences where participants can deepen their spirituality by nurturing a relationship with creation.
  • Area of interest: I am excited about how wilderness trips continue to be transformative and restorative for participants, thus I am committed to looking at how we can most effectively outfit folks for the inner journey.
  • A life goal: To illustrate and write children’s books.
Gretchen Nyce

Gretchen

  • How you spend your time:  I spend most of my time doing landscaping or home improvement projects (mainly at my home and the homes of family and friends, but also occasionally for pay).  I used to spend a lot of time teaching high school math and coaching.  I also enjoy reading, playing and watching sports, being outdoors, and traveling.
  • Hometown:  Harrisonburg, VA.  Originally from Goshen, IN
  • Reason for joining the board:  When I took my first trip with Wilderness Wind in 1991, I immediately loved the Boundary Waters.  In the 20 years since then, I have returned many times.  There is something very special and powerful about experiencing this place, and I think Wilderness Wind has the correct approach with its emphasis on environmental sustainability, cooperation, and listening to the wilderness.
  • Area of interest:  I would like to assist in keeping organizational details and finances running smoothly, so that we can focus on encouraging more people to experience the wilderness.
  • A life goal:  To be happy and healthy, and help other beings in the world to also be happy and healthy.
Steve Mullet
  • How you spend your time: My work time is spent running my own computer consulting and services company. I’m also actively involved in some other businesses with my brother, am chair of Church Council at First Mennonite Sugarcreek, serve on the board of directors at Bluffton University, am a father of two and a husband, to name a few other things. In my free time I enjoy reading, exercise, canoeing, hiking, having theological and political discussions, and working on my golf game.Steve Mullet
  • Hometown: Berlin, Ohio
  • Home Congregation: First Mennonite, Sugarcreek, Ohio
  • Reason for joining the board: After my first trip in 1995 I realized that the Boundary Waters had a grip on me that would not let go. In our present age we are becoming dangerously alienated from the ecosystems that sustain us and as a result also from God, who has entrusted to us the earth’s care. Wilderness Wind provides an antidote of sorts – a vital re-connecting point – and I am grateful to be able to be involved in what I believe is the extremely important work of continuing to make the Wilderness Wind experience available to as many people as possible.
  • Area of interest: I am interested in strengthening and sustaining all aspects of Wilderness Wind as an organization.
  • A life goal: Hmmm, a good question. I don’t really have any specific goals in mind. I guess a goal I would have would be for my grandchildren (should I ever have any) to be able to look back on the life of their grandfather and to say that I actually made a difference in making the world a better place
Dave Ostergren
  • How you spend your time: I direct the graduate program in environmental education at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. I read up on the state of the environment and I write up articles on international national park and protected area management. I love to teach, but I love camping with my two sons more – biking, hiking, canoeing anywhere is fine for us.
  • Hometown: Goshen, IN
  • Home Congregation: Assembly Mennonite, Goshen IN
  • Reason for joining the board: I believe in the mission of Wilderness Wind and although I have not been on a trip I am very interested in participating and supporting the long-term health of Wilderness Wind. It is an exciting time to join.
  • Area of interest: I am broadly interested in recruiting more people to participate in Wilderness Wind. I think the audience can expand and the long term goal is to spread creation care to many churches – that we all need to contribute to the health of the earth.
  • A life goal: Spending a month at a national marine protected area in Cuba. Taking a three week canoe trip with my sons.
Brenda Sawatsky Paetkau
  • How you spend your time: I am on the pastoral team at Eighth Street Mennonite Church. Through this work and participation in family life, friendships, exercise, reading, there is plenty of time to enjoy life, work hard, cry some, and explore the way I want to live in this world. 
  • Hometown: Goshen, IN
  • Home Congregation: 8th Street Mennonite Church, Goshen
  • Reason for joining the board:  I am convinced that Wilderness Wind offers a “contemplative” camping experience. The rhythm of rest, hard work, and simplicity creates openness to “see” God’s intention for creation and humanity. I affirm this approach and want Wilderness Wind to become accessible to more people. I affirm this approach and want Wilderness Wind to embody this “contemplative” way as an organization. To both ends, I am happy to join this Board.
  • Area of interest: I believe that pre-trip preparation and post-trip reflection are key for allowing the wisdom offered in the wisdom to sink more deeply into ourselves and the world.
  • A life goal: To keep belly laughing.
Kevin Wilder

  • How you spend your time: I am Psychology and Bible Instructor at Hesston College and love to be with people.
  • Hometown: Marion, Indiana
  • Home Congregation: Whitestone Mennonite Church
  • Reason for joining the board:  I am really excited about what we offer families, youth groups and inner city youth with our program of wilderness and solitude.
  • Area of interest:I love to ride my bike, kayak and build stuff with my friends.
  • A life goal: I want to have one really good conversation a day for the rest of my life.