Stan Bontrager, Wilderness Wind’s Executive Director, grew up in a geographically isolated village on the shore of Lake Superior, and the transition to the Boundary Waters seems a natural one. He enjoys all four seasons of the north woods, with outdoor activities including canoeing, kayaking, sailing, backcountry exploration, snowshoeing, dog-sledding (mushing) and bee-keeping. Indoors, he reads (mostly poetry and contemplative non-fiction) and spends lots of time with his rescue English Setter “The Patches” who suffers from separation anxiety but is nonetheless the happiest dog he’s ever met.
Sarah Kahle, Senior Guide, grew up in Minneapolis but has always been the happiest when she’s hiking on a trail or paddling across a lake. In 2013, she completed her long-term dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 2,185 mile footpath from Georgia to Maine. This life-altering experience taught her that nothing is too insignificant to pray about (not even pizza), that strangers can be angels, and that she’s truly addicted to adventure! When she’s not planning or attempting to fund her next trip, Sarah enjoys coffee with friends, dog-sitting, baking, reading non-fiction, and playing with her adorable niece and nephews. One day she hopes to hike the PCT and CDT, build her own cedar-strip canoe, and eventually open a hostel/retreat center. Until then, she’s thrilled to bring people into the BWCA, one of her favorite places on earth.
Molly Bontrager, Senior Guide, grew up in south eastern Wisconsin and has spent the last three summers on staff at Wilderness Wind. Molly and her husband JD live in Moscow, Idaho where they are both attending graduate school. In their free time they like to explore their new community, especially the surrounding hills and mountains of the Palouse. Molly currently works at Lapwai Elementary, providing services to kids needing support in areas of Mental Health. She is working towards her Masters in Social Work and hopes to return to the field of Wilderness Therapy upon graduation.
Stephanie Sotelo, Intern, is from Chicago and first came up to Wilderness Wind as a participant with Big City Mountaineers in 2013. Stephanie enjoyed her time in the BWCA the last two years and decided she would like to come up and learn the ins and outs of working at WW. Stephanie is going to be a Sophmore in high school this fall and enjoys being active in sports of all kinds as well as exploring the outdoors with her neighborhood community center.
Dave Leonard, longtime Wilderness Wind Carpenter, Maintenance Guru and all-around helpful hand, will be able to spend the month of May and enjoy the PaddleFest at Wilderness Wind this year, but will need to miss the summer months due to a prior commitment. Dave is tasked this year with coordinating the Pine Ridge bathhouse expansion/upgrade, as well as replacing several roofs at Lakeside.
Calling 2015 Staff and Volunteers: We are still in need of volunteers to help close up camp in the fall. Could this be you??? If you feel that the Wilderness Wind experience is something you could grow from and would like to explore further, click the “Employment” link under “About Us” in the right-hand menu.