Alumni Profiles: Where Are They Now?

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Zipline catches up with alumni from the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound programs.

Camp friends are reunited on a canoe trip in 2011 to the Quetico. Left to right are Bob Howe, Steve Abbott, Mark James, Jack Train and Rusty Signor.

Steve Abbott
“My life has most assuredly been blessed by Adventure Unlimited,” Steve says. His parents were close friends with Cap and Marianne Andrews, who visited his home. “I recall Cap and my mother referring to each other as the brother and sister they never had.” His father was a trustee. With horses an important part of his life even before camp, Steve welcomed the opportunity to spend part of the summer in the Colorado Rockies riding. “Some of the friendships forged in 1964 as a member of the Circle-C Bunkhouse are still close friends today, 53 years later,” he says.

Steve also found strong friendships in his local A/U chapter (now DiscoveryBound Outreach). During high school in the late 1960s, he went on two canoe trips in the Quetico Boundary Waters above Ely, Minnesota that were filled with “fresh fish, blueberries, portages, comradery and mostly true stories,” he says. A group of these friends returned to the Quetico in 2011 for another “incredibly uplifting week.”

He also enjoyed the first local teen activity, Barrington Day, held at his family’s home in 1965. Kids – 275 of them – from all around the Chicago area spent the day “realizing there really are lots of other young Christian Scientists who they could have fun with, and learn about God,” Steve says.

As a member of the wrangler staff during his college years in the 1970s, Steve says his grasp of Christian Science expanded greatly, along with his ability to deal with challenging situations. Both provided a solid foundation for his life and business career, he asserts. “I loved being part of the wrangler staff and so appreciate the incredible bonds of friendship with fellow staff and campers,” he says. He also served on Adventure Unlimited’s National Alumni Board until this spring, starting in 2012.

After assisting in the management of a Connecticut manufacturing business for nine years, Steve says he was feeling it might be time to move on. Putting his trust in God, he explains how a few “unconnected random dots fell into place,” and a new chief operating officer position was created for him in a company that acts as a catalyst for clean energy and natural resource companies to commercialize promising new technologies. “A creative approach to carbon capture and sequestration, as well as a device for generating clean hydrokinetic power, are among our current projects,” Steve says. He now has a Canadian work permit and is living in Victoria, BC.

Jordan Jenkins

Jordan Jenkins
Growing up – and to this day – Jordan moved a lot. She loved having first camp at the A/U Ranches, then DiscoveryBound (DB) Outreach weekends, and finally DB’s National Leadership Council (NLC – 2013 class) as a loving and consistent community to depend on and grow with. NLC was particularly impactful, with what she calls “incredible mentorship” and focused lessons on servant leadership. In fact, her NLC class’s service trip to Peru was pivotal, she says.

“Before the trip I was nervous about traveling to a foreign country and was convinced I didn’t like kids,” Jordan recalls. “That changed in an instant when I stepped into the classroom for the first time. I loved every second of being with the students, and it changed my focus to the reformation of the education system when I returned back to the United States.” Eventually, she included the experience as a major part of her application for a Fulbright Fellowship, which she was awarded to teach English in Spain next year.

Jordan graduated this year from Pitzer College after spending just three and a half years earning a bachelor’s degree in political studies with a minor in Spanish. At Pitzer, she ran cross country and track, mentored first-year students, volunteered with kids in the community and participated in a five-month abroad to Ecuador – chosen largely, she says, because of that country’s proximity to Peru. During the abroad, she taught music in an elementary school for children who had to work on the streets to help their families. This led to her writing 30 pages on the Ecuadorian education system – in Spanish, of course.

Possibly most important to her undergraduate career, Jordan says, was working at the Pitzer College Writing Center. Through this opportunity, she presented at international and national conferences starting the summer after her first year of college until her last semester. At this point, she says, she’s one of only two peer representatives on the executive board of the International Writing Centers Association. “The Writing Center was the perfect place to utilize the skills of servant leadership I developed in NLC,” Jordan says. “I’m constantly reminded of how much NLC has given to me and am always grateful!” 

Sedge Southworth with his wife, Laura

Sedge Southworth
Sedge’s introduction to Adventure Unlimited came in 1992, as an eighth grade Mountaineer camper. “I have been singing camp songs ever since!” he says. “I love that the A/U Ranches always felt like home, even though that was my only year as a camper.” After marrying a former corral seasonal counselor (Laura Cooper – 1999 and 2001), Sedge worked at Christmas Camp, the A/U Ranches’ 100 Elk Outdoor Center and two more summers with Laura before joining the full-time staff 2008-2014. “I loved being a ranch hand that first year before serving as the director of 100 Elk and supporting camp any way I could,” he says. He was also a class leader (with K.C. Morris) for DiscoveryBound’s National Leadership Council 2015W class.

Sedge and Laura moved to Loveland, Colorado in 2014. For most of the past two years he worked at Aims Community College in Greeley promoting manufacturing careers and supporting student success in the Applied & Environmental Tech department.

“I still love going into the mountains for trail runs with one of my dogs as often as possible,” he says. “My favorite part of working at the A/U Ranches was the daily challenges to refute mortal labels and defy physical limitations.”

This month (August 2017), Sedge starts a new job at Principia College as the new head coach for cross country and assistant coach for track & field – and will be coaching several A/U Ranches staff and former campers. “I think coaching distance running is much like coaching someone through the ropes course,” Sedge observes. He encourages everyone to cheer on Adventure Unlimited alumni at cross country and track meets. (Sedge also coached at Buena Vista High School while working at the A/U Ranches.) While Laura will stay in Colorado temporarily to continue in her position at Colorado State University, she and the rest of the family – which includes their two sled dogs, Grip and Ellie; their cat, Bugs; and former Buckaroo horse, Minga – will reunite with Sedge as soon as possible.

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