Where are they now? Recently we caught up with Clare Hummel, Candy Jagel, Mary Sipe and Meghan Haslam! Check out their stories and what they’ve been up to since their connection with Adventure Unlimited.
Claire grew up in Los Angeles, went to art school in Rhode Island, and back to the west coast where she now lives in Seattle with her two snakes, Xocoyotzin and Rodney. Claire’s an associate production designer at Microsoft Studios designing characters, props, environments, and all sorts of other cool stuff for video games like Bioshock Infinite, and upcoming titles Ryse, Son of Rome, and Fable Legends.
In her free time, Claire likes to sew elaborate costumes, draw cowboys, and go hiking – the latter two have been inspired heavily by her experiences in the horsemanship program at A/U.
Once upon a time, Claire did a comic about one of her really vivid memories of her time as an A/U camper… (see comic art below)
(Claire’s illustrations above show how she snuck out one morning during
the A/U three-day trip to visit her horse, Brisky, in the pasture.)
After Candy Koutnik Jagel’s years at A/U (1965-1978), she worked in Boston at The Christian Science Monitor and in Switzerland, teaching English and then editing for the World Council of Churches and the World Health Organization. While in Switzerland, she met her husband Erik. After fourteen years there, she returned to the U.S. with her family and settled on an island in Washington state. Candy and Erik have a blended family of five sons. Candy’s son Leif, with David Nutter Summerfield, is married with two sons of his own.
Candy identifies her time at A/U as probably the most important thing in her young life: That experience, especially the years as a mountaineering counselor, was absolutely formative…
Candy’s passion is small-scale sustainable agriculture, preserving farmland, and mentoring new farmers. She and her family raise goats, rabbits, and poultry, and keep a small garden on their five-plus acres in the San Juan Islands. She works for Washington State University as the county agriculture program coordinator. She is also co-manager of the San Juan Island Farmers Market. When not out in the field, Candy is in front of a computer, working on policies and programs. Candy and Erik are delighted that their son, Liam, and his fiancée recently moved from Hawaii to live and farm with them.
Candy identifies her time at A/U as probably the most important thing in her young life: “That experience, especially the years as a mountaineering counselor, was absolutely formative,” she says. “Working with kids and climbing and backpacking with fellow counselors was pure magic. It always broke my heart to leave the Ranches and those mountains at the end of the summer.”
Candy is looking forward to the 2015 Alumni Reunion! She says she’s a poor correspondent but can be reached at (360)378-4009 or by email at [email protected].
Mary Mealer Sipe
Living on the island of Oahu for the past four years limited the Sipe family travel to California and A/U. Feeling their kids needed to know their country (amber waves of grain & purple mountain majesties) Mary and Mike decided a year-long RV trip to visit the 48 mainland states was in order. Their ninth-grader Hannah, the previous year, started a travel log. In it she listed for each state, historic and natural places they should see, plus all the fun, food, and friends along the way. Hannah’s log became the guide the family would use to plan their week-to-week travel.
In early May, the plans were finalized, 20 bags packed, 12 boxes shipped, tickets and the RV purchased – sight unseen! With apprehension, the family, in mid-May landed in Seattle ready to start their exciting adventure. The first leg took them down the Pacific coast, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and California – a good trial for the rest of the 48 states.
In early May, plans were finalized, 20 bags were packed, 12 boxes were shipped, tickets were purchased, and an RV bought – sight unseen!
While Hannah – a National Leadership Council class member was at the A/U Ranches, Mary and 9-year-old Owen geared up in Orange County for the rest of the year traveling. They then joined Hannah at camp for 2nd session. After camp, family friend, Deb Eastwood, joined them on their journey north seeing Dinosaur Monument, the Tetons, Yellowstone and Cody. From Cody they zigzagged across all the northern states, seeing every National Park and historic site they could and more, even getting to Mary Baker Eddy’s houses in New Hampshire, and oh, the maple! In every place, they have seen amazing and wonderful sites, met new friends, reacquainted with old ones, attended CS churches and taken tours of other CS camps. With autumn’s arrival, Mary’s main goal for the kids to see the fall colors has turned their route south down the Atlantic coast, stopping in Boston and then onward to the DC area to visit Mike’s mom for a travel break and Thanksgiving.
After spending Christmas at the Ranches, the Sipe family will start off in Florida to avoid most of winter weather and head west. By the end of April, they should have slept in or spent a good deal of the day doing something in all 48 states. Follow their blog at http://countrytosee.blogspot.com/, which gets updates only when they find good wifi. (Anyone looking to duplicate this adventure: feel free to make inquiries about buying the RV. It won’t work in Hawaii and they will throw in their maps for free!)
At the end of summer of 2006, Meghan cruised by Chuckwagon, waved goodbye at the gate and set out for Nicaragua to serve in the Peace Corps. Hot, dry and full of thorny acacia trees, it was not what she’d expected Central America would be like, but she loved the warm, generous people and the laid-back culture. As an environmental education volunteer, Meghan taught natural science and conservation, and created tree nurseries with rural elementary school students.
In addition to teaching, she discovered a greater need in the community: impoverished families living in homes made of crumbling adobe (mud bricks), plastic sheets and burlap sacks. No one was helping them. With small donations from family and friends, she created the 4 Walls Project (www.4wallsproject.org) to provide families with building materials and logistics to improve their homes. Over the past five years, 4 Walls has morphed from a dream scrawled on a few sheets of paper to an organization with a board, a local selection committee, and a broad network of volunteers who travel to El Sauce to dig ditches, hand-mix cement and sweat profusely as they connect with the families and improve lives, one brick at a time.
“I especially enjoy working with teens from violent urban slums who demonstrate resilience, kindness and a desire to change and grow as they navigate outdoor expeditions.”
After completing her Peace Corps service in 2009, 4 Walls continued to grow and Meghan moved to a city in Honduras where she managed an interactive education center called Activiteca. The job led her to the next phase – a step back into a passion inspired by her years at Adventure Unlimited!
She now helps run an outdoor education school called Mountain and Sea Spirit Outdoor Adventures (MSSOA, www.mssoa.org) based on the principles of Outward Bound. She enjoys working and sharing her love of the outdoors with groups as varied as at-risk youth, students, executive teams, and international volunteers through backpacking, rappelling, sea kayaking and a multitude of other activities. “I especially enjoy working with teens from violent urban slums who demonstrate resilience, kindness and a desire to change and grow as they navigate outdoor expeditions.” They give Meghan hope for Honduras and inspire her to continue working there.
Another nugget of hope is Changes by Brushstrokes, a documentary film that tells the story of a brave group of kids from a gang-ridden community as they paint a mural and learn to express themselves. She was elated to help film, produce and now, show the documentary in the US! Check it out at www.cambiosthefilm.com.
Most recently, Meghan joined the 2013 scientific expedition to the cloud forest of Cusuco National Park with Operation Wallacea, where she worked as Jungle Trainer, teaching university students basic survival skills, taking photos, and hiking her heart out amid bromeliads and the calls of quetzals.
“As they say here, mi casa es tu casa… A/U is family and you’re always welcome to visit!”
What have you been up to? Reach out to other Alumni by adding a “Reply” below and give them an update on what you’re doing and how you can be reached!