Friday, December 19, 2014

The Next Steps

Teaching Yoga on Silha Porch with Grace Getchell

Welcome to the next chapter of the Portage to Camp story.  My name is Lia Allen and I was a camper and counselor for 12 years along with my brother, Khaled Allen, and my dad, many years ago, Charles Allen.  Let's just say that us Allens love us some Camp Warren.  You can find us still on a plaque on the riding arena.  Khaled and I were active members in the riding program and even worked the horse program when we got to be on staff.  When offered the opportunity to give back to camp, and specifically the riding program, we couldn't have been more excited to donate that riding pavilion.

I was probably 18 years old then. My contribution was more sheer excitement rather than actual donation. I'm now 26 and I want to give back in my own, more direct way.  Camp has been the one consistent part of my life since I was 7 years old.  My family moved A LOT during my childhood, but Warren was always there for me.  Even now, many years later, Camp has provided me with friends wherever I go, a community of amazing people who love and support each other, and opportunities to have adventures and grow.

When Ryan and Reid carried that canoe and pack all the way to Warren 2 years ago, I was pretty impressed that you could do something like that and people would help pay for kids to go to camp. Beyond impressed, I was thoroughly inspired! So why not extend the plan?  Why not make it my own? I'm more of a backpacker now than a canoer, but I want to help bring the magic of Warren to kids who might not be able to normally go.  The friendships, the open-minded community, the inspiration, the connection with nature, and all the amazing people and places should be accessible to kids who want to go and people should KNOW about it!

That consistent connection with nature allowed me to find so much more happiness, stability, and truth than I believe I ever would have found without it. And so, with that introduction, I'm publicly announcing the continuation of Portage to Camp through my trek across the Continental Divide Trail.  It's a 2,600-3,100 mile journey (the official route isn't actually complete so milages vary depending on which way you go) from the border of Mexico to Canada.  This will take me from April to September and my goal to make people aware of how important a place like Warren is to young people and adults alike.  I want to be able to help more kids go to camp and make more people see why it is important.

I'll be updating this blog pretty regularly so please follow along as I tell stories of preparation, trail adventures, awesome friends who will be joining me along the way, and an inevitable conclusion in September.  I'm getting more and more excited and I hope you are too!

Love and hugs from Chicago!