Crews: Skeleton Crew June 22 - 28; Wrecking Crew Aug 18 - 26
Total hours on the trail: 130
|Caschera logs out a fatty on Kalmiopsis Trail No 1109 north of Blake's Bar.|
Ashland, OR | 16 October 2012 -- Recent SOU graduate Angie Caschera speaks passionately about her experience with the SMC. That's because it changed her life.
"It opened up my spectrum," she says. "Especially that trip in August, it blew my mind."
Challenge was nothing new to Caschera. To pay the bills and her college tuition, she works as a caretaker for people with intellectual disabilities. Caschera admits her job, which includes bathing, cooking, cleaning for and managing three young men with varying levels of functionality, is tough.
"But I enjoy helping them become more independent in the community."
Working with the SMC helped Caschera "get out of the box and build patience. We built a team," she says. "We're all taking care of each other down there in the K-Hole. You've got to communicate with the group to make good decisions."
Many 2012 volunteers began calling the Kalmiopsis Wilderness the "K-Hole" because the only way out was a rugged 12-15 mile hike out with 4000ft. of elevation gain.
The Kalmiospis' wildness made Caschera feel, well, wild. "There's no one around. You can yell. You have all this freedom, and you get to be who you are -- there are no social demands."
Caschera was able to use her work experience in June toward practicum hours she needed to complete her B.A. in Outdoor Adventure Leadership at SOU. In August she came back for more.
But Caschera's stewardship experience didn't just allow her to log some practical work hours for school and get out of the box. Working in wilderness got her looking forward to her own vision.
She has dreams of opening a camp that provides therapeutic outdoor experiences for those with intellectual disabilities. "I liked seeing how Gabe operates, how he facilitate the experience. You have to put the energy out there to get something back."
"Angie always seemed in control, even in sometimes grim situations," says Gabe Howe, SMC's Director and Field Coordinator. "She's a trail monster."
Those close to the SMC say Caschera is eligible for the Lifetime Volunteer Award in spring 2013.
SMC Field Correspondent