HoWL suspends 2017 programs, but looks forward to future

Dear Homer Community and HoWL supporters,

HoWL (Homer Wilderness Leaders) has been empowering young leaders through outdoor education since 2009. By leading hundreds of kids on wilderness expeditions to learn leadership, stewardship and survival skills, HoWL has challenged our youth to engage with the environment, build a healthy peer community and explore this amazing place we call home, Kachemak Bay.

In addition, mountains of trash have been cleaned up, fences repaired, trails cleared and numerous other community service projects completed through the DiRtBaG (Discount Rates to Boys and Girls) scholarship program. Youth who participate in this program earn credit for summer trips while working toward a common community service goal. HoWL reflects what many of us love most about living in Homer and why we choose to raise our families here.

Like many nonprofits in town, HoWL has faced its share of challenges. In 2015 HoWL’s founder, Libby Bushell, transitioned out of the organization, and a group of dedicated volunteers stepped in to carry on her bright vision for what Homer-centered wilderness leadership could be. Then last spring, the sudden passing of HoWL’s executive director, Rick MacBean, left the HoWL community in a state of shock and grief. The HoWL board, staff and community rallied to continue programming through the summer, but this enormous effort left HoWL depleted and near collapse.

A strengthened volunteer board of directors is now determined to carry HoWL’s vision forward. The difficult decision has been made to suspend regular programming for the 2017 season and focus our energy on rebuilding the organization. We have already begun planning for a dynamic 2018 season. The dream of experiential outdoor education is alive in our vision for the future, and we invite you to join us.

It has always been the enthusiasm and support of not only the parents and kids, but our entire community, along with business leaders, that has made HoWL a vibrant force through the years. We welcome your continued support as we take up this challenge.

A heartfelt Hooooooooowwwwwwwwl to the work ahead!

The HoWL Board of Directors

Joel Cooper, president; Susannah Webster, vice president; Kate Thompson, secretary; Erik Niebuhr, treasurer; Levi Kilcher; Kate Crowley; Olga von Ziegesar and Loreta Miller