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Our Mission

To facilitate one’s connection to the natural enviroment, each other and a deeper connection to one's self.

From Wilderness to Workshops:

Participants on our programs will have a greater appreciation, and understanding of their own resources, of other individuals around them, as well as a better sense of their place in the natural world. Self reliance, compassion, service, centeredness, physical fitness and interpersonal community-building, as well as caring for, and understanding of the natural environment, are hallmarks of our mission.

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Our Purpose:

Mountain Spirit Institute’s purpose is to provide a forum for teachers, lecturers, authors and artists to teach, facilitate or publish what they have to offer the world. These givers are invited to come into the circle and to teach, for a day, or a lifetime, under the financial, legal and administrative umbrella of the organization as long as they meet the criteria, as set by the board and administration, the bylaws, MSI’s policies, and their offering falls within the scope of the mission statement.

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Our Core Values:

Programs
MSI will continue to offer consistently emotionally and physically challenging, safe, high-quality programs that vary in their scope and medium. The programs will always involve the tenants of connection, compassion, centering, and awareness which in turn enable and empower individuals to be more self reliant, and contribute more to family, society and our world.

Body Mind and Spirit
Science is proving what the Eastern Mystics have known all along, that we are "all connected" on a very basic level and our thoughts literally create our reality. Healthy diet, exercise and some form of spiritual centering and training of the mind are all interrelated and important aspects of a healthy life.

 

 

Experiential Learning
One learns much better from an educational process based on doing and reflecting on the experience rather than a pure lecture. Participants learn through challenges presented in a logical and incremental way. A value forming experience can happen in a short amount of time when facilitated and reflected upon appropriately.

 

 


Learning from Indigenous Wisdom

An overlooked aspect and connection in our modern-day technological society is the people who have lived before us. We are just now understanding the depth and wisdom of indigenous cultures throughout the world, and they are just now sharing what they know because humankind’s need to evolve for its own survival. We not only acknowledge this wisdom but actively seek connections with those still practicing traditional ways, and who have not forgotten the ways of their ancestors. We are a young culture and can learn much from "our Elders."

 







Environmental Education and Sustainability

Individuals will gain an increased sense of responsibility for the earth upon which we live, when they have a direct experience and personal relationship with the out-of-doors. Students have come home from a program and started a recycling center or framed a quote in their office reminding themselves of their experience and their relationship to the natural world. MSI programs can have a significant impact on one’s sensitivity to the natural world.

MSI is committed to devoting a substantial amount of its efforts as an organization to raising public awareness of environmental issues that directly affect our lives, such as global climate change, peak oil and sustainable living.

Social Responsibility
All programs impel participants into working and problem solving experiences together on manageable challenges presented by the facilitator and the nature of the program. By actually experiencing the results of their actions, participants can transfer new ideas and commitments to others at home, work, the community and the environment.

Service
MSI fosters a sense of community through service projects. MSI directors, particpiants and programs all give back to the local communities through service, whether it's giving sweaters to villagers in Peru, or mowing the library lawn or picking up trash along the trail. Service projects are continuously being developed for future programs. MSI also gives back to the community in which it operates with scholarship programs and donations to local organizations as well as participating in community events.

 

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Go to: GUIDES/FACILITATORS page

Board of Directors

Robert Stremba, Ed.D., President
Coordinator, Adventure Education Department,
Fort Lewis College, Durango CO


Bob created the Adventure Ed program at Plymouth State University, and has recently accepted the coordinator position at Fort Lewis College where he will build a similar program. He has extensive background in managing wilderness educational programs, one being with REI Adventures of Seattle. He often incorporates "spiritual reconnection and a sense of place" in his teachings. He also currently teaches a courses for Outward Bound Widerness during the summer in Colorado and Washington State.

Molly Morgan, Vice President
Former Mountain Classroom Instructor
Proctor Academy, Andover, NH

Molly Morgan,has been leading wilderness expeditions since 1993. From 2002-2005, Molly taught environmental science, natural history, expedition skills, and group dynamics while leading canoe, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, and kayaking trips throughout the U.S. and Mexico with Proctor Academy's Mountain Classroom Program. Most recently, Molly has been living and working in Andover, New Hampshire, where she has led wilderness orientation and project period expeditions and worked as a faculty advisor for the student environmental action group at Proctor Academy. She recently co-facilitated MSI's Nordic Nirvana, a collaboration with Wonderwell Buddhist Mountain Refuge.

 

Dexter R. Richards, B.Sc., Secretary
MSI Founder and Executive Director

Hawea/Wanaka, NZ

Randy, a graduate of University of Utah in Recreation Management has been a senior international mountain guide for Alpine Ascents International, staff trainer and instructorfor Outward Bound, and guided in the Alps, Aconcogua, Argentina; Huascaran, Peru, Ecuador's Volcanoes and throughout the western Pacific Crest range and Alaska, on programs lasting from three weeks to three months. He is also performer of world and folk music and a music therapist for Alzheimers patients. He has been the Executive Director of MSI since it's inception in 1998.

Amanda Richards, B.Sc., Treasurer
Marketing and Development

Hawea/Wanaka, NZ

Amanda Richards was named to the board of Directors of Mountain Spirit Institute, at the organization's recent annual retreat held in Sunapee, NH in 2009. She was also elected treasurer.

Amanda brings a wealth of marketing and business background plus great energy and ideas to MSI.  She has also been a backcountry hut Ranger for the Department Conservation in New Zealand's Mt. Aspiring National Park.  Amanda has trekked extensively in the Himalaya,  climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa, and done extensive adventures in New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world.  She is a classically trained Homeopath and has a degree in science. She speaks conversational Spanish and English.

Andrew Bobilya, Ph.D.
Co-Chair & Associate Professor
Outdoor Education Department
Montreat College, North Carolina

Andrew Bobilya, Ph.D.brings a wealth of experience from a lifetime of devotion to wilderness education and spiritual awareness in the outdoors and solitude. He has written prolifically - scholarly papers and books on the spiritual aspects of wilderness orientation and outdoor education.He has been everything from a senior wilderness instructor with Outward Bound to a board member on the Association for Experiential Education and everything in between.

Yannick Jooris
Project Coordinator and Photographer
Bhutan Cultural Atlas
Thimphu, Bhutan & Rocamartin, France

Yannick is devoping a web-based database aiming at holistically inventorying cultural heritage in Bhutan. She coordinated the set-up of an audiovisual centre for the national Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) in Bhutan, co-funded by UNESCO. She was Assistant to the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO in Tehran, Iran, and in 2001 produced various communication materials; TV programmes, educational videos for U.N. Agencies in Bhutan such as UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, WFP. She is headed back to southwestern France, where she plans on running spiritually-based programs and a retreat center,of which Mountain Spirit plans to be a part.

 

TOM MORGAN, M.F.A.
Instructor of Literature and Meditation
Director of Rock Climbing & Eco Dorm Programs
Proctor Academy, Andover, NH

Tom is a graduate of UC-Santa Cruz B.A. in Literature. He then studied ecological poetry and Shambhala meditation at Naropa Univesity, at Boulder where he earned an Masters in Writing and Poetics.He has led wilderness and climbing programs throughout the U.S. and Mexico including Waco Tanks, Mount Lemon, Joshua Tree, Canyonlands, Smith Rocks, and Mount Rumney. Tom lives in Andover, New Hampshire with his wife, Molly, son, Linden, and two daughters, Ember and Azalea.

 

Mountain Spirit's Board of Advisors

Jen White,
Advisor
Sustainabilty Coordinator,
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies,
Colby Sawyer College, New London, NH



Jennifer White brings a purpose-driven, holistic approach to sustainability education at Mountain Spirit Institute. She has been an educator for over fifteen years in a wide variety of academic and community settings, and has a multidisciplinary background in physics, psychology, systems science, permaculture design, and sustainability. She served as the Executive Director of a national nonprofit called the Simplicity Forum, and was the Co-Founder and Director of Education for the Green Heart Institute which was created to help people "understand the global impact of their choices, connect with their values and live sustainably from the heart. Jen has a long history of dedicated volunteerism with community based organizations including being a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Earth Institute and Transition Town Lyons, both in Colorado. She is currently the Sustainability Coordinator and an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH. and founder of .

Jen is a facilitator at this year's MSI Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle Program Jen and her husband Jimmy Sferes have created an environmental and educational music performance, called They teach about sustainability through music and humor. They also perform original folk music under the name Sferes and White. Jen is the Sustainability Coordinator and an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby Sawyer College, New London, NH

Cindy Heath, B.Sc.
Plainfield, NH

Cindy currently serves as the Executive Director of , a non-profit organization providing education and research to recreation, health and land management professionals, and is a part-time Project Consultant with , a national consulting firm specializing in recreation and parks management and strategic planning. She is a partner in Wild Azalea Designs, a garden design firm, and is a Project Consultant for the Upper Valley Healthy Eating Active Living project.

Cindy was the Director of Lebanon Recreation & Parks for 26 years before retiring to work in the non-profit and management consulting fields. Cindy was a founding member of the Upper Valley Localvores, started the Lebanon Farmer's Market, and chaired Lebanon's employee wellness committee. Early in her career she was an Environmental Educator at the Sargent Center in Peterborough, NH, leading outdoor and environmental education activities.

Cindy is well respected nationally for her leadership and participation in recreation issues and practices. She is an avid outdoor leader and practitioner of paddling, biking, skiing and a miriade of other outdoor pursuits. She plays a a vital role in MSI's development as an organization.

Kathleen Hurley
Advisor
Corporate Communications Director
Actio Corp, Boston, MA

Kathleen adds not only a wealth of corporate and online communications skills but enthusiasm and support to MSI's advisory board. Kathleen has been a contributing writer to various New England magazines, and was a business development director for a business in central New Hampshire.

Kathleen has also been a founding member of the steering committee for the successful Sunapee SunFest, a holistic health and sustainability fair which Mountain Spirit sponsored for a number of years in the central New Hampshire area.

Brenda Dowst, M.A.
Sunapee, NH & Nova Scotia, Canada

Brenda is a certified trainer and coach for Collaborative Action Technology, Inc.. She is an organizational and community development specialist, a dialogue consultant and is a certified public manager.

For more than twenty years, Brenda has shared a unique set of communication and analytical tools with scores of executives, their boards and key managers in private and public administration, education, industry and government as well as grassroots leaders in small and large communities. These tools achieve mutually desirable outcomes through collaborative dialogue..

 

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Brief History

1995-1998 Mountain Spirit Institute concept developed in Washington State and Oregon, first MSI programs conducted: Peru.
1999 First participants to Peru under MSI's name, first "Kearsarge Wilderness Experience" program conducted.
2000 (Spring) Name registered with NH as a non-profit organization, first corporate teambuilding seminar conducted.
(Summer) Second experiential trip to Peru, participants in climbing programs, professional development programs conducted.
Second Kearsarge Wilderness Experience course conducted, Board of Directors named, timeline and action plan developed.
2001 Third trip to Peru, this time with teens to a remote village, second professional development seminar delivered.
2003 (Summer/Fall) Founding B.O.D. formed, Articles adopted, NH Non-Profit Status approved.
2005 (Winter) 501(c)-3 Non-Profit Status obtained, Bylaws, Safety Policies & Risk Mgmt. completed, first Speaker Program (Dr. H. Cutler) presented, Peru, Solo and KWE programs continued.
2006-'11 Sunapee Holistic Health & Sustainabilty Festival (x3), Art of Living with Theo Paredes, Solo Programs, Lakota Studies on the Rosebud, Cusco Music Program in USA a wonderful success.
2012-14 New Zealand Sanctuary developed in Wanaka. We re-focus our energies on outdoor mountain programs with the focus on healing/connection and training. We add

Organizations of which some of our staff or board are members:


Randall Richards
Professional (Non-Certified) Member

Randall Richards, Certified

Randall Richards

Mountain Spirit Institute

Bob Stremba

Bob Stremba, Randall Richards,
Andrew Bobilya

Ken Wyle, Certified

Ken Wyle, Certified


International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations
New Zealand Alpine Club
Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
American Mountain Guides Association
Professional Ski Instructors Association
Association for Experiential Education
Wilderness Education Association
International Eco-Tourism Society

Mountain Spirit is a member of the following associations:

 

- New Hampshire Center for Non-Profits
- Utah Non-Profits Association
- Guidestar
- Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce
- Sustainable Travel International
- South American Explorers Club

 


College Credit

Transferable college credit is available for a certain MSI programs. Offered through certain university’s Adventure Education Departments, credits are awarded to you for transfer to your college or university . Our programs range in scope and focus. The more academically, culturally, leadership or communication focused programs (which are the majority of our programs) will offer college credit. A syllabus is available for such courses. To receive information on optional college credit please contact the MSI office.

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