Katie “KDew” Duntley // LOC Director
I knew that I wanted to work at the Leelanau Outdoor Center (LOC) ever since I first heard about it during the summer before my freshman year of college. “Playing outside with kids all day in the most beautiful place on earth? Yes, please!!” But, LOC is much more than having fun and being outside. It’s about learning what we’re capable of and growing into our true selves.
I have been working at LOC in various roles since graduating from Principia College in 2010, finally donning the Director’s hat in November 2019. Outdoor education is immeasurably valuable for today’s youth. Students who attend a LOC program are able to push themselves beyond their comfort zone, ultimately reaping the benefits of realizing their true potential. Whether they are learning about pond ecology, scaling the climbing tower, or running down the sand dunes, they are growing and learning about themselves in a loving and judgement-free environment. In short, LOC Rocks!
Well-Done Rutledge // Summer Camp Director – Boys
Well-Done is the kid that got dropped off at Camp when he was eight years old and is still waiting for his parents to pick him up. When the Leelanau Outdoor Center opened in 1994 he was sure relieved, because it meant grilled cheese and tomato soup all Fall, Winter, and Spring instead of having to hunker in the horse barn till the next summer.
Well-Done worked as a seasonal LOC Staff member beginning in 1998 and never looked back when he was told his job was to go sledding in the winter and play knockout with kids all Spring and Fall. Rec time is the best! In 2004, Well-Done donned the mantle of Program Coordinator, but all that time he really had his sights set on one job…Evening Bonfires! Yep, the grand poo-pah of all roles and ranks at the Leelanau Outdoor Center: The Bonfire Guy.
Well-Done really feels he has arrived and is most at home at the Bonfire Spot on the Bluff singing songs, sharing stories, and performing a little bit of magic for the groups that come to the Leelanau Outdoor Center.
Pippi Rutledge // Summer Camp Director – Girls
The year 2005 brought together a beautiful fall and my first time ever in Northern Michigan. I arrived here to work my first season at The Leelanau Outdoor Center, and needless to say I was immediately hooked. All I could think about was, “How can I figure out a way to live up here all year long?” Well, after working many seasons as a LOC staff member, many years as a counselor for our summer camp program, and five years as the LOC program coordinator, I’m still here. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to continue serving camp by directing our summer camp program and helping out with all our fun LOC activities!
Patrice Saad // Kitchen Manager
LOC is a perfect place to discover and experience the incredible beauty of the natural world, challenge yourself physically and mentally and grow in your understanding and application of leadership skills. Does any of that sound like it’s pushing you outside your comfort zone? Well, we sure hope so! We know LOC is challenging you outside your comfort zone, pushing you in ways you may not really want to be pushed and presenting you with new, unfamiliar situations. That’s why in the kitchen our goal is to provide yummy meals that comfort and satiate. What better way to experience all this growth and learning than with a tummy full of delicious food!
As a mom, Early Childhood educator and supporter of outdoor education, I understand the importance of nutritious food as well as the need to have meals that meet a wide range of pallets. We strive to make meal-time one of your highlights—not something that pushes you outside your comfort zone! I love LOC’s programming and am happy to support its activities by making sure the kids, adults and staff have plenty of great tasting food to help them navigate the challenges presented. And making sure every lunch and dinner is topped off with a tasty dessert is truly just icing on the cake!
Joe White // Assistant Kitchen Manager
Many years ago, the school my 3 children attended was preparing for their annual extended weekend class trip to a beautiful part of Northern Michigan. What was described to us as parents was a few days of fun, friends, outdoor and team-building activities. It all sounded much like the summer camp participation I very fondly remembered during my high school years.
The kids went, had a great time and learned a lot about themselves as well as new skills, new experiences and new songs! After all, have you heard about Chester? He just got back from the army! A large part of their time at Leelanau Outdoor Center or LOC was joyfully led by a great group of counselors equipped with the knowledge, creativity, communication and practical skills to provide the fond memories my kids now had. I appreciate and respect the selflessness and compassion offered by those who dedicate their time to the positive growth and direction of our society’s young people.
This past November, I learned that the LOC program was looking for full-time help in the kitchens of that beautiful part of Northern Michigan. There are many ways to be involved as a positive influence on kids and providing nutritious meals to fuel their progress sounded like a good one.
My favorite part of dinner is right before it starts. Hearing the group’s laughter and singing of those camp songs. Another group having fun, learning new things and building fond memories of their own.
Erik “Scooby” Schupach // Maintenance Manager
Being a part of the LOC crew has been one of my adult-life highlights!! I have been blessed to have worked in the Outdoor Education field for over 20 years. There is something amazing that happens when you get people outdoors, and use the natural world as a classroom. Whether it’s exploring new habitats, sharing ideas about how to solve problems, challenging our mindsets on our own perceived limits, finding ways to do our best and encouraging others to do theirs at the same time, “learning” the LOC way continues to energize me as a facilitator/educator. Oh, and did I mention it’s just plain flat out FUN!!! I’m into mountain biking, golf, walking the family dog and just about anything adventurous, from kayaking to rock climbing.