Our Leaders

Leaders for Upcoming Trips

Ari Kosel

Trip Leader

Ari developed wanderlust at a young age and has been fortunate to travel consistently for the past decade, visiting parts of South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. She strives to live life doing the things she loves, which lately has meant working as a field instructor for Outward Bound in Oregon and California, exploring the west’s rivers, mountains and canyons, routinely eating herself into a coma, and attempting to play more than four chords on the guitar. She is a current Wilderness First Responder, graduate of UC Davis, and certified sriracha lover. She previously served as a UA trip leader for Southeast Asia 2017 and Adventure Semester 2015.

Nick McEachern

Trip Leader

Nick is an avid adventurer, outdoor educator, and writer. He enjoys watching the sunrise from his sleeping bag, savoring his cup of coffee, David Bowie dance parties, playing his guitar, and dreaming up extreme adventures that often involve a touch of suffering. He is currently attempting to Stand Up Paddleboard from the source of the Colorado River in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming all the way to its terminus in the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California. He is a graduate of Green Mountain College and the University of Utah, as well as a current Wilderness First Responder.

Katie Mitchell

Trip Assistant

Katie was a self-directed homeschooler her whole life leading up to university, so self-directed learning has been important to her since the beginning. Throughout her high school years she was able to travel with other like-minded teens through international and domestic long-term trips and is excited to pass on the fun to a new group of young travelers.

Katie is jazzed about building community, and preferably building it outside. After traveling through Peru, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Belize in the past few years, building empathy and communication with new groups of people in new places has become addictive for her. She will be spending the beginning of 2019 loving up on Morocco, England, Ireland and the Camino de Santiago in Spain, where she will exercise her second love: storytelling and listening. Katie is currently studying journalism and women’s studies with a concentration in life-narrative writing at Colorado State University. She is also an alumni of UA’s Adventure Semester in 2015.

Blake Boles

Trip Leader & Director of Unschool Adventures

Blake’s first big adventures were living abroad in Chile at age 14, backpacking Western Europe at 19, and traversing South America at 24. He quickly realized that a traditional career wouldn’t work for him, and he set about building a company that would let him continue exploring the world.

Blake got involved in the world of alternative education in 2003, when half-way through an astrophysics major he read a John Taylor Gatto book and soon became an advisor at Not Back to School Camp. He is the author of College Without High School, Better Than College, and The Art of Self-Directed Learning and the former acting director of a wilderness summer camp where he co-led an intensive teen leadership program. Blake is a current Wilderness First Responder, a former EMT, and a UC Berkeley graduate. Learn more at blakeboles.com.

Mica Peker

DIY Gap Year Staff Liaison

Born and raised in Argentina, Mica grew up devouring books and dreaming of all the far-off places she would visit one day. Her love for nature led her to study Atmospheric Sciences, volunteer at a Nature Reserve, and work as a hiking guide in Patagonia. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Mica has also formally studied English Translation. After questioning traditional school most of her life, Mica’s discovery of the world of unschooling in 2014 blew her mind and inspired her to volunteer with the Argentina Semester 2017 program in Buenos Aires.

When not hiking or guiding in Patagonia— or traveling to foreign countries—Mica can be found debating literature, daydreaming, eating empanadas, snapping photos, swing dancing, and book binding.

Leaders of Recent Trips

Fred Sabater

Trip Leader

Born and raised in Spain, Fred participated extensively in the scouts as a young person and throughout his time at the University of Valencia. But the world was not big enough for him, so he spent a year studying abroad in England and traveled to California three times to serve as a climbing instructor and assistant director at Deer Crossing wilderness summer camp. The Deer Crossing teen leadership program led him to discover the world of alternative education, and soon thereafter, Unschool Adventures. Fred is currently pursuing Master’s Degree in exercise physiology in Calgary, Canada. When he’s not studying or in the lab, he enjoys reading, traveling on the cheap, moving in the mountains, and pursuing meaningful human connection. Fred is looking forward to sharing his homeland with a group of North American unschoolers. He is certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Cori Shooter

Trip Assistant

Cori grew up homeschooling in midcoast Maine. At age 14 she left home and family to spend a year abroad in Costa Rica, where her passion for adventure and the Spanish language and culture flowered. Since then she has independently explored France, Italy, Nicaragua, Belgium, Mexico, and most recently, Spain, where she spent three months solo-hiking the Camino de Santiago, backpacking around the country, and volunteering on organic farms. Before the Unschool Adventures Spain trip, Cori will be interning at the High Desert gap year program in Colorado. When not galavanting around the world, she loves frisbee, dogs, art, singing, dancing, and playing her guitar. She is a current Wilderness First Responder.

Zoë Newmarco

Trip Assistant

Zoë is a lifelong unschooler and aspiring jill-of-all-trades whose goals include learning how to grow plants in a variety of climates, teaching herself to make jewelry from things she finds on her travels, and learning how to drive a bus. On most days she can be found exercising her enthusiasm for chocolate, practicing martial arts, writing poetry, hanging upside down from trees, or making her own clothes.

Zoë recently completed a two month solo trip to Italy, nannying and exploring the northern half of the country, and served as staff at both Not Back to School Camp and Camp Stomping Ground. She is a current Wilderness First Responder.

Dev Carey

Trip Leader

Dev went to public high school, college and graduate school and enjoyed most of it, but then moved to a small town and found himself being an advocate for students and families learning outside of the classroom. That advocacy turned into The Vision Program, which utilizes public funds to support over 600 students in learning however and wherever they want while still earning a diploma.

Dev thrives on adventure. He has worked for Sterling College, with inner city youth as a VISTA Volunteer, as a counselor at Not Back to School Camp, and as a river guide. He has a Ph.D. in ecology and has written plant and animal guides with local youth. He lives in funky old houses, shares land with various folks and his family (Seraya, Huckleberry, Marian and “adopted” teenagers), frequently chainsaws juniper, and currently runs gap year programs for 17- to 23-year-olds at his homestead in Western Colorado, the The High Desert Center. Learn more about Dev at devcarey.com.

Milla von Tauber

Trip Assistant

Milla spent her childhood in Germany, attending public school and growing up bilingual. After moving to the U.S., Milla discovered an Unschool Adventures trip to Nepal and used it as an opportunity to leave school and become a full-time self-directed learner.

Milla is a blues and fusion dancer who loves writing songs, taking photos, swimming in freezing rivers, creating genuine connections, and eating lots of chocolate. Her current adventures include interning at an Agile Learning Center in Asheville and being part of a gap year program where she is learning about sustainable farming, group living, dancing, and backpacking the southwest and Mexico.

Lainey Bein

Trip Assistant

Lainey started unschooling at the age of 10, diving into music and quickly becoming a multi-instrumentalist. Later, in community college, she took a class on voice acting and now does it part time. She attended two years of Not Back to School Camp where she found her love of community.

Most recently Lainey has been part of a gap year program that focuses on group living, sustainable farming, travel, and partner dance. She has been learning blues fusion dance through private and group instruction, has attended two blues exchanges, and participated in dance events in multiple cities. She’s happiest when crafting delicious meals in the kitchen, working with kids, backpacking, eating cheese, and discussing LGBTQA topics.

Matt Sanderson

Trip Leader

Matt has been loving alternative education since he ditched prep school for free school as a sophomore in high school. After graduating, he put off college to gut houses in post-Katrina New Orleans, then founded and co-directed a week-long camp called the Young People’s Empowerment convergence.

A year out of school, he decided to skip college altogether. Since then, he’s worked as the logistics coordinator for Not Back to School Camp, taught art in Ecuador, and led courses in psychology and juggling at his local alternative school. He served most recently as the coordinator of the Middle School Friends program—hosting retreats for middle-school-aged Quakers in the Philadelphia area—and as president of the board of Upattinas School and Resource Center.

Zoe Vlastos

Trip Leader

Zoe grew up homeschooled on her family farm in rural Illinois, attended Not Back To School Camp five times (once as staff), and recently graduated from Regis University with majors in Neuroscience and Psychology and a minor in Music. In her adventures she has founded a biannual benefit concert, traveled and studied abroad in South America, worked as a teaching assistant and writing mentor, authored a digital storytelling thesis on how technology affects romantic relationships, worked in research science labs, and mentored teens with eating disorders.

Zoe is an avid skier, pianist, cook, writer, trail runner, partner dancer, listener, reader, traveler, questioner, chocoholic, hugger, and learner. She believes in the power of storytelling and movement to connect and to heal, and she has aspirations of becoming a mental health counselor and working with teens and with individuals who have eating disorders and/or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Behind the Scenes

Blueberry Keller

Digital Office Manager

Blueberry loves a lot of things, including travel, theatre, rainbows, and people. As a conventionally schooled teenager, she discovered unschooling—and Not Back to School Camp—and fell in love. After three years at NBTSC she graduated both from camp and from high school, and then from Michigan State University with a degree from the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and an additional major in Theatre. She currently works in class-action claims administration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her girlfriend and their cat.

As a self-described nerd, Blueberry’s other interests include books, all kinds of games, all kinds of art, gender and queer studies and activism, medieval re-creation, the Internet, comics, and cuddling.

Leaders of Yonder

Margie Sanderson
Kina Wolfenstein
Ingmar Nilsen
Autumn Star
Joel Malkoff
Addison Pond
Tabi Musselwhite
Eric Viele
Hannah Hall
Shona Warwick-Smith
Abraham McClurg
Melissa Townsend
Cooper Westerkamp
Julie McPherson
Logan Woods-Darby
Brenna McBroom
Cameron Lovejoy
Abbi Miller

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