Wabun Foundation – More About Us

Wabun Foundation – More About Us

Wabun Foundation Board

Hardin Coleman – Board Chair

My first memories of Wabun started a 23 hour bus ride to Temagami followed by the 19 mile ride down the Northeast Arm on the steam-wheeled Aubury Cousins for my Chippy year (8 Weeks!) in 1965. It rained 48 out of the 52 days, and I came back. After that, Wabun has been one of the constants in my life. I did the Albany in 1968 but the Wabun Way came alive for me in 1969 when I was Pete Spiller’s assistant in a Cree section. It was the year I really learned how to “trip” and employ systems that served campers. I also began lifelong friendships, had the absolute privilege of leading Bay Trips for the Camp and it is a truth that I became an educator to keep my summer job! I started as independent school teacher and counselor and have spent the last 3 decades in Higher Education, current a Professor and Dean Emeritus at Boston University. Over this time, My wife, Gail has staffed for Wabun and done the Bay and, tripped as a Wawatay Staff and we have done a Dumoine and Rupert River with Wabun Friends. Our sons, Jesse and Aaron went through Wabun from camper to staff and we have done the Dumoine and Cologne as a family with Wabun friends. Gail served as the first paid Director for the Red Canoe Foundation. I joined the board in 2020 as a Director at Large and am now serving as the Chair of the Board. Wabun has had a transformative impact on all of us. It is our aspiration that this experience remain viable and accessible for future generations, including our granddaughter whom we hope to see paddle in as a Wawatay in 2035!

Maddy Vertenten – Vice-Chair

"My career has included corporate leadership development, executive coaching, small business, nonprofit board work, and holding local elected office. In 2023 I opened a contemporary art gallery called Sidle House in Freeport, Maine.
We were introduced to Wabun through our neighbors. Our children were longtime campers, and both have returned as trip staff. Because I had a strong affiliation for my childhood music camp and friendships formed there, I quickly recognized the quality of the Wabun experience. Canoe tripping through the Temagami region and beyond has provided strength, confidence, resilience, as well as communication skills, teamwork, respect for differences, and communal focus. My work on the foundation aligns most with providing and preserving similar experiences for children who may not have the same access to the introductions our family received."

William Porter – Secretary and Founding Director

Bill first drank the water in Temagami in 1970 as a camper at Wabun. And he has been drinking the water ever since- both figuratively and literally. Like so many other Wabun campers, he was deeply and positively effected by his Wabun Wilderness experiences. To that end, he, years later, help found Friends of Wabun  (now Wabun Foundation) with Phoebe Knowles and Jason Lewis. More recently, Bill has, along with others, driven the new not-for-profit structure for the camp and its expanded relationship with the Wabun Foundation. Through the Wabun Foundation, donors may now make tax deductible gifts which will help sustain and grow all the best of Wabun for years to come. When time permits, Bill and his wife Anne can often be found at their cabin on Lake Temagami (thus, the reference to Bill’s ongoing and  literal drinking of Temagami water). Other times, Anne and Bill live in Columbus, Ohio where Bill is beginning his 40th year as a practicing trial lawyer.

Andy Buckman – Treasurer

My first wilderness canoe trip was in 1966, the first summer of a long history at a traditional wilderness canoe trip camp in Maine as a camper, long trip Assistant and Head Staff, and Assistant Director. So perhaps a bit unusually, my first summer at Wabun was in 1984 when I was recruited by my teaching colleague Hardin Coleman and Dick Lewis to serve as Head Staff
of Wabun Section A! I led Section A for three glorious Bay trip summers and began visiting Garden Island and getting to know out local friends and neighbors during the wintertime, eventually bringing groups of my American students to Temagami region during school breaks for winter trips by snowshoe and dogsled. After wintering on Anima- Nipissing Lake with 26 sled dogs, and after another long stint in Maine as Executive Director of Darrow Foundation and Darrow Camp, I became re-involved with Wabun about 10 years ago when Dick Lewis asked for my input regarding the transition of Camp Wabun Limited to a not for profit, and during the four years my son Jack was a Wabun camper, culminating in his Section A Bay trip with my old friend Peter Gwynn. I am currently retired from my lifelong teaching career and am working with several small not for profit organizations helping with financial management – the most exciting and dynamic of which is the “new” Wabun! So I can say without reservation that Wabun has been one of the most important and enduring influences in my own life, as well as in that of some of my oldest and most loyal friends, and most importantly to me - in that of my son, and I
hope in the generations of Wabun campers to come. Yea, Wabun!

Chris Foster – Director at Large

Chris’ family has deep roots on Garden Island on lake Temagami and in Camp Wabun. His grandfather helped found Camp Wabun in 1933 with seven others. His parents met at Camp Wabun at the age of 12. Chris spent 10 summers as a camper and working at Wabun. He especially enjoyed the privilege of guiding the first three extraordinary Wabun women’s trips to Hudson’s Bay. And is a proud father of two former campers. Chris is a huge believer in the transformative power of immersing oneself in the wilderness, the challenge it presents, and learning to live in harmony with it. Chris brings 35 years experience as an environmental and transactional lawyer. He currently works for a client engaged in farming in Eastern Europe and South America. Chris looks forward to helping to further the mission of the Wabun Foundation.

Susannah Ross

I first learned about canoe-tripping camps through an article in our local newspaper. We were looking for something interesting for our oldest son to do over the summer between 5th and 6th grades, aside from the usual sport camps. Fast-forward six years and our kids have spent an accumulated total of 63 weeks (and counting) in the beautiful lands and waterways of Northern Ontario. To say that this type of camp is transformative is an understatement. I have seen the benefits first hand, and I whole heartedly believe in the power of fresh air, sparkling water, and deep camaraderie to bring out the very best in people. The opportunity to bring this experience to a wider and more diverse audience is exhilarating, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Red Canoe Foundation. Aside from counting down the days until paddle-in, I also breed, raise, and train show horses and enjoy quilting.

Josephine Lekometros Moore

Jo's formative years were spent traveling northern woods and waters by canoe and by ski, building connections with friends and the natural world, and define who she is today.  A former camper and Long Trip staff at Camp Wabun, Jo took her Classics degree from Amherst College into the forest and has taught experiential wilderness education in the northeast for over a decade -- from teaching high school- and college-level courses under snowy trees in New England and Canada to introducing students to organic, sustainable agriculture in the lower Hudson Valley.  Perhaps the most valuable lessons from her time at Wabun are those reminding us that the closer we are with the natural world, the more likely we are to build resilient systems around us: in our communities, in our own environments, and beyond.  Jo currently lives with her wife and border collie on the coast of southern Maine, and is excited to again be working with Camp Wabun on Garden Island, Lake Temagami, supporting camp operations.

Jason Lewis

Jason Lewis spent over twenty years as a Wabun camper and staff and led a dozen 42-day, 1,000-mile Long Trips in Northern Ontario and Quebec. More than just a summer place, Garden Island was his year-round residence for four years growing up and he attended the Teme-Augama Anishinabai school on Bear Island. He considers Lake Temagami his home. Jason wholeheartedly believes in the profound impact that wilderness travel has on the lives of children. In 2015, this belief drove him to co-found the predecessor to Wabun Foundation, Friends of Wabun, with Phoebe Knowles and Bill Porter and to serve as the founding Executive Director. Jason is a long-time teacher and school administrator and currently works at The Fessenden School in Newton, MA. 

John Moses

My connection to Wabun started with a question from Nibby Hinchman one afternoon when he asked if I knew of a young woman who might be interested and available to fill in as a staff person for the second half of the summer. I suggested my daughter Margot who then served as a staff member for the next ten summers. This led to our sending our grandchildren who both completed Bay Trips.  They are now on staff at Wabun. Many trips to Temagami for paddle-in days have made the lake a second home for me and my family. As a former teacher, Director of Development at several independent schools and long-time school person, I have always valued education of any kind, but I have come to truly value the education that life in the wilderness offers young people. Six weeks in the wild is truly life-changing and our mission to offer this opportunity to more young people is inspiring.

Louise Moses

Louise is first and foremost a health advocate and outdoor enthusiast.  Now retired after many years serving in public and private schools her career included a role as Senior Project Manager for software and hardware installations in public schools, and serving in the capacity of Director of Information Technology and Director of Alumni & Parent Relations in independent schools.  This path has given her an appreciation of the need for all of us, especially youth, to unplug, from the fast paced world we live in, and get back to nature. She believes that it is vitally important to learn to rely on yourself and your colleagues and to have the opportunity to discover strengths you didn't know you had.  Louise believes that this can happen through outdoor wilderness experiences such as those offered at tripping camps and outdoor classrooms. Her daughter was a trip leader for 10 years and her grandchildren are enthusiastic staff and former campers at Camp Wabun.  She has seen the transformations in her family and feels profound respect for who they are as a result of this opportunity. Being in a position to offer similar experiences to young people through Wabun Foundation is a privilege that she is proud to support.

Ben Simmons

Ben lives in Denver, Colorado, and is a middle school history teacher. He was a camper at Wabun in the 1980s, and he later returned as a staff in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At Wabun Ben learned how instructive and meaningful wilderness experiences could be for young people, and with that in mind he has been heavily involved with outdoor education programs at the schools where he has taught. 

Katie Stauffer

Katie counts herself very fortunate to have experienced the transformative power of wilderness canoe trips through Wabun as a child and young adult throughout the 90s. It is a rare opportunity as a young person to unplug from the digitally connected world and learn the importance not only of self sufficiency, but also teamwork and community. To this day, both personally and professionally, she draws on lessons learned out on canoe trips as a camper and staff. 

Katie’s family has a long history with Lake Temagami and Wabun, starting with her grandparents who spent time on Garden Island as camp doctors many years ago. Their deep connection to the Temagami region and Wabun continued through her parents, and she, her siblings, nieces and nephews have continued to return to Wabun again and again.

Katie has a BA in Spanish from the University of Texas and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. Her professional career has given her the opportunity to hone many skills she brings to bear as a member of Wabun Foundation’s Board of Directors. Katie has worked in not-for-profit student leadership organizations as well as healthcare and healthcare technology companies with roles such as director of client services and director of product management. She also owns her own business as a personal trainer and women’s coaching specialist.

Katie, her husband, Scott, and her two elementary school aged children currently reside in Seoul, South Korea where they are taking every opportunity to get out and explore Asia.

Stephanie Sullivan

Stephanie and all of her siblings spent multiple, formative summers with Wabun. In the 1980s, she and her two sisters tripped twice to the Bay together. Informed by her Wabun experience, Stephanie spent several years as an Outward Bound instructor in North Carolina, Florida, and New Zealand. She was an English and Social Studies teacher at Wilmington Friends School (WFS) in Delaware for over twenty years. When her two children finished their careers at WFS, Stephanie looked for the next challenge. She recently finished her Masters in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management. She is currently the Development Director at Kennett Area Community Service.

Camp Wabun Charitable Corporation

Howard Barnebey – President

As a physician, Howie brings an abundance of professional knowledge to the Board as well as a personal passion for wilderness travel. He first was introduced to the Wabun Way when he was 14 years old and hasn't looked back since. After 7 years as a Wabun camper and staff, he changed direction to attend medical school and settled in the pacific northwest as an ophthalmologist and educator.  One of his greatest parental delights has been to watch his son choose to spend nine summers disconnected from technology and connected instead to nature. Over the course of the past decade, he has been a consultant to camp and its medical staff.  More recently he has been on the boards of the Friends of Wabun and Red Canoe Foundation before accepting his current position.

Tammy Cole – Vice-President

Tammy is an Anishinaabe Quay who grew up in Temagami on Bear Island and continues to raise her family there. She went to Wabun when she was 12 and that experience made a significant impact on her and wanted her two daughters to experience that as well.  They both were campers at Wabun for 6+ years and continue to love it as staff, seeing her children being able to unplug and experience the Temagami wilderness in a canoe for weeks has been so humbling and gratifying.   As a board member Tammy brings her love for Temagami and her professional experience of being an IT Specialist for the Canada Revenue Agency,  she looks forward to working with the board and to continue being a part of the Wabun Family in the years to come.

William Green-Secretary

Bill’s roots at Wabun reach into many decades — 5 years as a camper in the 1960’s, 7 summers on the staff in the 1970’s (including 4 Bay Trips), Chippy staff in 2007, staff on Wabun’s inaugural Family Trip in 2017, and Chippy staff in 2023.  Bill practiced commercial real estate law in Seattle for 30 years, and helped grow the Wabun community in the Pacific Northwest by hosting Wabun gatherings for 15 years starting in the mid-1990’s.  Upon retirement in 2016, Bill and his wife relocated to northern California. He’s delighted to maintain his Wabun ties, and to help spread the word about the many virtues of wilderness travel, by serving on the Board.