My name is Nathan Menkveld. I have lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan my entire life and now attend Calvin College. I have always loved being outdoors, but growing up, I was much more focused on contact sports – I like to play rough. Unfortunately, after many injuries (including breaking both knees and permanently shifting my clavicle slightly out of place) I am no longer able to play the sports I grew up loving.
In need of a new focus for my extracurricular activities, I signed up for Calvin College’s Wilderness Orientation Program. This was my first back-country experience, which took me to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. My childhood interest in the outdoors, which had taken me whitewater rafting, hiking, and rock climbing, transformed into a passion that is taking me all over the country and soon internationally, in order to explore my interest in greater depth. My favorite outdoor activities are backpacking, rock climbing, and white water rafting/kayaking but I enjoy nearly any activity that will bring me outside.
My first trip to Algonquin Park took place the summer of 2010, and since then my love for the outdoors has significantly impacted my life. I have received training from the AMGA in Joshua Tree, CA, earned my Wilderness First Response Certification in Flagstaff, AZ, and gained a Swift Water Rescue certification in Costa Rica. I have led numerous trips that have taken groups to Michigan, Tennessee,and North Carolina and have co-led a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. I don’t know quite what it is but something inside of me comes to life when I am on the trail or standing atop a cliff.
I am currently one of the guides for Calvin’s Wilderness Orientation program and have an internship as a Software Engineer at Burke Porter Machinery Company. My activities allow me to practice my hard-skills as I teach others techniques to improve their abilities and to hone my soft-skills as I interact with many people on a daily basis and often need to manage groups of people.
I am planning to major at Calvin College in Computer Science with a minor in Business. I also plan to take a NOLS leadership course and certification. I would like to have this on-going project to document my experiences and help me share them with others. I also am hoping that this blog will open new opportunities for me, so please subscribe to this blog and tell your friends about it as well. Every person who visits this site helps it to gain legitimacy and helps me to establish myself. I hope you enjoy the site, now go take a look around!
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