Camp Director Spotlight: Louis DeAngelis Program Director
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
We caught up with Camp Birch Hill program director Louis DeAngelis to hear all about what he gets up to during the year when he’s not running around camp making sure everyone is having the best time ever. Lou loves adventure and wastes no time getting out and about to see the world when he’s not working at camp. He’s got some awesome stories and we can’t wait to share them with you all! We chatted with Lou right as he was heading off on one of his greatest adventures yet with camp waterfront director Sadie Graham to explore Central and South America. As we speak they are currently soaking up the sunshine in Belize. To keep up to date with their travels you can follow them on Instagram @shadiemayhem and @louisd217.
My name is Lou DeAngelis and I have worked at Camp Birch Hill since 2013. That means this summer will be 6 years. Crazy how fast the time goes by! My first 3 summers I was a counselor and eventually ran the adventure parts of camp, including our high and low ropes courses, rock wall, and mountain biking programs.
Starting in 2016 Sadie and I took over as Directors at Birch Hill and have loved creating an exciting and unique summer each of the last two years. For our third summer we have even more fun in store with fresh new ideas for S Days and transition days, as well as lot’s of fun traditions that are a staple of the Birch Hill Program.
In the spring of 2016 I graduated from Vermont’s Lyndon State College with a degree in Recreation Management and a minor in Marketing. A lot of my studies focused on program and event planning for both children and adults, as well as ski resort management. My education at Lyndon has set me up well for my position at Birch Hill and it’s a great way to spend my summers after my winters working and traveling in the mountains.
When I’m not at Birch Hill you can generally find me either Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking or Skiing. My past few winters have brought me to Telluride CO, Taos NM, as well as on a cross country road trip in an old school bus.
In Telluride I completed an internship working for Telluride Ski Resort in the Risk Management department. While there I learned about the safety aspects of the outdoor industry which have translated well at camp. In my spare time I backcountry skiied in the beautiful San Juan mountains which are tough to beat in terms of both beauty and ski terrain.
The following winter (2016-17) a friend from Lyndon and I teamed up and bought an old half sized school bus with the intentions of climbing, biking and backcountry skiing for the entire camp off season of about 6 months. We took off from New Hampshire in early December traveling South down the east coast, through West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee before beginning the trek westward.
Once we made it to the southwest we spent weeks mountain biking and rock climbing in the amazing desert areas of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah visiting places such as White Sands National Monument, The Cochise Stronghold, Sedona AZ, Zion National Park and more. We eventually hit California and spent a little over a week rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park which was a big highlight of the trip.
From there we began to head north and chase the snow. It turned out that chasing snow in California last winter was pretty easy, as we quickly found ourselves stuck in Mammoth Lakes skiing snow so deep that it was actually enough to close the road we were skiing from for about 24 hours. (There are worse places to be stuck when you have all of your ski gear and enough supplies to last you about a week!)
We eventually made it to the Pacific Northwest and then my new favorite state of Idaho for more deep snow and rock climbing. We had the opportunity to go hut skiing while in Idaho and even met up with Birch Hill celebrity and former counselor/director Reilly for a few weeks who joined us on the adventure.
From Idaho we slowly began our trek back east, making sure to swing through more beautiful country such as Moab, Utah, visiting Arches and Canyonlands National Parks while there. After several days biking and climbing in the area, and our realization that even 6 months is not enough time to see our great country, we boogied across the midwest. We managed to sneak a few more days of climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge before heading back North to New England.
This trip solidified my love of travel and made me realize how lucky I was to live in a country like the US that is so diverse and has a ton to explore.
Most recently, this fall I made a trek to southeast Asia visiting Thailand and Malaysia. I was lucky to be able to visit family (including my 12 year old sister and Birch Hill camper “Sweet Jo”) and friends on this trip which started in Bangkok. The markets and food all throughout this crazy city were amazing. I wanted to eat everything in site as there were street vendors on every block. I even managed to eat a scorpion which was admittedly not as bad as I thought it would be. From Bangkok we headed south visiting Ko Phangan, and my favorite part of Thailand, Railay Beach.
The cultural experiences and scenery in Thailand were amazing and totally worth the trek to the other side of the world to see. I was able to spend a little time in the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur before flying back east to New Mexico to begin my most recent winter job.
I arrived in Taos NM, which was not so conveniently a 12 hour time difference from Thailand and within 24 hours of my arrival started my new job as the Events Coordinator for Taos Ski Valley, the largest ski resort in the state. Despite the lack of winter in Taos this year, which normally receives over 300 inches of snow, I really enjoyed my few months there before ski bumming my way north through Colorado visiting Crested Butte, Wolf Creek, Telluride,
Copper Mountain and Steamboat.
As I write this, just recently having made it back to the east coast, I am preparing for my next adventure before moving into Camp Birch Hill in May. Sadie, who you all know and love, and I are about to begin #SadieAndLousBigAdventure to Central America! Our plan is to spend 6 weeks traveling from north to south, starting in Cancun and ending in Costa Rica. The plan is to spend some time on the beach, hiking volcanoes, caving, eating tacos and visiting mayan ruins while exploring towns and cities through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and finally Costa Rica.
Sadie and I are both super excited about this next big adventure and will do our best to keep everyone posted on Instagram and Facebook so that you can tag along.