Aram Mitchell— Executive Director
Ever since he laced up his first pair of hiking boots Aram has been walking the long trail that led him to Renewal in the Wilderness. The miles he’s covered with a pack on his back have taught Aram the value of walking with levity in a heavy world. When he’s not scouting for new experiences of renewal - and spreading the news in coffee shops, congregations, board rooms, mountains, streams, deserts, and forests - Aram is probably somewhere in Portland (Maine) with a comic book in hand, or pushing his nieces on the swing, or brushing up on old card tricks.
John Lionberger— Founder, President Emeritus
Back in 2001, after a life changing encounter in the wild, John launched Renewal in the Wilderness from the shores of an idea into the depths of reality. He’s been pulling hard at the paddle ever since. John guided our organization for 15 years, along the way crafting a vision of renewal and a spirit of openness that flows through every experience we offer. When he’s not sitting in the stern with bow pointed to the backcountry John serves as a chaplain in Chicago. He also wrote a powerful book that offers a glimpse into his story and the transforming nature of a well-guided trip into open space. Plus he has an awesome grandkid.
In River Rafting, CFS is the measurement of a rivers downstream flow in Cubic Feet per Second. Colin Frazier Simon (CFS!)...was born into a river rat family and was named by no accident. Since his youth water has always been in his blood and often between his ears. Whether surfing, free diving, rafting or fishing, his love of water has taken him to the many rivers along the Colorado Plateau, including The Old Man himself, the Colorado River. While the back country of Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico are the play ground of his youth, the Pacific Ocean of California Alta and Baja California stole his heart as a young man and he now lives in the place where the desert meets the sea. An avid fisher, rafter, packer, peak bagger, State Lifeguard, and child of nature, Colin aims to entertain and lighten his trail and river mates with a child-like glee that only the red and gold of the canyons at dusk can outshine. This guy loves the outdoors and will turn over every rock and scoop up every toad that hops across his path until you can't help but see a wild world under your every step and feel it pumping through your ever growing heart.