Aram Mitchell— Executive Director
Aram is a Registered Maine Guide and Wilderness First Responder with an MA in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary. Prior to moving to Maine in 2015 he worked as a minister for children (and the child-like) at a progressive faith congregation in Claremont, CA. He worked as an advocate and shelter coordinator for LGBTQ identified homeless youth in Chicago, IL. He worked as an aid to elementary school educators of students with special needs in Indianapolis, IN. He backpacked across Scotland, walked a pilgrimage in Spain, practiced yoga in Costa Rica and has guided wilderness trips and urban walks of various durations for people of many ages, genders, and dispositions in 11 different states and a couple of Canadian provinces. Now Aram spends his days as the Executive Director of Renewal in the Wilderness devising ways to bring the wisdom of wilderness and regular rhythms of renewal into the lives of care providers, justice workers, and faith leaders.
John Lionberger— Founder, President Emeritus, Guide
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.