History

Machia Wilderness Camp History

 

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Larry T. Machia
 April 11, 1943 - May 16, 2003

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The Machia Wilderness Camp was the vision of Larry Machia, who was an avid hunter, construction engineer, mechanic, and log homebuilder. Out of a deep love for nature and children, he was especially sensitive to the ways in which humans are destroying our world and to the ways in which our children learn mostly from the vicarious world of TV, isolated from the gifts that nature offers.

As our 21st century world draws us into a life of technology and suburban living, most adults and children miss out on the sensual experience of being alive with nature.

Larry noted that today’s society is loosing its ability to be stewards of the earth and to survive in the wilderness. He envisioned a camp where youth would learn the life skills needed to survive in nature and learn to be productive keepers of the earth. Larry imagined that apprentice programs could provide hands-on training for youth, who would be challenged to carry their learned skills into everyday life, teaching others what they have learned.

The vision resonated with many, and Larry began to formalize his concept. Although Larry passed away in May 2003, the vision did not pass away with him. It lives on in the hearts and imaginations of a small, passionate group of people who are compelled by his vision.

Larry’s widow, Bonnie Machia had little difficulty assembling a Board of Directors to help take the vision to the next step. Many friends and family members gave of their time, money, and creative energy to make the dream become a reality with the launch of a trial run of the program in July 2004. Sixteen youths attended programs at Camp Johnson in Colchester, VT and participated in hunter education, trapping, and archery.

In March 2005 the organization formalized its bylaws and became incorporated in the State of Vermont. Campers gathered once again for a successful week of outdoor experiences in July 2005. Fishing was added in addition to hunting, trapping, and archery. The camp was held at Ethan Allen Firing Range, a National Guard facility and biathlete training center. Three former campers returned as apprentices to further enhance their own skills and assist newcomers.

Machia Wilderness Camp was granted 501(c)3 status in September 2005, formalizing it’s recognition as a non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service.