The Machia Wilderness Camp was the vision of Larry Machia, an avid hunter, construction engineer, mechanic, and log home builder. 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 children learning vicariously through the digital world, 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 society is losing its connection to the outdoors, few are willing to be stewards of the earth and most are unable 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, improved confidence and leadership abilities 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 generously gave their time, money, and creative energy to make the dream a reality with the launch of a trial run of the program in July 2004. Sixteen youths attended day programs at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vermont, participating 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. That year we began holding camp at Ethan Allen Firing Range, a National Guard facility, and biathlon 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 its recognition as a non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
Bonnie Machia still serves as Executive Director. Friends, family and the outdoor community continue to support the mission of the camp and our commitment to youth and our environment.
Machia Wilderness Camp is committed to creating a more sustainable planet by focusing on today's youth.
Read the annual report and more FYI documents here
Focusing our efforts:
Fostering a philosophy of living that carries beyond the camp into everyday life; i.e. living in harmony with our environment.
Developing an apprentice type program for campers we identify as future leaders desiring to share knowledge and skills, further honing the skills needed to successfully use natural resources responsibly.
Building a camp that practices a holistic and cooperative approach to society.
Larry T. Machia
April 11, 1943 - May 16, 2003