An adventurous Warren Alumna is hiking the Continental Divide Trail. At over 3,100 miles it is one of America’s longest hiking trails. Her passion for the outdoors was ignited by summers at Warren and wants to spread the fire to a new generation of campers. Because of this, Lia is fundraising for Camp Warren. Your donations will help send kids to camp and keep Lia's feet moving forward. Minnesota is a beautiful training ground for tomorrow’s hikers, canoers, sailors, skiers, citizens. You can follow Lia’s adventure on her blog.
Name: Lia Allen
Hometown: Currently living in Chicago, but born in Kuwait, spent most of my childhood in Stamford, CT
What have you been doing with your life?
I bounced around between film school, culinary school, and finally hospitality school in Switzerland. I worked for some snazzy hotels and restaurants for a while and traveled the world a bit before deciding to be my own boss. I now live in Chicago as a yoga teacher and an independent chef. I teach people how to treat themselves with compassion and make healthy food super tasty! I am currently preparing for this big trip, a thru hike of the Continental Divide Trail, a 3,100 mile trail from the border of New Mexico/Mexico to Montana/Canada. Why? It has been a lifelong dream of mine since I went on Short Border at Warren, and so I'm using my hike to help raise money to send kids to Warren. When I'm not teaching yoga or prepping food for an event, I'm dehydrating tons of fruits and veggies so I have healthy food on trail and working on fundraising. I have a few events coming up including one at the Bloomington REI on Thursday evening and one in Chicago, April 5th. All proceeds go to Warren's scholarship fund.
Did the Past Portage to Camp have an influence on this decision?
Absolutely. I've been wanting to find a way to give back to Warren and help people more than just one on one like with yoga or camp counseling, and being able to send kids to camp who could then hopefully spend years with the opportunity to grow and find the strength and confidence that camp taught me. Portage to Camp opened my eyes to an opportunity I could incorporate into a lifelong dream that was spurred by camp.
How long have you been involved with Warren?
My dad was a camper in the 70's, and my brother started camp the same summer I did. I began camp in 1995 and had 10 amazing summers there as a camper and staff member. After 7 years away I had to return to this magical place. 2013, I was one of the oldest staff members and it brought an inspiring insight into the value of being a camp counselor.
What activities were you involved in?
I was a horse camper, and assistant wrangler when I got on staff. These days I am happily more in line with the Mind Body Soul activity, which is what I was involved in in 2013, but would love to get my hands dirty in the barn again. The kitchen always calls to me of course. If I find myself working at Warren again, which would be a dream come true (again), I'd love to find a balance between these passions.
What age group did you work with?
I love working with all the campers of course, but I definitely connect best with the older girls.
What is one piece of advice would you give a first year camper?
Don't scratch the bug bites. Any discomfort you feel is temporary. Remember your cabin is your family, so work on your relationships. Camp will change your life for the best
Favorite camp song?
Favorite camp game?
Capture the flag
Favorite Camp Counselor moment:
When I was doing Mind Body Soul and was told that I helped a young girl realize how much more she could love herself and how she was going to work on doing that from now on. Doesn't get much better than that.
Anything else we should know about?
Camp counseling is truthfully the hardest job you'll love. I've never been so fulfilled and so exhausted and so happy to be exhausted as I was when I was working at Warren. I'm hiking the CDT as a way to publicly show my appreciation for all the amazing lessons I learned through camp. This is my big, long way of saying thank you and trying to give the opportunity of Warren to other kids who might not normally be able to go.
Inspired by Lia’s story? Help her reach her fundraising goal by donating online.