Meet the Director: Matt Poppleton

My Dad was the first one to introduce me to the Boundary Waters. I was ten years old and a family friend convinced us to join him on their annual Boundary Waters canoe trip. That began an annual tradition that lasted through high school for me. With a passion for the outdoors I attended Northern Michigan University and studied Outdoor Recreation Management. Part of that degree required an internship, which led me to YMCA Camp Widjiwagan and the Outdoor Learning Program. What was supposed to be a nine week internship turned into eight fulfilling years working at Widji. I was an Instructor Naturalist, Trail Counselor and eventually Wilderness Program Director.

After my initial time with Widji I started to raise a family and worked for a variety of outdoor focused organizations that included Wilderness Inquiry, REI, and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. During that time I also completed my Masters in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University. It's now come full circle and I'm thrilled to return as the Camp Executive Director of YMCA Camp Widjiwagan and help lead the organization into the next era.

YMCA Camp Widjiwagan's mission to instill respect in youth through wilderness adventure and environmental education has had a tremendously positive impact on me and generations of campers. I am thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to help Widji continue to deliver these life changing experiences.