In 1983 Jessie and James Camp decided to do more of what they loved and believed in; connect youth with the great outdoors. Inspired by working together at Camp Unalayee, a wilderness backpacking camp, and the Pacific Environmental Education Center Jessie and James founded the small, family-run, nonprofit outdoor education organization FIELDGUIDES INC.
Jessie and James wanted to share their enthusiasm for the outdoors as well as foster stewardship in future generations. Believing that enjoying the natural world was essential to learning about and caring for it, they made independent exploring, engaging games, and a feeling of student autonomy a focal point of their work. Rather than recite a set curriculum, they integrated students interests with staff knowledge to create a unique outdoor education experience. Being strong advocates for the transformative experiences that nature provides they began bringing students, parents, and teachers together in the outdoors. As parents themselves, family and community played a fundamental role in the programs. With a dedicated staff, and their young children often in tow, they ran intimate, hands on educational programs, nurturing thoughtful youth and building lasting relationships between participants and staff. Their passions for outdoor involvement and community were passed down to their participants as well as their children. Their son Galen has taken a position as Fieldguides’ general manager.
Galen has spent much of his life immersed in outdoor education and youth leadership programs. These experiences instilled the importance of respecting and spending time outdoors and also brought Galen into contact with Becca Eastman. The two met when they were just babies at a wilderness backpacking camp where Galen's parents worked each summer and Becca's dad was the director. As lifelong friends and eventual co-workers, they feel lucky to work together with the same indispensable respect for family, community, and enjoyment of nature as Jessie and James before them. Becca now works alongside Galen doing program development and outreach, bringing her experience as a middle school science teacher and her newest family member to their programs. Their lifelong involvement with the outdoors has impressed upon them the ever increasing need to spend quality time in the backcountry and foster the physical and mental growth that is needed to build self confidence, strong communities, and help protect the natural world.