Our 2023 North Idaho Crew Leader of the year is Julie Kallemeyn! Besides leading crews, she is also a member of ITA’s Advisory Board. One of the volunteers on a trip that she led described her leadership this way: “She made the trip so much fun that you didn’t even know there was work involved!” Thank you for all you do for ITA and trails, Julie!
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been retired since 2015. My work career was first in landscape architecture and then in residential real estate in Minnesota.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing for fun?
My outdoors background includes a large family of 5 kids. We grew up on a lake near St Paul MN and had a family lake cabin near Brainerd, MN. My family was an adventuresome one and we did a lot of fishing, skiing, hunting, identifying native plants, exploring the outdoors, and more.
When my then husband retired and I moved to Sandpoint in 2015 we continued hiking, skiing, fishing, hunting etc. I wanted to find a way to volunteer that would appeal to my interests and I found several opportunities.
How and why did you first get involved with ITA?
The first week we were in Sandpoint I found KRFY, community radio, and started helping out there. After meeting Phil Hough there, we decided to do a weekly broadcast focusing on recreation, the outdoors, the environment.
Not long after beginning this program, the Tuesday morning show, Phil invited Tom Dabrowski, then ITA’s president to come on our show and tell listeners about ITA. After Tom’s moving interview I had to become a volunteer!
Since then I have been a volunteer on daylong through weeklong work projects, I became a crew leader, and was asked to serve on the ITA advisory board.
What do you like about volunteering with ITA?
Some of the things I have enjoyed about being involved with ITA have been the opportunity to see trails I haven’t hiked, to meet some of the most smart, humble friendly, and STRONG people, and to give back time and energy to the trails of this state that are in need of some love. I’ve developed genuine friendships with folks that share my values about the outdoors.
Most memorable backcountry or ITA experience?
I was only able to lead one trip last summer due to a failing knee. It was a long weekend car camping trip on the North fork of the Coeur d’ Alene river. Some fun things happened. Several ITA volunteers from a previous year’s weeklong trip signed up and then several of my friends from Sandpoint signed up. And then some of the volunteers spouses and family showed up. Then some of them wanted to help out, so we had some extra hands and hopefully some new volunteers for next year. We accomplished our project goals, but even better it felt like a family camping vacation. For me that says it all.
Why do you continue to volunteer with ITA?
So many reasons, bust as mentioned, it’s about great projects that make a difference, great people, great experiences, and personal growth. Thanks to Idaho Trails Association for making it all possible.