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Our Mission

Strengthen communities through outdoor sport, and explore outdoor sport through community.

 
 
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WHO WE ARE

We believe connecting to community and to the natural world makes us happier and healthier. The outdoors is a resource every community can leverage to its benefit, and outdoor recreation is a vital part of a community’s strength and overall health infrastructure.

We believe that actively engaging in the outdoors creates connections across generations, and has the power to connect people to their communities.


We believe outdoor sports such as skiing, paddling, hiking, and biking provide a platform for developing individuals with the confidence, creativity, self-efficacy, and resilience needed to sustain strong communities and navigate a changing world.

 
 

WE ARE SUPPORTED BY:

 
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THE OUTDOOR SPORT INSTITUTE IS A 501C3 NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON:

Building a community’s capacity to envision and create an active, outdoor culture

Building capacity of local students and adults as outdoor sport advocates, mentors, and leaders

Fostering intergenerational relationships within a community through outdoor sport

Using outdoor sport to teach skills that foster self-determination capacities including, but not limited to, self-efficacy, self-confidence, resilience, discipline, risk management, judgment, and decision-making

 
 

OSI STAFF


 
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MIKE SMITH
Executive Director
mike@outdoorsi.org | 207.227.0250

Mike’s love of the outdoors began on his family’s potato farm in Aroostook County, Maine. He would tell you that he “won the lottery” growing up in a place where he could freely explore the fields, forests, and streams surrounding him. At an early age he discovered a love for teaching and sharing experiences with others, and originally had his sights set on becoming an art teacher.

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That all changed when he attended college and his childhood love of fishing, canoeing, and cross-country skiing evolved into whitewater road trips, mountain biking adventures, and backcountry skiing in the mountains. Mike graduated from UMaine in 2003 with a degree in Sociology, and a desire to keep feeding his love of learning, teaching, and the great outdoors.

He has worked as a raft guide, sea kayak guide, high school ski coach, backcountry trip leader, whitewater kayak instructor in the US and Latin America, and even wrenched at a bike shop (though he’ll be the first to suggest you have someone else tune your bike). In 2009 he went to work as a community development coach for the Maine Winter Sports Center back in his home of northern Maine. It was there that his real appreciation for the power of community and outdoors began to take shape.

Mike is a registered Maine Recreational & Sea Kayak Guide, ACA Whitewater Kayak Instructor Trainer, Swiftwater Rescue Instructor, BICP Mountain Bike Instructor, and a Wilderness First Responder. While northern Maine will always be his home, Mike absolutely loves to travel, spending much of his time on the road from northern Quebec to southern Patagonia. He also loves to read, roast coffee, and remind people that the best potatoes come from Aroostook County, Maine.

 
 
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JOSH FIRMIN
Assistant Director
josh@outdoorsi.org | 207.554.0221

Josh has been working and playing in the outdoors for most of his life. Growing up in southwest New Hampshire, he solidified a strong connection with nature and the outdoors at a young age through family fishing trips, night skiing at the local rope tow, and biking on dusty back roads.

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Josh brings an infectious enthusiasm for the outdoors and a wealth of experience to share. He attended the University of Maine in Orono where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technologies and was actively involved in outdoor education with the university’s outdoor program. He has worked as a ski instructor, kayak instructor, raft guide, and even worked on the production side of the outdoor industry sewing and assembling backpacks. Josh is a registered Maine Guide, ACA Whitewater Kayak Instructor, and Wilderness First Responder.

In his capacity as Assistant Director at OSI, Josh relishes the opportunity to work with people of all ages helping to grow communities, as well as the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Josh is particularly passionate about skiing and kayaking, seeing them both as sports with endless opportunities for exploration and expression.

“Living in Maine”, he says, “they are two very complimentary pursuits. I get to enjoy the snow during the winter months, and in the spring and summer I get to chase the water downstream to the ocean.”

Josh is a proud father of three children, and when not outdoors on his own, he’s likely to be found out with his kids, biking, skiing, swimming, and paddling. He also loves to sing and play guitar and has never found a pun he could resist.

 
 

OSI BOARD OF DIRECTORS


 
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RICHARD L. TRAFTON
Chairman

Richard is a partner in the Auburn, Maine law firm of Trafton & Matzen, LLP where he practices estate planning, administrative and business law. He has been a State Senator representing the Auburn area, as well as Mayor of Auburn. He has been active in civic affairs as chair and secretary of municipal charter commissions and president of the Auburn Public Library.

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Dick was an All-American nordic combined skier for Dartmouth College in the 1970’s, and a member of the United States Nordic Combined Ski Team from 1969 through 1971. He chaired the Maine Bill Koch Ski League while his children were racing, and coached x-c skiing briefly at Bates College.

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SARAH GUERETTE
Board Member

Sarah is the Southern Maine Director at the Women’s Business Center at CEI, where she helps entrepreneurs access advising, training, capital and other resources to start, or grow their own businesses.

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Sarah’s passion around entrepreneurship has driven her recent career choices, including: work at CEI in their StartSmart program with immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs; several years in Ecuador growing a local consulting firm focused on high impact entrepreneurial ecosystems, and time at ACCION USA measuring the outcomes of their domestic microlending.

Sarah is an active community member: she sits on the boards of Portland Bike Share Inc. and Women Standing Together, and is working as part of a collaborative initiative to encourage more female equity investors in Maine.

She has an MBA from Boston University, with specializations in marketing and public and nonprofit management, and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Maine, where she was first exposed to the field of outdoor experiential education.

Originally from Bangor, Sarah now lives in Portland with her husband. When not pouring over spreadsheets, she can often be found out running on the trails, swimming somewhere (ideally open-water, weather permitting), or cooking up vegetarian delights at home.

 
 
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ABE FURTH
Board Member

Abe has been an entrepreneur his entire adult life. He is currently focusing his energy on Orono Brewing Company and property development in the Bangor, Maine region with a focus on developing historic downtown properties for commercial and residential use. He also owns Woodsman’s Bar and Grill and Verve Burritos in Orono, and serves on the board of the Maine Brewers’ Guild. He studied creative writing at the University of Maine Orono, where he met his wife and business partner Heather Furth.

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Abe grew up in a family of outdoor educators, spent much of his childhood on backpack and canoe expeditions and is committed to outdoor adventure. As a young adult he bicycled across the United States twice, and he has stayed dedicated to the sport of cycling and mountain biking. Abe also is an avid skier and motorcycle adventurer.

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MINAL CARON
Board Member

Minal grew up in Fort Kent, Maine where he was a member of Maine Winter Sports Center’s cross-country skiing and biathlon teams throughout high school, and also raced for Fort Kent Community High School. He served as captain of the MWSC County Team as a high school senior, and with strong encouragement from his coach, went off to Dartmouth College, where he was a member of the Dartmouth Ski Team from 2005-2009.

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After graduating from Dartmouth with degrees in human geography and economics he spent a year as a research and teaching assistant at Dartmouth and served as a volunteer ski coach for seventh and eighth graders in the Ford Sayre Memorial Ski Council Nordic Program in Hanover, New Hampshire.

After Dartmouth, Minal was accepted into Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude in 2013. While at Harvard he received the Paul C. Weiler Award for academic excellence in Sports Law and assisted in writing and revising the second edition of Representing the Professional Athlete, a legal textbook. He currently lives in the Bangor area, where he works as a law clerk for Chief Judge John Woodcock of the United States District Court in Maine. In the fall, Minal is moving to Boston to work as an associate for the law firm Ropes & Gray.

 
 
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KAITLYN BERNARD
Board Member

Kaitlyn is the Maine program associate for the Appalachian Mountain Club, working in their Portland office. Kaitlyn grew up in Fort Kent, and was involved in Maine Winter Sports Center programming as a middle school kid in the Jalbert Youth Biathlon Program. She continued with the program through high school and went on to compete for the MWSC team in both cross country skiing and biathlon all over the country. In addition to training and competing, Kaitlyn was very active as a volunteer leading youth programming, including coaching the Jalbert Youth Biathlon Program.

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She is a recent graduate of Colby College, where she studied Environmental Policy and Environmental Education. At Colby, she served as the Colby Outing Club's "Officer of Maine" and helped start and coach the Central Maine Ski Club's Middle School Nordic Team.

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OLE AMUNDSEN
Board Member

A seasoned professional, with nonprofit, government, and private sector experience, Ole focuses on assisting clients achieve their full potential by helping organizations to articulate their vision, use their resources effectively, and overcome obstacles. Ole manages both the Land Conservation Loan program and Strategic Conservation Planning program for The Conservation Fund, a national land trust. Ole's projects have been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine.

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Before joining the Fund, Ole ran a successful consulting practice and was a Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University. He has also served as the Assistant Director for Land Policy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has worked for the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency on national policy issues.

Ole grew up cross country skiing in Hanover, New Hampshire before moving to Cape Elizabeth, Maine for high school. He skied for the Colby Nordic Ski Team and was team captain. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Colby College and a Master of Science degree in City Planning, concentrating in Environmental Policy, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ole has exceptionally strong financial skills and strong connections nationally.

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EMMA POPE-WELCH
Board Member

Emma is a communications specialist with MEMIC, working from their Portland office. In her role she is responsible for developing comprehensive communication campaigns and events. Emma grew up in New Hampshire and Maine spending time outdoors at every turn. Whether kayaking, skiing or trail running she finds that everyone is their best self in fresh air and via self-propulsion. She is thrilled to be serving in a board capacity that is a fantastic marriage of skill and passion. She is a graduate of the University of Maine where she earned degrees in Journalism and Communication.