2014 Crew


The other morning I sat on my deck and watched the mist rising to meet the clear day, and my heart started pulling hard…to hold that mist down, to stall the start of the day, the end of the summer, this point in life.  It was so so beautiful, and I know it’s futile to try to hold onto something so beautiful and fleeting, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

Summer is closing.  Even though it seemed so endless and fresh 20 minutes ago (12 weeks actually) when the staff were arriving….old staff and new staff—to form the crew.  Now…as they start to trickle away, I want to hold them here. Each one of them. Let me introduce them to you.


Already we miss that bubbly cheerful Amy with her contagious happiness.  I could always hear Amy coming and going in the outfitting building- her chatter and laughter were not so subtle.  Also, I often scheduled her on late shift for those crazy busy nights, because this girl can multi-task ….from the fishing machine to the permit snafus to the phones, to the computer, to the store—simultaneously with the same bright confidence.   She’s something.


Liz was hired in May–as our fill-in-for-any-position person. Lucky us, because she can do it all. She joined Amy in finding humor in everyday things.  You cannot help but laugh a little at the things Liz finds funny.   But honestly, you should have HEARD her play the violin with Jerry Vandiver. You cannot help but get choked up a little by the sound she gets out of that instrument, either.  That’s pretty special when a person can make you laugh and cry in the same day.


Allie has been here for 3 summers, and I’m starting to feel like we cannot live without her.  She was a flawless food packer this year–but more than that, she quietly takes on the pulse of the staff– and she makes sure that everyone is welcome in her adventures.   My favorite moment with Allie this year is when we went blueberry picking in her jeep.  Well, I was going blueberry picking, she was actually off-roading.   We’re still hoping she can come back for one more summer before she heads into the real world of architecture.


Allie brought her sister Anna, who we hired without even blinking.   I should have known better than to expect an Allie-clone.  I mean, they both are really high quality workers, and great people. But-while Allie sits at the dinner table and I have to strain to catch her very quiet funny comments–Anna sings show-tunes.   And when the two of them planned the staff adventure list for the year–complete with a system of points and grids and “must dos”…Allie planned a cooperative effort for all to achieve, and Anna planned a competition.  Because Anna wins, or she’ll die trying.  Or in the case of the triathlon, she might just drown trying.   Style and form don’t necessarily count.  Winning counts.  Anna wins.

10506796_10100944540625450_8924798583526189496_oKyle was in the fishing boat for part of every evening all summer.  Somebody asked him at one of our loud…everybody-talking-at-once..dinners–“What do you DO, what do you THINK ABOUT out there?   And Kyle–who always has a really good answer, but won’t give it to you unless you ask him— concisely replied  “The quiet is really nice sometimes.”    This guy has such common sense life intelligence, and he’s so quietly kind to everyone…I just can’t get over how lucky we are to have him.


Claire usually operates behind the scenes.  The most common thing I heard her say this summer was “Sure, I can do that.”   I really appreciate the way that Claire unloads the details out of my head and into hers.  It makes my load lighter, and we never run out of coffee.  One thing Shelby says is that people who bake are put together.  I tell you what, Claire can bake.


See sweet Lucy in the bottom of the boat, navigating?  She is our camp scout, and she takes her Tuscarora perimeter patrol job very seriously.   She also has a hold on Rachel’s heart.The thing about Rachel–who is our year-round manager, is that she always does things well.   Everything….from creating spiffy google website route pages, to repairing canoes, to cleaning corners, to training staff.  All details.  How lucky is that for us to have her at Tuscarora?


Kelly is our crew cook.  First of all, let me tell you that having a good crew cook is an amazing thing.  I just show up, with everybody else, and we line up for something really good, and hang out together.  Meals are a great part of the day.  I’ll bet we all have our favorites, but …whoa…her macaroni and queso, or her margarita pizza, and all  the salads…to die for.  We’ve had great food this summer, thanks to cute Kelly.IMG_0105Grant’s quirkiness amuses us all.  “Geez,” he said the other night.  “I don’t think I was ever funny until this summer”.   After hours, you can usually find his head and snorkel somewhere in the bay—not to be mistaken for a headless loon.   Sometimes he even fishes that way—with a little rod and hook he dangles right in front of his mask.  Grant notices the little details that can save us from catastrophes later.  He’s a good one to have around.

Shelby's Summer
   For the first 11 weeks of this summer Shelby pursued an adventure-internship in Colorado. Isn’t that the bittersweet part of being a parent? We WANT her to have her own dreams, her own places-her own adventures of a lifetime—even though that means we lose her. We’re genuinely happy when she’s happy. Still, my favorite part is that we get her back for August, and now she’s a certified sawyer too.



IMG_0238Daniel is the outfitting manager.  It suits him.   As a mom, I worry that he’s taking on too much responsibility and becoming too old too fast, and developing a little twitch next to his right eye. As an employer, I have to admit that he sure is great at his job. Sometimes before he goes to bed he still comes around and says “hug” just like he did when he was three. He’s a competent man and a sweet boy all at the same time.

10580732_10100944541668360_784710469626752323_o Macky is just a handsome little feller.

10325539_10100944538704300_3534703019220621754_nJoe is absolutely perfect for hospitality because he offers the same friendly helpfulness at the end of a long day that he did that first day of the summer.  He’s is an optimist…in the flesh….even after he just fails the gallon-challenge.  He’s just game for everything—and I hear he doesn’t miss anything going on…ever. You can’t help but like Joe.


2014 Staff b 007There they are–our 2014 crew. Can you see why I love them?  It has been an honor for me to be part of this group of young people, and watch how they became a family who takes care of each other—and who are honestly committed to doing the hard work to take good care of every one who visits Tuscarora.  So, while I’m directing my heart to let go, I’m also really grateful for this slice of time and for the 2014 Tuscarora Crew.

12 Responses

  1. Judi & Peter Barsness says:

    As always Sue, Peter and I so enjoy your blog posts and how you make us feel the love that is your Tuscarora Family and your Ahrendt Family. Hugs and Love from us over on Tait Lake:) Judi & Peter Barsness

  2. joann barnes says:

    Sue, as Kyle’s grandparents we thank you for the opportunities you have given Kyle. We are happy that he had the good fortune to be among caring people who recognize and appreciate his gifts. I believe Tuscarora was a good fit for him and I know has been blessed to be among people who love many of the same things he does. I feel sure that his life has been enriched by his experience at Tuscarora. Thanks and God bless. joann and lloyd barnes

  3. Jerry says:

    Every year I look forward to this “meet the crew” blog. It is always not only touching, but reminds of my all too brief time with them each summer. Tell Liz and Daniel I expect to have them in my Tuscarora band next year!

    • Sue Ahrendt says:

      One of the reasons you’re our favorite is that you treat every one of these kids you would one of your celebrity friends. I’ll always love you for that. And…one of these days you just might find Liz and Daniel visiting you in Nashville!

  4. Jamie Smith says:

    Every year Northridge comes up there with a load of kids and every year the crew at Tuscarora is prepared and welcome us and treat us like family. We always leave wishing we could have spent some time hanging out at Tuscarora. That is a great group of “kids” you have there and you always do seem to find the best!

    • Sue Ahrendt says:

      But Jamie–you ARE family…and we do wish you could hang with us longer too-. And we won’t forget that you did give us Allie and Anna-two of Tuscarora’s finest. Thanks for that.

  5. Jeff Johnson says:

    Sue, very cool write up on your staff/crew/friends….if anyone ever wants to visit Bend, OR we’ve go room and board covered for those visitors…..plus some awesome beer to drink. One of these years we’ll make our way to Tuscarora…I was there in 1979 or so, hard to believe it’s been so long. My friend worked there and he set us up. We made a couple of other BWCA trips on our own, but next time we’ll come hang w/ you guys. Cheers, JJ

    • Sue Ahrendt says:

      Really nice to hear from you Jeff Johnson. I have crept on your adventures/facebook page, and I’m glad to see you live a great life, surrounded by good people (a few of whom are young Jeff Johnson clones). Thank you for the kind invitation-! we’d love to host you here at Tuscarora too. I have fond memories of that one Christmas Lori and Betsy and I spent with you in …Innsbruck I think? All the best–

  6. Greg Mickelson says:

    Sue, it is so bitter sweet to see the Crew at Tuscarora. The Mickelson’s could not make the trip this year due to the boys activities. We really missed seeing everyone and the changes on the trail. From a distance, we had the opportunity to watch your children grow into wonderful young adults. The boys were looking forward to talking with Daniel about hockey, as they had the opportunity to watch his team play on TV last year. We miss you all and hopefully we will be able to make the trip next year.

    • Sue Ahrendt says:

      Hey Greg-we missed you guys too. Activities will do that to a family—for sure. We’ve sure enjoyed watching your boys grow up. We look forward to seeing you again soon! Greet all your good people for us, and thanks for the nice note.