By Sarah Zerkel
Nothing speaks more fluently to the heart of Alaskans than sunny days in the backcountry, time in the wilderness with friends, or gutting it out on a remote trail. So naturally, as an Alaskan and avid outdoor-enjoyer I immediately took the opportunity to join the ranks of an organization aimed at backcountry fun.
I’m a new board member of Alaska Huts. Outside of Huts my time is split between my day job where I interact with amazing Alaskan non-profits and my free time where I’m exploring as much of Alaska’s backcountry as I can. So of course, joining the board of Alaska Huts was the perfect combination of my work and recreational life and I couldn’t be more excited to share the news about what we do.
As someone oriented to learning about non-profit impact, I’ve realized in my short time on the board that Alaska Huts has the unique and exciting position of reaching beyond recreation and touching the lives of all Alaskans. Why do I say that? For me, it all boils down to our guiding principles. Specifically, “The ‘People’ Principle”.
People are behind the work we do. All people --seasoned backcountry travelers, children, families, visitors to Alaska, new hikers, people with disabilities-- stand to gain from the Alaska Huts mission to foster camaraderie and promote wilderness education and stewardship. Whether it’s reserving hut space for an individual trip or engaging in an organized event, Alaska Huts focuses on improving lives via outdoor opportunities.
Simply put, we bring people together. Whether it’s around a new hobby, a family camp or an educational opportunity, Alaska Huts centers around people and “cultivates opportunities for personal growth and development”. Which is what I love about what we do and why I believe our organization is aimed at more than recreation.
I believe in Alaska Huts because I believe in the community building power of the outdoors. I believe in backcountry accessibility for all people regardless of ability, age, or skill level. I believe in inspiring good stewardship. I believe in the camaraderie and self-discovery that is uniquely present in the outdoors and I believe everyone should experience it. What we do is important, people-centered and will leave a lasting impact. I’m so excited to join Alaska Huts in its endeavors and look forward to the work ahead.
Sarah Zerkel is a former Huts Board Member who was so stoked on our mission, she joined our staff as Development Director!