Friday, October 23, 2009

Viva La bariloche!

Que Tal hombres?

Estoy en Bariloche, Argentina por los maises de Octubre y Noviembre!
The weather here is simply smashing (rainy, cold, snowy, amazingly spring!). I hope to upload some photo and video to showyou a bit of my encounters here :)

Meanwhile, I am taking Spanish lessons, about two times a week for two hours per session, and I am helping out around the NCOBS base here. Lucila, my boss is simply amazing. Actually, now that I think ofit, every single person I have met so far is ABSOLUTELY amazing. I have a bike to borrow to ride the several kilometers to my lessons, lvie near a bus stop on the outskirts of downtown, and I am really happy here right now. I hope, soon, to be able to type all of this in Spanish. I am attemptingto upload a video on to Facebook right now that shows you some of the high winds and snow, but ... alas, the internet esta no rapido. So, we'll see what I can whip up.

Hope you are well, I will also be thinking hard (hopefully without hurting anything), and posting to my other blog Gradus ad Conscientia. A Blog about education and expriential learning.

Chau chau for now y grande abrazos!


Monday, September 28, 2009

There are other summits the horizon now shows...

Hello all,

Broadcasting from Everglades City, Florida...

Kev here, and I will start off saying this is gonna be short. But, more to come without a doubt. So, am in pre-course prep at NCOBS for our International Leadership Semester. This means I am the Florida phase instructor who is doing most of our prep (packing out gear, food planning and packout, route selection, curriculum development, etc.) before the semester proctor, Calvin, arrives.

After my buddy Calvin shows up, wehave one day to meet up, hang out, chat and chill and organize what our course vision will look like. Sounds easy enough... perhaps? Then we expedition for two weeks, over 70 miles from the Southwestern tip of the Florida mainland northwesterly towards Everglades City. Good stuff..... We will then wrap up the Florida phase and fly south to Patagonia... Specifically, to Bariloche, Argentina where Calvin and the students will take it from there, mountaineering and Alpine climbing and such. I will be their logistics support and live at our basecamp there in Bariloche and re-ration their resupplies, climb in my off time, and attend Spanish classes.... with dreams of returning for more work (hopefully some Backpacking and Service courses we offer down there...)

That's the quick and skinny for now.... photos, stories, and aspirations to come- one of which? ..... (applying to Grad. school.......!!!)

Much love,


Monday, August 10, 2009

West Virginia Tomorrow!

I will be posting from West Virginia, Morgantown, The New, and other amazing places...

Climbing, catching up and hanging out to ensue...

Travelin' 'Round... I feel pretty lucky!

Hello out there!

Currently, I am visiting my folks in Northern Virginia... After some amazing catch-up time with friends and family I prepare to head to West Virginia. After that? I'll plan to head on back to Asheville for a day or two before I head to table Rock for more Fall work...

More stories of these antics to come...

And -- I have recently printed off the Blog title Photo- a picture I took in the Tetons around this time last year- I am trying to (slowly) get in to adventure photography... So, this is my first attempt. Why am I telling you this? Well, I hope to send out some postcards with the photo, so you can see my photography work in person and so I can send you a little "thinking of you" note.

So that's that. A lot of climbing to be had this Fall, and updates from Argentina will be on the nigh!

Much love,


p.s. here is a video of the Wood Brothers playing "Luckiest Man" one of my favorite groups right now with their catchiest song...

I heard of the Wood Brothers after being first introduced to Chris Wood's other trio: Medeski, martin, and Wood Shown here jamming hard in Vienna, playing one of my faves: Bubble House. BEWARE: This song gets a little "Free Jazz" for some...

John Medeski speaks at All Good Festival to Music for Democracy:

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Since I've Been Gone...
August 8, 2009


Wow, how fast has this summer flown by? Like watching sap drain from sugar pine? No... Like watching lichen grow on a rock face? No... Well, then how fast?! Super FAST, that's how fast...

Now that we've cleared that up, what have I been up to all this time? In case you're interested, I am about to tell you...

This Spring (2009), I instructed a 50-day Outdoor Leadership Course, and the duckies are flying high. 10 students... and many of them are now proud members of the Outdoor Education community after attaining their first major outdoor jobs since the OLC.

This late Spring was filled with time off after the OLC, our NCOBS All Staff get together, a trip to Vermont, and before all of that stuff, a trip to Seattle to visit my brother before his big move to Zurich, Switzerland. I even managed to recert my WFR (Wilderness First Responder) somewhere in there.

The summertime? Simple enough: 2 21-day courses back to back with 4 days off in between... These courses included backpacking, whitewater canoeing, and rock climbing (see paddling photos below). So literally, my summer was spent in the woods. I love this and also am experiencing a little "re-entry" to the rest of the world, a little bit. 6 weeks in the wilderness can make me feel like I missed a whole lot of worldy news, while at the same time living in the present moment so intensly while on course, that the students in front of me at the time, and their development is my world, making all of our global occurences less immediate. Intense.

Since my time off, I am currently in Manassas visiting my family for a few days... only to venture to West Virginia then ultimately back to NC for more NCOBS work! I was bouldering at Sportrock the other day and met some really nice people, one of which I will climb at Seneca Rocks with very soon, the other? I am going to try and put him in touch with my people at WVU- this young guy works at the Sportrock climbing gym, so i thought he'd naturally fit in at the WVU wall! And I digress....

I have actually started a whole other BLOG as well... it is titled: ...Gradus ad Conscientia... a blog that focuses only on education, community building topics and self-growth concepts. I will leave Summits Beyond for more personal updates and such... so if you are interested in the new blog (Gradus...), let me know and I can put you on an access list!

My Fall looks pretty fun. I plan to do lots of climbing, traveling, and some Course Directing for NCOBS. This basically means I supervise course quality through serving as a resource for unstructors and plan for behind the scenes logistical support, etc. to make 5-day Group Education courses happen.

For September, I will be in Florida as a phase instructor for our International Leadrship Semester which spells out 20 days in the everglades of south Florida...and after they are done in Florida, learning about Lake Okeechobee, the Shark River Slough, Tide Charts and maritime navigation, will escort the crew south, flying with them to Argentina!

I am so very excited at this privilege an opportunity to spend the month of mid-October/mid-November in Bariloche, Argentina as a volunteer at our base camp down there... more details on that story soon... until then? I will be updating Summits Beyond when I can. I look forward to hearing from you all soon, keep me updated on your lives too! I have many friends that I have been missing, and I look forward to your contact...



Kshon Summer/Fall update coming soon!

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's Almost Time Folks!

So, Team,

The time is now for me to send a little update... Lightning round stylee...


26-Jan 9: Was in Exmuas, Bahamas instructing an 8 -day Sea Kayak course. New Year's near Stocking Island was amazing! One of our student's, literally, found a message in a bottle... I saw my first water spout, in-person. Dark skies on te last night of course... "like, yikes Scooby!"...

Jan-February: Working in South Florida for NCOBS Sea Programs: 5 day "Group Education programs," working with local private schools, teacing about South Florida Ecology and local lore of Everglades City... what a wild, wild place... *** I will include photos below that depict some views of our EOBC (Everglades Outward Bound Center) Base camp living situation...

Feb-March: I was in Vermont for 1.5 weeks! I stayed with Jarod and Joanna, which was AMAZING. I met some of the most amazing people I have met in a really long time... good friends, beautiful people, I am excited to go back and visit soon! On my way up, I visited with Heather Rudzinski and Christa Ricker, two of my best friends in New Hampshire... I would have seen the one and only Brent Bell, but alas, time shall be on our side for the next passing... On my way down from, I stayed with the wonderful, amazing, ever-inspiring Jess Ross...... AMAZING TIMES!

I was also in West Virginia, visitng my "WV Family," lots of my friends from college were around so we went to my favorite eatin' spot- Black Bear Burritos... hung out on evening with Adventure West Virginia Leaders and spoke a bit about Environmental Interpretation... 'twas a good time, truly. All the while I stayed with my good friends Greg and EmilyCorio (They're having a baby in two months!!! WOOOOHOOOO!). Although it was sweet, it was also a very short visit. I look forward to more next time... Thanks Forrest, Nathan, Joe, Traci, Gin, Elaine, Jan, Carol, Stace, Tom, Greg and Emily and EVERYONE who came out - it was lovely to see you....

Then I spent about 5 days or so in Manassas, VA, my home town. It was there that I visited with both of my dear grandmothers. They are so sweet... I miss them a lot. My parents are doing really well also and it was so nice to see them... I do want to shout out to the Chamberlain Clan. I missed you all this time, butget ready, because in May? I am coming over! This time I hope there is a Molly and a Maggi and a Travis in the house!!!!!! :) And of course a Mr. and Mrs. C :) And cute doggie :) Lucy :) hehe..... she's so cute.

As for now? I am in "pre-course" planning for four days, before instructing my OLC: Outdor Leadership Course at NCOBS. a 50-day course designed to equip participants with the necessary skills to attain entry-level positions at outdoor education facilities around the industry. WFR, Group management, technical expedition skills and interpersonal processing/facilitation skills will be some of many foci for this course. It is truly an honor to be offered this opportunity, and I am ever-grateful for my school (NCOBS), my co-instructor, course director and the entire team that makes this thing happen... Thank you in advance for the next amazing 50 days... Here is a link to the course description from our website:

On this note, I WOULD LOVE TO RECEIVE MAIL FROM YOU! PLEASE! Letters in the field?! Oh my gosh, they really make my week/month... for serious.... :) so.... Please, you can send snail mail to:

Kevin Shon
c/o North Carolina Outward Bound
P.O. Box 279
Jonas Ridge, NC 28641

and larger packages should be sent to our town office address:

Kevin Shon
North Carolina Outward Bound
2582 Riceville Rd.
Asheville, NC 28805

Please, do send letters! ...50 days people!! That's a long time!

Okay... So, as promised... some Florida Pictures, and some Table Rock pictures- my mountains base camp:

Do you know Farlin Black? :)

This was my house this year- the upper left room....

This is one reason they call it "Sunset Island."

Josh Harris with his shoulder all laid up, but he still dances pretty seriously.... This is a room called the "Sinker" ...

Bern dogg- my buddy Bernie....shaken, not stirred....

"High School Dance" as perfomed by Mary McWay and John Porter :)

THIS is why we call it "Sunset Island"... dime a dozen around there.....

And now for Table Rock.......

Our Staff Lounge (above) and Hot Tub (smaller wood structure)

My humble little cabin for this year (door on the left) All by myself! Big old bed! Sweet!

My humble cabin (on left) from last year... I'll miss it but I need some "no-roomies" time for a summer...

My buddy, Clay, on his porch playing Harmonica-- he is our L5, or logistics specialist, level 5 -- aka Second in charge of makin' it all happen for Logistics support! (Big man on base camp) :)

The mighty Table Rock looms 400 in the air -- a view from my front porch... no leaves yet means yo can see the entire Eastern Ridgeline of the Lineville Gorge- where I live... Amazing!
Come visit!!! More photos and updates from the field to come!!!! :)

That's all for now..... much love,


Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Amos 5:24


Three very powerful letters, when strung together remind me of a figure so prominent, so strong in the movement of social justice. May we pay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute this day as we recognize our country has much work to do in the arena of equality. For, we live in a world of "...and justice for some." Let us also keep in the forefront of our minds that this man who created a movement across the world, and more specifically in our own country was murdered in cold blood simply because of his efforts to create equality among Americans. Yes, I will dwell on the macabre fact that someone pre-meditatively selected his or her own process for ending the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Someone consciously chose to end his life. It is easy to let this event stand in our minds- as an object of history, and difficult for this event to forever exist in our hearts. We are separated from the reality of it all when we make it so cerebral.

The reason I so intensely reinforce this otherwise disgusting and reprehensible act of power, of silencing someone to the ultimate degree, is so that we, with the privilege of not needing to remember this fact, will not possibly forget. Is your life really that affected by Martin Luther King Jr.'s death? Were you ever really effected by his life, by his movement? I do not ask these questions rhetorically. I ask them without judgement upon the reader.

What I mean is this: I know that as a white male, and a person of great privilege in this country, I probably could have gone on plain as day with or without MLK- white people never had to use a separate bathroom, or go to a different school, ... Please take careful note of my words - I am merely saying that the dominant culture defined the way we would function and Dr. MLK beautifully challenged that paradigm, that institution of whiteness is rightness and he did so with eloquence, with compassion, with tenacity and a loving spirit towards all. He was the definition of the term passive resistance. Compassionate.

I want to hold on to my anger, to my angst towards his death. Someone had to kill him just because. period. Possibly they felt threatened? Possibly they viewed the world as all backwards and therefore justified the means to the end (thus furthering White power across the world). I want to hold on to my anger for a moment because in can be easy to forget. With our fast paced world of technology and super high speed communication, facts can be lost, experiences not fully processed, and thus, the value of the past lessened and certainly not remembered...

It is too easy to merely put a date on a calendar and say woopdie doo- thanks for keepin' it real and fighting the good fight Mr. King. It's too easy for some. I don't want that. I want us to acknowledge the atrocity of his death - partially so that we may not ever see another. His movement must be continued and we must be ready to fight until we can accurately say "... and justice for all."

That is my soap box for now. if my comments are alarming, I would love to engage in meaningful conversation and clarify anything that is odd or off-putting. I write this with love... may he never be forgotten. May his movement live on. ... We have work to do.

Whew- I didn't even expect for that to come out! I was just going to shoot out a quick update since I have been awol for the long haul. Not really- I have just been way busy in the field, etc.

But here I am! I am here and excited to share my recent adventures! So here goes...:


I was on the Service Bus with NCOBS for 2.5 months. That was intense. for more on that check out

This involved driving in a Blue Bird mini-bus around the country doing many fulfilling service projects and climbing, paddling, and hanging out with 6 other folks... We met some amazing people along the way and I am excited to share more stories in person with folks.

After Service Bus? We ended up in the Everglades, where I attended "returning staff expedition" where we poled through the saw grass of the Shark River - literally following water flow from Army Corps of Engineers controlled canals through the National Park, out to Highland Beach and Pavilion Key and then back to base at Everglades City. What an adventure..... all of that in 5 days! Can you imagine? Photos to come...

After that expedition, I adventured to the Bahamas for a 7 day Sea Kayak course. Sadly, it was our last course down there for a while, meaning they have shut down the Bahamas operations until further notice, but we made the best of it and ended on a positive note!

Then I returned and had two days off and it was back to work! I just completed a 5 day canoeing expedition with students from Miami's Ransom of the Everglades Upper School. Great set of students, challenging weather (freezing temps at night, 15-20 kt. head winds, 100 meter mud slogs with fully loaded canoes and sloppy Everglades mud banks up to our knees!). The experience was phenomenal for our crew...

Which brings me to now -- where I have been given the privilege to co-Course Direct for the second phase of Ransom students here at the NCOBS OBEC )Outward Bound Everglades Center).

Lightning round... I know. More later- pictures to come. I miss all of you...

the tides of change are upon us. may we support our great country and pay our influential members due tribute.