Professional Guides Instructors Teachers Outdoor Enthusiasts
Owner & Lead Guide of A Time To Keep
As owner of A Time To Keep, Yvonne strives to provide opportunities for the individual by constructing a framework of confidence, education and leadership into those who are pursuing outdoor adventure. Yvonne works hard at unfolding the hidden treasures of grace and beauty found within each person by awakening and strengthening ones positive awareness of self, creativity & knowledge. Yvonne loves outdoor adventure travel and is devoted to sharing it with others. In a comfortable atmosphere, her trips have the special potential to foster camaraderie, trust, artistry, freedom, team building, fellowship, fun and the learning of new skills. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve and teach others and is passionate about telling her story of her past experiences and knowledge to help other’s become courageous, self-reliant, and inspired to encounter and enjoy the splendor of the outdoors.
Yvonne began her own outdoor backpacking adventures nine years ago and within that time she has section hiked the beloved Appalachian Trail. Mainly as a solo female hiker she has gone on to also complete the Benton MacKaye Trail, Long Trail, Mountains to Sea Trail, Superior Hiking Trail, John Muir Trail and the southern portion of the Eastern Continental Trail (ECT) hiking from Key West in the Florida Keys to the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia. The ECT consists of the Florida Trail hiking through the Everglades and the Alabama and Georgia Pinhoti Trails. She has also completed the Knobstone Trail of Indiana, the Art Loeb Trail of NC and the Foothills Trail. Yvonne has backpacked many a mile on the Sheltowee Trace and the Buckeye Trail.
As a native of Dayton, Ohio her passion for the outdoors was developed through the Five Rivers MetroParks where she participated in hiking and backpacking excursions. A mother of three grown daughters and a grandmother of four grandchildren Yvonne takes great pleasure in nourishing those relationships. Active in her local church, leading small groups for women, mission trips to India and South Africa and being involved in the community, Yvonne is committed to helping others. She loves beaches, mountains, the sun in her face and a gentle breeze blowing through her hair. Yoga, TRX, reading, dancing, organizing, decorating, planning, cooking and loving life…Yvonne is an eclectic woman!
Yvonne is certified in CPR/AED, Wilderness First Aid and as a Wilderness First Responder. Currently she is taking a course to sharpen her knowledge as a naturalist and is a Leave No Trace Trainer. Yvonne has completed the Level I Wilderness Safety and Survival Course along with the Land Navigation Courses I & II through Nature Reliance School. Yvonne has worked side by side with Andy Niekamp, owner and Chief Adventure Officer of Outdoor Adventure Connection for several years and continues to lead women courses through his company. She provides presentations of her backcountry experiences for Girl Scouts, Women’s Clubs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Outdoor Enthusiast, Backpacker & Instructor
Karen is a mom, grandmother, and retired college professor, turned adventurer. Learning to backpack later in life inspired other outdoor activities. Karen bikes, hikes and recently became an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist where she volunteers, leading hikes in her hometown. She enjoys cross-cultural experiences and is a member of World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. She also volunteers her time as an assistant editor for the Antioch Review.
Karen has backpacked in several of our eastern states and is a section hikers of her states beloved, “Buckeye Trail”. This trail is the longest circular trail in the United States at 1,444 miles and she is enjoying every step of it!
Karen has her certificate as a Wilderness First Aid.
Her high spirited personality and her love of the outdoors is a contagious combination of qualities that will be a delight to all whom she encounters as she sparkles into the lives of others.
Explorer, Mountain Trekker & Guide
Varsi is the mother of two boys, wife to a twenty-seven year Air Force veteran, and an avid outdoor enthusiast. Her number one passion is hiking and outdoor exploring. She enjoys playing golf with her husband, snow skiing, kayaking and bike riding.
As a native New Englander, born in the Green Mountain state of Vermont, Varsi was introduced to the mountains at an early age but moved to the south as a young girl. It wasn’t until Varsi was married, in her forty’s and had crisscrossed the country living in multiple states that Varsi’s heart and boots found their way back to the mountains and trails. Varsi hikes daily and stays active with a local hiking group trekking the area’s metro parks as well as the many trails in Ohio’s state parks. Her love of hiking has taken her to beautiful regions within Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, Utah’s Zion and Bryce National Parks, as well as Vermont, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Washington and her personal favorite…New Hampshire’s White Mountains. She is currently striving to achieve summiting all of New Hampshire’s forty-eight 4,000 footers! Quite the accomplishment!
Exploring and adventuring started later in life for Varsi. She is determined to live life to it’s fullest and firmly believes…”It’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old.” Jules Renard
Gentle yet enthusiastic about life…Varsi’s joy and passion towards adventure, exploring and loving life…she brings a delightful blend of qualities to our company.
Backpacker, Leader in the hiking community & Guide
Ben thoroughly enjoys a fast paced trek in the woods. His love of backpacking lures him into the peaceful, less stressful, and more carefree environment that he finds in the realms of nature.
Ben has a goal and the desire to section hike the entire Appalachian Trail and he is well on his way in accomplishing that. From the Amicalola Approach Trail, the Roan Highlands in North Carolina, the Greyson Highlands, Tinker Cliffs and McAfee Knob of Virginia…these are just a few of his favorites!
Ben has also backpacked the Foothills Trail of North & South Carolina, and has hiked in some of the most beautiful areas in the surrounding states. The Red River Gorge of Kentucky, Hocking Hills of Ohio and the Knobstone Trail of Indiana. Ben is also an enthusiastic hiker for his own cities MetroParks and is a hike leader for many hiking groups.
Ben grew up exploring and appreciating the outdoors and has re-discovered his zeal for hiking all while experiencing the beauty of nature, the peacefulness it offers, and the adventure of it all.
His leadership qualities, his kind hearted approach and his zest for exploring, Ben brings to our company a wealth of fine character.
Owner & Instructor of Nature Reliance School
Craig began his outdoor experiences while growing up hunting, fishing, and playing in the woods of Kentucky. For over four decades he has actively pursued experiential knowledge of all things related to wilderness recreation and living.
Due to his love of history he has studied and trained in primitive skills, as well as modern methods to successfully challenge himself in the outdoors. He has taught Wilderness Safety and Survival and related topics in 10 U.S. states. During the most recent Wildlife Outdoor Conclave he taught Survival and Tracking to students from 13 universities in the Southeastern U.S.
He has also taught Wilderness Safety and Survival to Wilderness First Responders (emergency room physicians, medical flight personnel, medics, firefighters and more) at the Wilderness First Responders Annual Conference.
Craig brings years of experience, knowledge and leadership to our Women in the Wilderness, Survival Skills Course. Through his guiding and teaching, he will be providing a “hands on” experience for all, building confidence and awareness for all things pertaining to our survival in the backcountry.
Instructor, Artist & Teacher of Nature Reliance School
Jennifer has a BS in Education K-8 from Eastern Kentucky University. She has had a lifelong passion for artwork and has taught art in several area schools during her career. She is now leading the charge for the Nature Reliance School aggressive programs to combat “Nature Deficit Disorder” for youth. Now she is in the home stretch of homeschooling her two children for their entire K-12 careers, she is focusing much attention on developing the youth to nature programs for Nature Reliance School. This program has been taught in 5 different school systems at this point and is well on its way to helping school administrations meet their core objectives for national rank testing and helping kids learn and appreciate more about their natural world.
Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge to our women students…educating, sharing and guiding us to better understand the earth’s bountiful array of edible and medicinal plants.