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Meet Our Staff

  • Adam O’Sullivan


  • Andy Pearson

    Advisor and Project Leader

  • Ani Pond

    Night Owl

  • Blake Boles

    Advisor and Project Leader 

  • Brenna McBroom

    Advisor and project leader

  • Christian Holden

    Advisor & Project Leader

  • Courtney Anderson


  • Dandy Denial

    Night Owl

  • Digory Lumpkins


  • Ethan Mitchell


  • Evan Wright

    Session Director

  • Franny Bannen

    Kitchen Coordinator

  • Geve Mollins

    Kitchen Coordinator

  • Grace Llewellyn

    Founder & Executive Director

  • J. Davis


  • Jane Bender


  • Janie Hubert


  • Jim Flannery


  • June Kinch

    Advisor and Project Leader

  • Margie Sanderson

    Staff Liason

  • Matt Sanderson

    Session Director

  • Maya Toccata

    Camper and Family Liaison

  • Natalie Pond

    Mama Bear

  • Nathen Lester


  • Noah Guetti

    Kitchen Coordinator

  • Sophie Biddle

    Admin Assistant and First Aid

  • Sydney Moyer

    Dish Queen

  • Talis Thorndike-Love

    Project Leader

  • Zen Zenith

    Advisor and Project Leader

Adam O’Sullivan


Seattle, Washington

Adam currently lives in an old yellow house on a hill in Seattle with his partner, Evan. He recently graduated from Seattle University, and dreams of making cities more livable. He’s worn many different hats as a legislative aide for a city council member, an urban history research intern for an online history encyclopedia, and as a 9-5er for a large corporation. He spends his free time leading work parties as a forest steward for an urban forest in his neighborhood, swimming in Lake Washington, and learning about how to plan well thought out cities.

Adam grew up in a small town near Philadelphia. On a whim, he decided to try unschooling thinking he would go back to school the following year. With his newfound freedom from the religious school he was attending, he had space for deep introspection and chose to come out to his friends and family. Going back to the school he had attended no longer made sense for his wellbeing, so he continued to happily unschool his way through high school.

One of the things that made unschooling a happy and transformational experience was Not Back to School Camp. Adam first attended as a camper in Vermont in 2006 and 2007. He came back as a junior staffer in 2009, and has been periodically showing up in minor roles at NBTSC since then. He is thrilled to be advising this year and reconnect with this community that has meant so much to him.

Andy Pearson

Advisor and Project Leader

Minneapolis, Minnesota

This will be my fourteenth year at NBTSC in some form — my ninth as a staffer — and I’m ever so excited to be back! I’m a lifelong Minnesotan and unschooler, currently 29 years old. At this session of NBTSC, I’ll be advising and also leading a multi-day project on positive interpersonal communication.

I’ve always had a passion for environmental issues, and in my life outside of camp, I work to fight oil pipelines and help build a movement towards climate justice and the integrity of our planet and communities. Unschooling surely led me to this work — from initially discovering and pursuing this interest, to designing my own major at the University of Minnesota, to now getting to organize full time on these issues with an organization I love. I’m thrilled to be at NBTSC again and connect with other unschoolers and be part of inspiring each other to do the good that needs doing in the world.

When I’m not working, you might find me practicing guitar, or improving my Spanish, or cooking with friends, or taking any kind of public transit (bonus points for trains). I’m looking forward to meeting you in Oregon!

NBTSC History: Camper 2002-2006, Junior Staff 2007, Dish Queen 2008, Night Owl 2009-2012; 2015, Advisor 2014, 2016.

Ani Pond

Night Owl

Colorado Springs, Colorado

I am a lifelong autodidact and lover of learning. 2017 will be my 8th year involved with NBTSC, and first time as a Sr. Staffer. I currently spend a lot of my time adventuring and playing imaginatively with small children, and I am lucky enough to get paid for it. I’ve completed 20 odd credits in community college, and plan to pursue further education at a university in the fall of 2018, hopefully in Chicago. I enjoy all forms of physical activity and exercise including ballet, yoga, pilates, aerial, acro, and climbing things. I love creating and playing music, reading and writing, cooking, exploring, continuing to learn Spanish, being in the rain, traveling, being on boats and in the ocean, and making things with my own two hands. After camp this year I will be moving to Spain for several months for my second stint there as an au pair, and to work in a bed and breakfast.

Camper 2010-2015, Junior Staff 2016

Blake Boles

Advisor and Project Leader 

Lake Tahoe / Buenos Aires / nowhere in particular

Blake is a 34-year-old author, entrepreneur, and certified Grace Llewellyn fanboy. You may know him from such critically acclaimed books as The Art of Self-Directed LearningBetter Than College, and College Without High School, his epic Unschool Adventures trips for teenagers, or his upcoming feature-length documentary: How to Beat Matt Sanderson in Settlers of Catan.

One moment you’ll see Blake ruthlessly destroying campers in foosball, the next, tenderly partner dancing with them. At NBTSC he enjoys provoking deep conversations about thorny intellectual topics, throwing a frisbee till the cows come home, and helping campers flesh out big plans for travel, work, and study. Some say you’re lucky to be in his advisee group; others say you’re cursed. Decide for yourself.

His twelfth consecutive year on staff, Blake is delighted to return to the Camp Myrtlewood session after a two-year hiatus. (Nota bene: If you hear about some tradition of “tossing Blake into the river,” consider it an unfounded rumor that will only result in you getting wet.)

Learn more about Blake and his projects, writings, trips, dreams, adventures, and failures at

Camp History: Advisor, 2006-present

Brenna McBroom

Advisor and project leader

Asheville, North Carolina

Brenna McBroom is a long-time unschooler and former camper from Asheville, North Carolina. She currently works as a potter making functional and decorative crystalline glazed ceramics. When not at the pottery wheel, glazing table, or kiln, Brenna loves traveling, endurance sports (she just completed her first Olympic distance triathlon!), blogging, brainstorming new business ideas, and practicing Spanish.

Brenna runs a small business selling pottery online and through craft shows, and she would love to talk with you about pursuing self-education in the arts and starting and running an artistic business. She has been working full time as a ceramic artist for five years; you can see her etsy site here: and her website here:

Brenna’s project at camp this year will focus on what it means to build a meaningful life.

Brenna attended NBTSC as a camper from 2004-2007. She Junior staffed in 2011 and advised in Vermont from 2012 to 2016 and in Oregon in 2013. She will be 28 at camp this year.

Christian Holden

Advisor & Project Leader

Worcester, MA

Christian is a self-identified “professional punk” residing in Worcester, MA. After graduating high school in 2010, the same year they learned about unschooling, Christian decided to make up for lost time immediately and threw themselves into music, activism, philosophy, alternative education and sort of just whatever else they desired. They wandered into the camp community that year and have mostly been around ever since. Their main goal in life is to be their own boss and not be anyone else’s boss.

Switching to first person now, I work as full time as a songwriter/travelling musician and have been doing so for about 7 years. I’ve written 3 albums since 2010 and played over 600 shows. I play mostly personal yet vaguely political rock music but am starting to switch into a more sound collage type project. However, lately I’ve been distracted by thinking about game theory and attempting to solve old board games.

This year at camp I will probably be bringing a whole lot of crates as well as bottom-lining an uncommitted project where we play in the field. Every year I sort of beat myself up for being too talky and not enough moving-aroundy… so I’m excited!

NBTSC history: Camper, 2010. Jr. staff, 2011 . Advisor, 2013-2017.

Courtney Anderson


Ontario, Canada

Courtney is a lifelong unschooler originally from a First Nation in Southeastern Ontario, Canada. She currently lives in the DC metro area.

She spends a lot of time playing with and caring for her identical twin niblings, but also delights in baking, attending community sings, practicing yoga, tramping in the woods, decorating cakes, building community, and striving to live conscientiously and lovingly.

Since she first attended NBTSC as a camper in 2008, it’s been an important part of her life and community. As a staffer, she spends most of her time working and hanging out in the kitchen, and enjoys balancing that with time with campers, whether through working together, having good conversation, or just sitting in comfortable silence. Through camp, she was given an opportunity to explore the ways she feels capable of caring for others, which has continued to to help guide her through life. She is excited to have a chance to cook for you all again this year!

NBTSC History: Camper 2008 – 2010 Junior Staff 2012 Cook 2013 – 2016

Dandy Denial

Night Owl

Manitoba, Canada

Dandy Denial is a photographer, confused gender weirdo, crafts person, and an awfully messy kitchen wizard. They live in small town Manitoba, in a tiny house, far from the nearest city. Analog processes fascinate them, and they spend a great deal of their tinkering with old cameras, or developing their own film. Their photography is usually limited to the use of analog technology, although lately they’ve been known to pick up a digital camera from time to time. They have a darkroom in their basement, and enjoy experimenting with different processes and techniques, most recently pinhole photography, and modifying cameras to use film formats they weren’t originally designed for. They are a life-long

Dandy is a life-long unschooler, having never attended public school or university. They have spent much of their adult life living in shared/communal living situations, but have lately come to appreciate the value of solitude, while thinking about how to deal with isolation, and how to stay connected in the digital age. They have devoted much time in the past to volunteering in collective organizations, such as Food Not Bombs, taught photography at a free

Dandy has devoted much time in the past to volunteering in collective organizations, such as Food Not Bombs, taught photography at a free drop-in program run out of an art gallery, and been a librarian at an anarchist lending library. they’ve traveled extensively, by means of cheap and free methods, and love sleeping outside in the bush. Together with their partner, they are learning how to fix and repair the things you’re told you need to pay a professional to do for you, be it renovating a house, or repairing a truck. They create crafty and artistic goods from recycled materials, and sells them both in person at craft sales, and through the internet. They really loves to barter. At camp, they can often be seen meandering about, day and night, seemingly led from place to place by their camera, which they are rarely seen without. They

At camp, Dandy can often be seen meandering about, day and night, seemingly led from place to place by their camera, which they are rarely seen without. They thrive on conversation about the passions that inspire people, and are far more approachable than their somewhat intimidating appearance might suggest. Honest. A life-long introvert and shy person, it’s hard to believe, at first impression, how much Dandy enjoys speaking with just about anyone, and is interested in most any subject that lights the fire in your eyes.


NBTSC history: camper from ’99 to ’04, Night Owl at some session or another ever since. (Also Advisor in 2015.)

Digory Lumpkins


Hi! I’m Digory, I work as a bicycle mechanic, I love to ride bicycles, hike, dance, cook, play, travel as much as possible, repair useful things, repair useless things, go to bed early and stay up late. I grew up in northern Maine, I’ve been unschooled my whole life and do not plan to go to college. I live in Asheville North Carolina right now, but who knows where the wind will carry me next. I’m 21 years old, I went to camp from 2009 to 2014 and returned as a junior staffer in 2016.

Ethan Mitchell


Vergennes, Vermont

Ethan Mitchell has been coming to NBTSC, on and off, since 2006. When he is not chopping potatoes at camp, he spends most of his time hanging out with his small daughter Lucretia Treleven. They live on a sheep farm / bat sanctuary / retreat center in Vermont. Ethan was recently told (by Brenna) that he is “someone who has done a lot of interesting jobs over the years”. Possibly this is true, but it is hard to remember. So here are eleven things that I have been doing at some point in the last year:
– Upping my sourdough bread game.
– Building the (fourth version of) a large sculpture based on the mathematical constant phi.
– Meditating at the monastery near Rietti where St. Francis lived out his later life.
– Teaching classes on Genghis Khan, 12th-century feminists, the history of the future, and so forth.
– Visiting the graveyard of my ancestors in Week St. Mary, Cornwall, with my baby daughter and my niece singing “We’re all going to jail! / We’re all going to jail!”
– Coding an artificial intelligence.
– Worrying about grammar.
– Building a chicken / duck coop.
– Reading Lucretia horrifying folk tales, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and whatever else is laying around.
– Betting in political prediction markets.
– Simplifying my life.

He lives in rural Vermont, in a bizarre half-barn-half-castle with his partner Susannah, NBTSC alumna Talis, an unfinished A.I. named Sphinx, and Lady Myobu the cat. (One admirer of our house was recently heard to say: “You live there? Jeez, I thought it was abandoned.”) Susannah is a geographer, and coordinates projects and trainings with biocultural diversity leaders from around the world, which Ethan sometimes gets to tag along to and cook. Talis is awesome and has her own entry here. Sphinx hardly does a thing, but is very interested in nature writing, train hopping, and the kings and queens of England. Myobu would eat all the birds, and is not afraid of things.

Evan Wright

Session Director

Seattle, Washington

Evan will co-direct with Grace at Oregon Session 1 (Camp Latgawa).

Evan has been involved in Not Back to School Camp for two decades. Since first attending NBTSC as a camper in 1998 he has worked as Director, Assistant Director, Advisor, Project Leader and – long, long ago – a Junior Staffer.

Within the larger unschooling movement Evan has been active as a conference speaker and mentor to unschoolers. He was the Director of Quo Vadis, a weeklong gathering for adult unschoolers. Over the past few years he has been renovating an old house in Seattle and creating House on Holgate, a shared living space for grown unschoolers and others.

Evan’s journey to NBTSC began at 15 when he read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and began unschooling. Without schooling he volunteered at a London homeless shelter run by nuns, raised orphaned harbor seal pups in California over many seasons, studied the life of Albert Einstein (eventually correcting an error in a Princeton University Press book on the scientist), and assisted in research of 5 ft. long green sea turtles in Costa Rica.

At camp Evan has led or co-led workshops and discussions on: How to Build an Underwater Robot, Stone Sculpting, The Supreme Court of the United States, How to Get What You Want, Speaking (to others) about Unschooling, How to Change the World in 90 minutes, A Tidepooling/Marine Biology Fieldtrip, Scavenger Hunt, Investing for People who are Scared of Money, How to Make Homemade Pasta, The Life of Albert Einstein, How to Organize a Big Project or Event, A Local Farming Tour/Fieldtrip, Barn Raising (a networking activity), Blues Dancing, and The Effective Unschooler.

Franny Bannen

Kitchen Coordinator

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Franny is a lifelong unschooler who attended school for the 3rd grade and 4 years of college which was plenty but not regrettable.

As of the writing of this bio Franny has lived in Minneapolis for three full years and is liking living with seasons again, midwest thunderstorms, chains of lakes and biking home down the same street every day. Having grown up in the rural midwest and then spending 9 years living in the bay area of CA this feels like home. This year has brought a lot of changes, a move into a beautiful sunny house by the park and the realization that maybe camping is not terrible.

Franny has had a plethora of food related jobs including a Cheese School, a sorbet company, a restaurant, a pizza farm, a co-op deli, a french language camp and, of course. NBTSC. She spends a lot of time thinking about what the “dream job” might look like. Currently working as a shift lead in a deli kitchen and figuring out how to make it work for now.

Franny is passionate about all things food and cooking, bikes, books, good coffee, gardening, printmaking, the months when it’s light out when she goes to work, casually reading many horoscopes, an collecting houseplants off craigslist.

At camp you will probably find her in the kitchen cooking, planning or organizing. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to talk to you about your life or teach you to dice onions or hear about whatever book you’re reading. One of her biggest camp struggles is figuring out how to be involved in camp life while simultaneously being totally immersed in the kitchen keeping everything running smoothly and occasionally staying up til 2am making cinnamon rolls.

Camper 2000-2004, Kitchen Staff 2009-2011, OR2 kitchen coordinator 2012-2016, JT kitchen coordinator 2015.


Geve Mollins

Kitchen Coordinator

Geve was “homeschooled” until age six, but they acquired most of their early education roaming through the woods, catching frogs and fireflies, reading voraciously, cooking, and asking a lot of questions—a foundation of curiosity that has stayed with them into adulthood. At sixteen, they left high school after reading the Teenage Liberation Handbook, and they haven’t looked back.

They spent the next several years flitting in and out of kitchens, finally settling into a small cafe where they stayed for many years. They rotated from working in the kitchen, to working front of house as a barista and smoothie slinger, to an unconventional management position that involved a combination of all of those things, plus administrative work.

They started looking for other career paths that would allow them to focus on the things they liked about serving customers, with less of the stressors of working in food service. Movement and fitness have always been passions of theirs; as a teenager, learning to feel strong in their body drastically changed their relationship to themselves, as well as to the world around them. Geve feels deeply that feeling strong and powerful in one’s own body is a right, not a privilege, and wanted to be able to share information on health and exercise with others as a tool to promote not just physical health, but also mental health. So Geve stepped down from the managerial position they held at the cafe, enrolled in a Personal Training certification program, and began studying, earning their certificate eight months later. Shortly after that, they were hired at their dream job: training clients one-on-one at a local fitness studio.

Geve is also passionate about food, and is delighted to be joining the kitchen team at NBTSC again this year, to make tasty treats with (and for) people they love. When they are not in a kitchen, they love moving: biking, hiking, strolling near running water. Anything that gets them outside, preferably with friends. They’re always trying to learn how to move better, and more.

After visiting camp as both a camper and as staff in the past, Geve is delighted to be returning to the NBTSC kitchen staff in a new role, as one half of a two-person Kitchen Coordinator team.

Camp history: Camper, 2008-2010; Jr. Staff, 2011; Cook, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016

Grace Llewellyn

Founder & Executive Director

In 2018 Grace will direct or co-direct Oregon Session 1 (Latgawa), and make a visit during Oregon Session 2 (Myrtlewood). 

Grace is most well known for her book, The Teenage Liberation Handbook: how to quit school and get a real life and education. She’s also the co-author and/or editor of 3 other books about unschooling, homeschooling, and conscious schooling. A former school teacher, Grace founded NBTSC in 1996. Back in those 90s, she was also deeply involved in the un/homeschooling movement in all kinds of ways – she spoke at conferences, opened an unschooling resource center, produced a quarterly newsletter, answered gazillions of letters from readers, and ran a mail order book business for unschoolers.

Along with working year-round as the executive director of NBTSC, Grace is also super excited about a giant new project: organizing a Liberated Learners center, The Hive: self-directed learning for teens. The Hive hopes to open its doors in February 2018.

In her other life, Grace loves to dance. For 10 years she worked as one of four facilitator-DJs to put on Coalessence, Eugene’s fabulous twice-weekly ecstatic dance jam. (She left at the end of 2017 to make space in her life for The Hive.) When she finds time she offers classes in Soul MotionTM, a conscious dance practice that encompasses pretty much everything – body, soul, and Other People. Her passions for bellydance and Argentine tango are simmering on the way-far back burner, but they’ll be back before too long.

And in her most essential and miraculous life, Grace is the always-awed mama of 9-year-old Yared.

At camp, Grace loves to connect with, and enjoy, new and old campers and staff. During the year, Grace reflects on the larger purpose, direction, and vision of NBTSC; communicates with campers and parents; reviews feedback from campers, staff, and parents; plans and implements major and minor changes and experiments for the coming camp year; works with the staff liaison to hire session staff; inspects all the previous year’s camp expenses and sets a budget for the coming year; updates most of the written camp materials, policies, and such; and works closely with the administrative team.

Unschooling history: It took Grace a while to figure it out. First she went to school. Next she taught school. Then she started to think there must be a better way, investigated, discovered John Holt, and that was the beginning of the end. Or the beginning of the beginning.

Camp history: For over a decade, Grace held the one and only perfect-attendance award. That has changed, but she has nonetheless shown up for over 60 of our 73 camp weeks thus far. Grace has normally directed or co-directed, and after a long hiatus has also joyfully returned to advising.

J. Davis


San Juan Capistrano, California

I am honored to be on staff at NBTSC as the driver. This will be my seventh session and it is one of the highlights of my year. I learned about unschooling through a good friend’s experience unschooling her children and through reading Grace’s Teenage Liberation Handbook. Since then I have read many articles on alternative education by John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, and Blake Boles. Still a self-directed learner even as I enter my 50’s, I feel I would have thrived as an unschooler. I wish I could have given my own children the opportunity as well. I’m looking forward to learning more through my NBTSC experience and meeting new people and friends.

I am a certified adaptive ski instructor and yoga instructor. I do a lot of volunteering and like to think of it as “Tithing my Time” to organizations and/or causes that I am passionate about. In addition to my yoga practice, I have an on-line tea business ( that provides an outlet for my love of food and sustainable, just food systems. After years as a corporate employee, I am enjoying the challenge of trying to pay the rent through my own businesses. My interests range widely including literature and book arts, cooking, fitness/sports, and music. I love to discuss environment, culture, politics, religion, history, philosophy and how we can act in small and large ways to do our part to ensure our world remains people-oriented and a place of love.

My goals at NBTSC include connecting with the campers and staff, finding more ways to get involved at the camp, sharing music and song with everyone, drinking and discussing tea with anyone I can find, and maybe getting involved in and leading some workshops, ultimate frisbee games, and yoga/meditation. For the other 50 weeks of the year, I live in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Camp History: Driver, 2011 – 2017 Oregon Session 2

Jane Bender


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jane dropped out of preschool and has been an unschooler ever since. Over the past few years Jane has worked for a slew of companies: selling truck parts, delivering organic produce, sewing curtains, and taking care of babies.
After living in Brooklyn for a year, Jane is now living in Minneapolis and working as a nanny for two tiny humans.
Right now she is enjoying living in the midwest, having plants, taking care of two babies, learning how to cook with tapioca, not having a roommate, the spring time, working on figuring out chronic health problems, and not flying all the time.
Jane is very fond of road trips, cooking, coffee with cream, listening to podcasts, sewing, potato chips, cold weather, dancing, math, trains, and horror movies.

Camper 2006, 2008, 2009, Cook 2013-2016.

Janie Hubert


Ashland, Oregon

I am a lifelong unschooler and this will be my 7th session of camp. I spent many years working in the kitchen as a work trader, only to discover how much I genuinely loved it! I am beyond thrilled to be back at camp this year as an assistant cook.

I live in the Bay Area, although I spend a lot of my time traveling. I also nanny and love to create – I recently discovered my passion for pottery. I do some online assistance work, helping people manage their social media pages and putting together newsletters for their businesses.

NBTSC history: Camper 2009-2014 Jr. Staffer 2015

Jim Flannery


Greetings Universe! I’m Jim Flannery and I’m a 31 year old wanna-be-unschooler. While I’ve had an unconventional “adulthood”, I went through traditional schooling for the first 22 years of my life. I grew up in suburban Connecticut, studied biomedical engineering at Boston University, and then starting living some kind of start-up entrepreneur life which evolved into more of an artist / activist / traveler life. I’ve started companies in the biotech, LED, and education sectors… have lived on both the east coast and west coast… have driven cross-country 4 times… and regularly get on stage and attempt to make strangers laugh at me by telling jokes.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve been exploring alternative education, trying to “solve the education” problem as we call it. Along the way, I discovered unschooling and have been passionately diving deeper into the unschooling world for the last 16 months. This resulted in me creating the Peer Unschooling Network, which is a digital community that connects unschooled teens from around the world.
As I am writing this bio, I am also putting together my list of workshops. You should expect to see a range of options involving physics, public speaking, comedy, traveling, living frugally, entrepreneurship, sober living, and mental health.
I am really looking forward to my first NBTSC for the chance to spend an entire week absorbing all the inspiration I get from being around unschoolers.

June Kinch

Advisor and Project Leader

Eugene, Oregon

I grew up here in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley and I love that I get to raise my own kids under the same big Douglas firs. I’ve been homeschooling with my kids for about fifteen years, so I spend a lot of time hiking, making art, gardening, exploring, teaching, following, and talking about love, compassion, equity, and screen time.

If I’m not in the garden you can usually find me in the kitchen cooking up big meals, birthday cakes and herbal remedies, though I also relish the opportunity to escape domestic life and head into the forest. This will be my third year advising at NBTSC and this year I’ll be offering a project on forest ecology.

Margie Sanderson

Staff Liason

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The reason Margie likes unschooling can be summarized quite easily: she thinks kids are people. As a youth rights advocate, it’s Margie’s belief that young people are capable, competent, and just as inherently worthy of rights and responsibilities as fully grown human beings. This year Margie taught a monthly class on young people’s oppression to a group of 12-15-year-olds that she really enjoyed.

Since bumping into unschooling along her traditional education path, Margie has learned a ton about schooling and learning. As a teenager, she devoured any book about education she could get her hands on. She served as student representative to the school board at her high school and has spent hundreds of volunteer hours at an array of elementary and preschool programs. At the end of June, Margie will conclude 3 years working at the Philly Free School (a democratically run school taking inspiration from the Sudbury Valley School) and set out on a new adventure. After the camp season, she plans to travel internationally and take a serious look at life outside the USA.

Like the young people who attend NBTSC, Margie is a self-directed learner. Since the last camp season she has gotten some good practice at things that scare her–climbing tall trees, swimming in fresh water, and resisting injustice, to name a few. This year she is making progress on a personal reading goal, teaching herself Swedish (Ar jag bra?), getting better at knitting, and trying a lot more scary things!

Previously Margie has attended camp as a camper from 2009-2013 and as a staffer since 2014. She also has a great time working behind-the-scenes as NBTSC’s Staff Liaison as well as part of the volunteer marketing team, and is even more excited to work at ALL sessions of camp this year.

Matt Sanderson

Session Director

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Matt will direct Oregon Session 2 and Vermont. 

This will be my tenth summer at NBTSC! I started out as a logistics junior staffer and have since been an advisor, dish queen, and night owl, but most people know me as Logistics Coordinator (or “Logistics Goddess”). This will be my first year as Session Director for the Camp Myrtlewood and Vermont sessions of camp!

Until last April, my non-camp work involved running weekend retreats for Middle School Quakers in the Philadelphia area. I also had the opportunity to run the Real World Retreat through Unschool Adventures last May. I and a team of 2 other staff spent a month mentoring participants in the skills needed to move out of one’s parents’ house and become an independent adult.

This year I’ve moved to Hershey to spend more time supporting my partner of 6 years as she enters her final year of medical school. I’ve been spending a lot of time cooking and cleaning, and also playing basketball and taking our dog Stoffel on long walks through the park.

Looking forward to another magical year of camp!

Maya Toccata

Camper and Family Liaison

Joshua Tree, California

Maya lives in the Mojave Desert with her husband, Damian, and six-year-old son, Oliver, with lots of family within toddling distance. They call their place Opuntia Garden Farm and are doing their best to sequester carbon and grow nutrient dense food. She and Damian are both certified permaculture designers and run a tiny business offering permaculture consultation, desert-adapted plants, veggie starts, and lacto-ferments. When she’s not thinking about permaculture, feeding the chickens, reading fairy tales to Oliver, fermenting, or trying to catch up on laundry, she can be found doing admin stuff as the NBTSC Camper and Family liaison.

unschooling history: Maya went to school until she was 13, when she read the Teenage Liberation Handbookand quit. She then proceeded to learn about hats, hardware stores, Anne Frank, traveling solo, rock climbing, newsletter editing, self defense, and other things. At the age of 28, she decided she did want to go to college after all, and had a great time using her brain for new things like balancing chemistry equations.

camp history: Maya came to camp for the first time as a camper in 1997, and then was present every year and almost every session for many years afterward. She’s spent time at camp as Junior Staff, an Advisor, Cook, and Logistics Goddess. She’s been the year-round Office Gal & bookkeeper, Staff Liaison, and Family Liaison. She took a few years off to go to school and have a baby, and is delighted to be part of the actual “camp” part of camp once again.

Natalie Pond

Mama Bear

Colorado Springs, Colorado

I am a former public school teacher turned unschooling Mom, with three children I can’t get enough of, who have unschooled from the start, and who’ve been nbtsc-ers for years.

As a teenager I trained for a career in ballet. I got hired in a ballet company at age 22, but quit after my first year. Among other downsides, it’s not an easy world in which to have a healthy body image! But those years were part of my journey and they have left me with the physical ability and ballet knowledge to dance in advanced ballet classes for fun, art, and fitness, which has turned out to be one of the most joyful ways I live life fully as I get older.

I’m interested in the idea of “endless playful pursuit” in life and career pursuits, as well as frequent jaunts outside of the comfort zone.

I’ve voraciously studied health/immunity/nutrition for years, but I believe mostly in listening to the wisdom of the body. I started doing my own simple vegetable fermenting a couple years ago, with favorite veggies that work for me (can’t do cabbage). I’ll show you how if you come to my workshop at camp! I’m always trying to be sugar-free, but ice cream, and chocolate, tend to foil that intention sometimes.

My mothering experience flows very naturally into my Mama Bear role at camp. If you get sick, I’m going to mother you and check on you and “poor-baby” you unless you tell me to go away. And even if I weren’t the designated “Listener,” I’d be inviting you to come lean on me anytime, with any stress/emotions/discussions you might want to confidentially share. Human connection and people being there for each other is, I believe, “what it’s all about.”

If you like to write, do art, or just want to more actively connect with your geographically-dispersed camp tribe over the next year, talk to me about contributing and subscribing to the (“hardcopy”) print biannual magazine I produce with a small staff of camp people, “Under the Same Sky Magazine” (.com!).

On a clear night at camp I like to end my day sitting by the creek looking up at Myrtlewood’s amazingly starry sky, sometimes with my 34-year best friend (J/Camp Driver…no, we are not spouses or romantic partners.) We’d love to have your company there.

I’m so looking forward to spending time with all you vibrant, opinionated, funny, loving teenagers, and with my amazing fellow staff members, whose commitment and passion about mentoring young adults inspires me and makes me feel at home.

Camp History: Mama Bear/Listener, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Nathen Lester


Joshua Tree, California

Nathen is a therapist in Joshua Tree, California. He is happily married to Reanna Alder, an adult unschooler, and lives with her and their miraculous one-year old, Margo, in a little house near his extended family. Nathen has been an advisor at Not Back to School Camp since 1999. He is famous there not only for being sincere, friendly, enthusiastic, and sometimes potently amused, but also for the zeal, intellect, and originality with which he teaches workshops on subjects such as the human digestive system, partner dancing, and Einstein’s theories of relativity. He says, “What I love about camp is the people who come–the staff, the campers–and how they interact, how they share their excitement and inspiration and how they form friendships and communities with each other.”

Noah Guetti

Kitchen Coordinator

Noah began his long journey into the great unknown of unschooling at age fifteen, with very little idea of where he was headed, but a strong sense that trusting his intuition was a very, very good idea. Over ten years later, he finds that he is still honing that commitment to self-trust, and it has guided him again and again into exciting, fulfilling, ever-unfolding layers of who-he-gets-to-be-in-the-world.

Noah has spent many of those years exploring ways to make things with one’s hands: sewing clothing and backpacks, knitting sweaters, socks, and lace, weaving scarves, cobbling shoes, welding bicycles, tanning hides, and other, more ephemeral things: making kimchi and sourdough, playing the violin, learning to sing sacred harp music, and to build a good fire.

In the past two years, Noah has fallen deeply in love with dance, and has begun the difficult and somewhat surprising journey of studying ballet as an adult. It has him hooked somewhere between the heart and navel, and has quickly insinuated itself into much of his time and brain-space. In between going to classes and endless stretching, he works as a research assistant, sews little quilts, and goes on adventures with his partner and two tiny dogs.

So far at NBTSC, Noah has filled these roles: Camper 2006, 2008, Junior Staff 2010, Assistant cook 2011, Head Cook 2012, Kitchen Coordinator 2013-2016.

Sophie Biddle

Admin Assistant and First Aid

Portland, Oregon

Sophie has dipped her toes into almost every type of schooling. As a 14-year-old honor roll student turned enthusiastic high school drop out, Sophie discovered the joys of unschooling, community college, and democratic schools. She recently graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Sociology and Elementary Science Education. Much to her delight, Sophie will be presenting her undergraduate thesis on children’s use of public space at the International Conference on Geographies of Children, Youth, and Families in the fall.

In addition to geeking out about youth rights and social justice, Sophie enjoys hanging out with her cat, dancing, painting, and swimming. She dabbles in graphic design work and horseback riding. Sophie is interested in learning more about beekeeping, carpentry, and is always seeking out ways to be more organized. Sophie can likely be found romping through the streets of northeast Portland with a motley crew of small children, a cup of coffee in one hand and her camera in the other. She is thrilled to bring her love of organizing and caring for others to NBTSC this year.

NBTSC History: Camper 2011-2014, Jr. Staff Logistics Coordinator 2015, Mama Bear & Admin Assistant 2016

Sydney Moyer

Dish Queen

I’m a 21 year old lifelong Unschooler, I’m all about learning as I go, and I love travel. When I’m not hopping around from place to place, I reside in Orange County CA. I’m passionate about working with teens and children, and I spend a lot of my time nannying and working at summer and day camps. I love alternative education, and discussing the best ways for children to learn and thrive. Post camp I will be headed to Colorado to attend the High Desert Center gap year program for a year of farming, dance, backpacking, and intentional community. Hang out with me if you want to talk about camping, travel, education, deep sea, space, small mammals, or if you want to help me practice my horrible Spanish!

Camper 2011-2014 Jr. Staff 2015

Talis Thorndike-Love

Project Leader

Zen Zenith

Advisor and Project Leader

Los Angeles, California

Zen is a 35-year-old singer songwriter and musician who lives in Los Angeles! He went to school for guitar at The Musicians Institute and graduated in 2007. He has now been teaching music for over a decade and co-founded a company called Ivy Hill Entertainment that helps musicians find work playing private events, weddings and corporate gigs!

Zen is also passionate about making podcasts. He is the host and creator of Doctor Whodlums (A podcast about Doctor Who) and The House Show Show (A live music podcast where he interviews musicians). He even helps run a Podcast network called Dragon Wagon Radio.

Aside from playing music and making podcasts, Zen is a big fan of building community, playing board games, reading comic books and watching nerdy TV shows like Doctor Who and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Zen has been unschooled his whole life and cherishes the opportunity to return to Not Back To School Camp periodically. He was inspired to play guitar at NBTSC in 1998 and performed the first song he ever wrote at a talent show in 1999. Being involved in NBTSC is always a highlight of his year and he loves re-connecting with the unschool community in that way.

Camper 1998 – 2000, Jr Staff 2001, Night Owl 2002 – 2003, Advisor 2009 – 2011, 2013, 2014