Bill & Sharon Van Horn
Soon after moving to Franklin, N.C. in 2002, outdoor enthusiasts Bill and Sharon Van Horn joined the Nantahala Hiking Club (NHC), the A.T. maintaining club in their area. Avid hikers who are currently section hiking the Appalachian Trail, Bill and Sharon have also become active volunteers through NHC.
Bill and Sharon’s work for the A.T. includes Trail maintenance, ridgerunning and support for ATC’s Trail Crew program. Bill is also a NHC leader, now serving as President. One of their most important efforts, however, involves outreach to the next generation of A.T. volunteers.
Bill and Sharon led the development of two training programs for local teachers: Hiking 101, a course for gym teachers which covers hiking basics, and a course for teachers that provides guidance for using the A.T. to teach math, social studies, science and language arts. They have presented their workshop to teachers participating in A Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC), ATC’s professional development program for teachers, and served as resources for local TTEC teachers. NHC has formed a partnership with a local charter school that completed Bill and Sharon’s training programs. Through the partnership, students have sampled water quality on the A.T. and are now planning a hiking trail on the school grounds.
Bill and Sharon’s efforts help bring young people to the A.T. – as hikers and volunteers. As Bill says, “if we don’t go after the next generation, our work will all be for naught.” ATC thanks the Van Horns for planning for the future!