About Us

Our Mission

Through education, demonstration, and community exchange, Rising Appalachia supports a regional culture based on sustainable natural resources providing for economic activity, collective needs, and individual health and enjoyment.

Our Vision

A sustainable economic and social ecosystem, uniting and engaging the regional community around a desire to live more connected and meaningful lives. 

Responsible Sourcing Statement

To ensure that the economic impact of Rising Appalachia is to the benefit of the community of Athens and surrounding counties, we do our best to source supplies and equipment locally.

Who We Are 

Weston Lombard - Executive Director 

Weston Lombard is a co-founder of Rising Appalachia and served as the Executive Director for the first 5 years of the camp before transitioning to his role as Board President. After several years away from camp to focus on growing the new place-based elementary school, Solid Ground School, he is happy to return to his role as Director of Rising Appalachia. Weston is also the owner of Solid Ground Farm, the sustainable farm and education center where RAW Camp began. From the farm, he currently teaches eco-entrepreneurship and agroforestry to youth, college students, and anyone that will listen.  Weston is passionate about trees and believes that engaging youth with the outdoors in meaningful ways is the best path to a sustainable future and an enjoyable present.

Board of Directors 

Carrie Vieland - Board Member

Carrie Vieland is the former Executive Director of Rising Appalachia and now the Environmental Education Program Manager for Rural Action. She is an Athens native, raised by the woods in Shade, Ohio. Carrie has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in Outdoor Recreation and Education with a minor in Environmental Studies. She recently received her master’s degree in Recreation and Sport Sciences, also at Ohio University. Carrie discovered her love for outdoor education as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Rural Action Environmental Education program in 2012, then honed her skills as an educator at the Nuhop Center in Asheville, Ohio. She has worked a skills specialist for Ohio Military Teen Adventure Camps and spent 2 summers as a trip leader for the adventure travel company Backroads. Carrie is passionate about fostering connections to the natural world in children, rock climbing and exploring the wonders of our beautiful planet!

Brian Bors - Board Member

Brian Bors joined the board of Rising Appalachia in 2015, when it was founded. Brian was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, but moved to Athens in 2006 to pursue a degree in philosophy from Ohio University. However, rethinking his high mindedness, he switched his major and received his bachelors in social work in 2011. Since graduation, he has worked as a licensed social worker in various capacities, including housing, residential treatment, and home based family therapy. In 2017, Brian received his masters in social work from Simmons College in Massachusetts. Currently, he works as an independently licensed social worker in a youth residential treatment center and as a therapist in private practice. He spends his time exploring music, contemplating existence, riding bikes, and reading. 

Lara Wallace - Board Member

Lara Wallace, PhD, joined the board of Rising Appalachia in 2021 and has been an engaged parent of campers since around 2016. She is the founder and owner of English for Sustainability, LLC, which helps professionals from around the world in sustainability-oriented industries to speak English more effectively and confidently. Before that, she worked as faculty at Ohio University beginning in 2004, ending her career there as Senior Professor of Instruction in the Academic and Global Communication program in Ohio University's Department of Linguistics. A strong advocate for education and cross-cultural understanding, she earned her doctorate in Cultural Studies in Education and speaks multiple languages. Her pastimes include photographing the beauty of the natural world and sharing its wonders with her twin daughters.

Stephanie Campsey - Member

Stephanie Campsey has lived in Athens for the majority of the past 14 years. She has 3 wonderful boys who are quite the veterans to RAW camp. Stephanie has always been very drawn to nature and all it has to offer including the use of survival skills. She has a bachelors in Biology from Ohio Dominican and has worked in kidney dialysis for over 20 years.

Last Year's Summer Camp Staff 

Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis is a counselor joining Rising Appalachia for her first year! She was raised in Wooster, Ohio and graduated from Wooster High school in 2019. She is currently attending Ohio University in her third year studying field ecology and environmental science. She has spent her past summers as a life guard and as a camp counselor for the YMCA of Wooster. She intends to work in the field of biofuels with algae, as well as become involved in restoration and conservation of water. Fionas favorite activities are documenting wild flowers and painting. 

Zach McGinty

This is Zach McGinty’s first summer with RAW. He grew up in Lebanon, OH spending his summers at camp. He is a student at OU, studying Outdoor Recreation & Education, Recreation Management, and a minor in Business. His camp song of choice is the three bears. Zach picked up his passion of working in outdoor recreation at Cal-Wood Education Center in the Colorado front range near Boulder, CO. He spent two summers at Cal-Wood, as well as some time working for the childcare program at the Athens Community Center. Most recently, Zach was a ski instructor in Winter Park, CO. Down the road, Zach's big dream is to be a summer camp director, or to have a big boy job at a ski area. 

Ellie Berkhouse 

Ellie is new to Athens after transferring to Ohio University this past fall. Since being here she’s been enjoying  the unfamiliar and looking for opportunities to enjoy Athens' local resources. Ellie loves her collection of funny earrings, skating on the bike path, and spending time with her cat, Roland. She is eager to work with the kids and learn more about plant identification! 

Ella Bigony

My name is Ella Bigony. I have been a part of RAW for 5 years. I started out as a camper when I was in the 7th grade. I then became a CIT for 2 years and now I am apart of the staff and hope to be a counselor next summer! I currently go to Alexander High School and will be starting my Senior year in the fall. I enjoy going on hikes with friends and crocheting in my down time. In college I plan to pursue a degree in psychology and French! 

Morgan McCament

My name is Morgan McCament. I am the lifeguard this summer. I have been attending RAW camp as a camper for two years and as a CIT for two years. I love to hike and paddle board on my free time. I have been figure skating for 12 years. I am a senior at Alexander High School and I am planning on pursuing a bachelors degree in political science. I am most excited to get to know all of the campers and play watermelon football in the pond.