A 2011 Homer High School graduate, James Gustafson, was nominated for a Spirit of Youth Award for his volunteer work with Homer Wilderness Leaders. He was nominated for a 2011 Spirit of Youth Service to Community award. Winners will be announced in January.
Gustafson was the founding board president of the nonprofit when it first formed. He is a driving force in their mission to provide outdoor experiential education to young people in Alaska.
“The reason I enrolled for the first trip they ever went on was when Libby Bushell invited me to volunteer helping with the outdoor trips. We did back backing and camping, and a little bit of climbing,” Gustafson said. It was familiar territory on trails and hikes across Kachemak Bay at places such as Red Mountan. “We did a lot of camping with my family when I was younger, and I had been climbing a lot.”
James is the son of Richard and Nell Gustafson of Homer.
Growing up in Homer, Gustafson said he wasn’t a super athlete but he skied and did cross country running for the training.
This first year after graduation, Gustafson has traveled on climbing trips in California, Colorado and Utah. He is heading for Argentina to work with a tourism guiding group, then plans to attend university at Fort Lewis College next fall.
Also nominated for a Spirit of Youth Award is the Homer Youth Community Gay Straight Alliance. This is a youth-led group committed to providing a safe space for local LGBTQ youth. The Alliance promotes diversity and acceptance, and supports youth to lead healthy, happy and safe lives. The alliance was nominated in the category of service to community.
Last year’s Spirit of Youth award winner was Cody Gaines, a 2010 Homer High School graduate.
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