I’m John Gasparich, a graduate of the 2008-2009 Immersion program, and an apprentice the following year in the Nature Instructor Training program. I also met my wife, Khylynowey, during the program. After my apprenticeship, my wife and I moved to Canada, to the farm where she was raised. In the first year of living on the farm, I built Khy and myself a small cabin with no power or running water, which we lived in for more than two years.
Upon obtaining my work visa, I was fortunate enough to find work with the local non-profit Ghost River Rediscovery (GRR), as the Camp Coordinator. Our camp is located in an unbelievably beautiful valley in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies.
It’s a land of Lodgepole Pine, dry air, sunshine, and towering mountains. I oversee the hiring and training of staff, curriculum creation, risk management, and fund development, among other things.
Over the winter months, I typically take a leave of absence from my position with GRR to do environmental work in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. While up north, I basically snowshoe all day, recording the tracks of all of the animals I find, or occasionally back-trail animals such as lynx, coyote, wolf, caribou, fisher, and moose.
The things that I learned in The Immersion have certainly shaped me in powerful ways. In some ways, I’m still learning from the experience. I do know that without the foundation that the program laid in my life, I certainly would not be where I am today, doing the amazing work that I am so grateful to do.
I’m not sure where the adventure will next lead, but the biggest part right now is parenthood. Khy and I have had a son, Finn, and he keeps us both busy most of the time.
If you’re wondering about doing the program, do it. If you’re in it now, put your all into it, and do your homework. It’s worth it.