Alumna Name: Libby Snethen
Dates Served: May, 2017 to November, 2017
What roles was Libby in: Crew Member
Location: Mountain West, Hurricane, Utah
Libby Snethen, born in Washington and raised in Missouri, joined ACE Mountain West Crew division in May 2017. Libby served a 6 month term with ACE and is now living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Libby will be ACE’s very first Alumni Ambassador. These volunteer positions will be spreading the word about all things ACE and engaging with prospective members. Read Libbys interview below to learn more about our first Alumni Ambassador!
Q: What were you doing before ACE?
A: I was a junior at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, MO, studying sociology and working part time at the university hospital. My free time consisted of walking and running on the MKT trail through town.
Q: How did you hear about ACE?
A: I randomly found the ACE website after Googling “Mount Zion Utah,” a place I had heard about from a friend that I would later know to be Zion National Park. My Google search took me through photos of towering sandstone spires and glowing arches, and then of unwashed, smiling faces in beige T-shirts. I watched every video about ACE that I could find and decided to apply for a six month term.
Q: Walk me through your time at ACE – What was your favorite aspect of being an ACE Crew member?
A: Having never camped before I joined ACE, I had a lot to learn about the world of outdoor recreation. Immediately, I fell in love with hiking, camping, and not showering for days. While all of this was amazing, my favorite part of ACE was the people. I met dozens of wonderful people, each with their own styles, jokes, and dreams. The people of ACE became my family and I will always love them.
Q: What was it like living in Hurricane, UT? Any favorite activities? Hikes? What did you do on your off days?
A: Hurricane was a fun place to live. I frequented Alfredo’s for burritos, and still visit whenever I’m in town. Chinatown Wash became a favorite hike of mine when I wanted to do something near the house. I didn’t know what to expect for my off days, but I could have never imagined them being filled with so much joy. Every single set of off days were spent traveling and getting to know my ACE friends better. We went on trips to Big Sur, Moab, the Grand Canyon, the Tetons, and more. We took naps under the arches that I had seen on Google Images. We strutted around art galleries in Carmel, CA wearing mismatched and inside out clothing. We laughed until we cried, and cried until we laughed.
Q: Did you have a favorite project? Why?
A: My favorite project was a logout in Dixie National Forest. This was my first hitch using the chainsaw where I felt totally comfortable. I have to admit that the saw was very intimidating, but my Crew Leader, Katie Sena, was supportive and encouraging, which boosted my confidence.
Q: What is ACE MTW culture? How do you feel you participated in that culture?
A: The ACE MTW culture is tight, to put it simply. We shared books, music, and fun recipes. I feel like I totally adopted the “dirtbag” lifestyle while in ACE, one of canned beans and remote adventures and without showers or flushing toilets. I loved coming back to the house and sharing stories with everyone while we packed for our next hitch.
Q: In what ways did ACE shape your life personally and professionally?
A: Personally, I grew so much and in ways that I didn’t imagine. The work pushed me physically and taught me what my body can do. I loved every new experience, and vowed to keep this momentum going. Professionally, I just wanted to do anything that would preserve this experience. Whether it’s working for a land management agency that protects the environment or for a local organization that encourages community engagement within the outdoors, I want everyone to have the opportunity to fall in love with nature in their own way.
Q: How long have you been an ACE Alumna? Where are you now?
A: My last hitch was at the end of November in 2017. After ACE I decided to stay and transfer to the University of Utah. I graduated this year, and am currently the intern at TreeUtah, a nonprofit based in SLC that plants trees in communities that need them.
Q: What are some of your favorite extracurricular activities? What is it like living in Salt Lake City, Utah?
A: Living in Salt Lake City is pretty great. I try to go hiking as often as I can. I try to fill my free time with things that make me feel good, like reading, visiting the mountains, painting, and socially distant picnics. Recently, I’ve been painting watercolors on my hikes, which has been pretty awesome.
Q: What excites you most about becoming an ACE Alumni Ambassador?
A: I am so excited to be in a supportive role for future ACEers. The opportunities available to people in ACE are outstanding, and made even better when these people are encouraged to grow and explore as individuals. My experience doesn’t look like anyone else’s, and that’s what makes ACE so special. I hope that as an ACE Alumni Ambassador I can meet new people and encourage personal growth in them through environmental stewardship.
Q: If a prospective ACE member were to ask you what the benefits of joining ACE are, what would you say?
A: As cheesy as it may sound, the benefits are what you make them to be. I chose to put myself out there and fall down a lot because I wanted something new. Making close friends, exploring new places with said friends, and overcoming challenges are my major takeaways from ACE. For this experience, I will always be grateful.