Stout Adventures Trip Leaders

Volunteer trip leaders facilitate an adventures and safe experience for all!  Stout Adventures trip leaders come from all backgrounds and majors. Get to know the leaders below, or if you are interested in becoming a leader yourself, visit out Trip Leader Training page.   

Branden Michelkamp


It all began in high school, I had taken a class my Junior year called Adventure Leadership. From this point forward my life had been impacted by the outdoors so extensively it is more than something I just enjoy doing, it’s my passion and my life. In this class we did Kayaking, Climbing, Snowshoeing, XC-Skiing and other outdoor related activities, climbing had the largest impact on me. I engaged myself fully into climbing learning everything I could, after going to UW-Platteville and “re-kindling the fire” for their Outdoor Adventure Club I soon found myself going to UW-Stout eventually traveling to New York and West Virginia to get certified through the AMGA as a Single Pitch Climbing Instructor. 


Even though a lot of my knowledge is in climbing I do a lot of different outdoor activities my top three other than climbing would have to be Mountain Biking, Road Biking and Hunting. All of these interests have lead me to places throughout the country, I am very fortunate to say I have been to 16 states on outdoor adventure trips (mostly climbing), California and Nevada being my favorite. This last winter break (2011-2012) myself and many others went on a month long climbing trip and in short it was the most epic month of my life, from California beaches to the red sandstone of Vegas it was simply amazing.

If you choose to go on a trip with Stout Adventures I hope I can be your leader and I am excited to meet you!

David Christoffel


How did you get involved in the outdoors?

To be honest, I have always been a huge fan of the outdoors in general. Since I was young, I have always indulged myself in the fruits of what the outdoors has to offer, whether it is hunting, fishing, foraging, or simply running around in the yard. When I came to Stout, I wasn't aware a place with such natural frugality existed such as Stout Adventures. It was a whole new world of untapped adventure. I have found great comfort at Stout Adventures and the opportunity for challenges that are centered around the natural world rather than in the classroom. It was an added bonus when coming to college and I am excited for the years to come, not to mention the limitless opportunities that I will stumble across along the way.

What do you like best about SA and/or trip leading?

Simply put, I love the friendships and social connections that bond a group of adventures, one trip at a time.

What is your favorite camping meal/recipe?

Stove Top Stuffing with the works!

Briefly describe your favorite outdoor trip.

Backcountry kayaking and camping in America's iconic Lake Powell. Nothing says it better than a spring break trip with SA's finest thrill seekers!

Marissa Popp


How did you get involved in the outdoors?

My earliest experience was at two years old when my parents took me skiing while attached to those lovely harnesses. Otherwise, I grew up going to my Grandpa's cabin and adventuring down the trails and in the river. I began backpacking with my mom when I was twelve and traveled to Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks, MI for some awesome backpacking.

What do you like best about Stout Adventures and/or Trip Leading?

I really enjoy the connections and relationships you can make with people both on trips and being present at the climbing wall. It is awesome to meet people who are passionate about outdoor recreation. I love meeting new people and sharing experiences with them.

Briefly describe your favorite outdoor trip.

My favorite outdoor trip was backpacking Isle Royale. Took the ferry on Lake Superior to the island, backpacked all over, and took a dip in some great swimming areas. Unforgettable trip.

Alec Fotsch (AJ)


How did you get involved in the outdoors?
I have been in love with the outdoors for as long as I can remember. My first outdoors activities were hiking with my parents and snowboarding. Since then my passion has grown to climbing, backpacking, snowboarding, camping, biking and just generally being with the land.

What do you like best about SA and/or trip leading?
I love social interactions. When I get to meet new people and teach them about the outdoors as well as help them learn and gain a respect for outdoors lifestyle that's as good as it gets.

What is your favorite camping meal/recipe?
I like to get creative; it always seems to be random but generally includes quinoa

Briefly describe your favorite outdoor trip.
My best buddy and I went on a 30 mile 3 night backpacking trip on the Superior Hiking Trail before he was deployed to Djibouti. It was a great adventure highlighted by some critical issues such as our stove breaking and forcing us to get creative with finding water.  It was a great learning experience and we also got to take in some beautiful sights!



Madeline O'Neil


My name is Madeline O'Neil, I am a currently a sophomore at UW-Stout with a major in Psychology and a minor in Disability Services. I love anything that requires me to be outside; hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, and kayaking are my favs.

 What do I like most about SA or trip leading?- I love being able to teach people new things about the outdoors and see their love for it just as mine grow every time they have a positive experience in the wilderness.

 Briefly describe your favorite outdoor trip- I went on an extended canoeing trip on the Kazan River in Nunavut, Canada that was the most life changing experience that I will always remember.



Evan Stickles

Smokey Bear

 My parents threw me into my first Camp Menogyn session in middle school, to which I became obsessively proud of onwards. Each summer afterwards I participated in a Menogyn program, which was everything from hiking, portaging, climbing, and canoeing. After my last trip, a 21-day Quetico canoeing excursion, I became very involved with volunteer counseling, mission trips, and leadership roles. Working for Camp Pyro (II), YMCA Icaghowan, volunteering to build houses in Mexico, service work on Indian Reservations, and other small group initiatives I became the leader I am today.

There is a lot that I do know, however, I am very introspective to the fact that there is a grand sum of knowledge yet to be experienced in the outdoor world. My Environmental Science field tests this every day and am only encouraged more to be an active outdoor, naturals, and community enthusiast. My future draws me to Maryland, Kentucky, Belize and Utah which keeps my eyes up and open for adventure and possibilities. My experience leaves me with a canoeing, hiking, sea kayaking, backpacking, rock climbing, and adventure seeking background. My hope is to share these aspects of the outdoor recreation world to those with the ambition to challenge themselves and a passion for the fruits of the world.

Please feel welcomed to the Stout Adventures community and I do in all truth hope to meet you!