Outdoor Education

October 25, 2005

Head for the woods, a secluded gorge, or maybe that hard-to-find fishing hole, and chances are you'll run into Brodie MacDearmid '07 when you get there. Brodie hails from the coastal town of Newcastle, Maine, but he spends plenty of time at his grandmother's inland camp in Rangeley as well. As he sees it, the outdoors are simply a part of who he is. Whether he's fishing, hunting or just walking the trails, he has a curiosity for what's out there that keeps him coming back.

As a top scorer for the Middlebury's Men's Soccer team, Brodie is emphatic when he speaks about how well the team is playing together so far this year. He teammates and coaches agree. "Brodie is a tremendous young man who has a huge impact on our program," says Varsity Men's Soccer Coach Dave Saward. "He works hard, and that benefits himself as well as the whole team. He also helped me with my summer soccer camp for local kids, and he is wonderful with children who are just learning the game."

While soccer is important to Brodie, it isn't the only thing that sparks his passion. "I chose Middlebury specifically because I wanted to play great soccer but also have time to pursue some other interests," he says. As an Environmental Studies major, Brodie has found the ideal way to combine his love for the outdoors with academics. He enjoys working in the field as well as in the classroom, and his adviser Pat Manley appreciates his natural curiosity. "Brodie is a thoughtful and generous person," she says. "His presence in the classroom or out in the field doing research helps contribute to a positive atmosphere. He is interested in learning a wide range of subjects and likes to see how they interact."

Brodie is always on the lookout for new challenges, so he's made sure to find time in his course schedule for theatre courses and, he hopes, even some acting later in the year. When asked what three things he'd like to do while at Middlebury that he hasn't already accomplished, he thoughtfully responds, "Be in a play or movie, run a marathon, and scuba dive in Lake Champlain." He's already been down along the bottom of Lake Dunmore-"huge catfish!"-but wonders about the museum-like underbelly that the larger Vermont landmark has to offer.

And while Brodie appreciates all that Middlebury will help him achieve during his years here, he also feels like he's shared a fair amount himself as well. "I love being able to take friends out into the woods or to a lake and teach them to do something they've never done before-like shoot skeet in Ripton, ice fish in Monkton, or snowshoe to the middle of nowhere." Brodie has a portable ice fishing shanty, and he'll often gather a group of friends, a camp stove and plenty of ramen noodles and take a day to relax and hang out on the ice. "We'll play hockey, talk, and maybe even catch some fish and cook them up on the stove. It's important to take time out from our busy campus lives to try different things, and it's great to be able to share something of myself," he says.

Rather than head home to Maine last summer, Brodie chose to stay in Middlebury and play soccer in the Vermont Amateur Soccer League (VASL). When not on the soccer field with his team, Team Mandible out of Waterbury, Brodie earned his keep by working at the college golf course and making fast friends with staff and visitors alike.

"I don't ever want to be the guy who says 'I wish I'd done more of this or more of that.' My time here at Middlebury has allowed me to do so much. It's experiences like these that have given me the confidence to know that wherever I go in life, whatever I do, I'll do fine."

--Blair Kloman--