Alumni Feature: Andrew P. Davis

Andrew “Woody” P. Davis
Kieve 1986-90, 1992-94; Kieve Council 1996-01; KW West Co-Leader 2002-04
Stanford University; B.A. Class of 2001; School of Education M.Ed. and M.B.A. Class of 2008

Woody grew up in Alexandria, VA and discovered Kieve one summer while accompanying his parents on their way to pick up his older sister Brooke, who attended Camp on Sebago Lake. Woody fondly recalls meeting Dick Kennedy and standing on the deck of Pasquaney looking out over Damariscotta Lake and imagining the greatness of Island Swim. The very next summer, newly 8 years old and his first time at camp, Woody was grateful to the presence of the Kieve men and women and their ability to be of a comfort to him while he was away from his home for the first time. It was a new family.

Reminiscing about camp:
• Favorite Meal at Pasquaney—Les the Chef’s American Chop Suey
• Least favorite meal on the trail: Tuna. And, Mayonnaise. Mrs. Davis filled out Woody’s Health Form as “Allergic to Tuna” so he would not have to consume either on a hot summer day.
• Woodys’ two favorite trips as camper were Maine Trails because he loves to hike AND the Allagash because; it rained 13 of the 14 days on the Allagash.
• Woody’s favorite trip as counselor is a three-way tie between Allagash, Maine Trails and North Glenayr. (There is some magic in the first overnight experience!)
• Most of all, Woody‘s fondest memory is walking to Kistler Point by candlelight for closing ceremony. Though it was always bittersweet, he has deep love for the ritual and ceremony.

Once a Foodie, Always a Foodie:
Woody took a gap year between high school and college and did a semester at NOLS where he mastered “backpacker baking.” At Kieve the next summer, while camped by Allagash Falls with his cabin, he baked a chocolate cake from scratch and covered it with the wild raspberries he picked. You can’t beat chocolate cake!
Words of Wisdom on why being a Camp Counselor matters:
Being a counselor will set you apart. “There is no greater responsibility than being responsible for other peoples’ lives, and out on the trail you have to learn how to deal. It doesn’t get any more real. You become a valuable asset to future employers when you know how to deal in the real world. You have an experience no one else has.”
Also, your connections at Kieve-Wavus provide you with lifelong networking opportunities. Due to his Kieve Counselor connection with The Abbey Family, Woody was able to network and start a teaching position. Why? “Doug trusted me with his son in the Maine Wilderness. That carried over into later years when looking for a teaching position. He could speak to my ability and character through our shared experience at Kieve.”

Life Lessons:
The biggest lesson Woody learned at Kieve was resiliency. He reflected in his college application essay describing , his first time on the Mud Pond Portage when he put his canoe down and sat on the side of the trail and cried. No one stopped. They all kept portaging gear; they all kept going. Woody realized that he too had to do it; he had to finish the portage because no one was going to finish it for him. So he picked up his canoe and he pushed through the discomfort and accomplished something truly amazing. To this day, Woody shares this story with parents of his students. He advises them that, “Kids need struggle. They need to know that they have it within themselves to accomplish great things; they will find themselves in the struggle.”

Inspiration for His Professional Life:
Becoming a teacher was a “no brainer.” Woody’s greatest mentors at Kieve were teachers. “All the guys who I so admired became teachers. I assumed I should do the same,” so that is what he did. Woody then set his sights on becoming a Head of School.

Woody is the Head of School at Mt. Tamalpais (Mt. Tam) and resides in Mill Valley, CA with his wife Robin and their two children, Harrison (5) and Hauck (3).