Taran grew up in a one stoplight town in rural Indiana. He and his siblings were allowed to roam the farm they grew up on and encouraged to be outside as much as possible, which led to sports being a huge part of his life. After heading to college to play golf at the collegiate level, he realized that he also needed a degree and decided to pursue a career in education, wanting to stay in the competitive sports coaching field.
After college graduation, a desire for adventure called Taran from the small town with one stoplight all the way to Phoenix Arizona to begin his coaching and teaching career at an elementary school. Shortly after the move, he met Jerrica, who was also a teacher with a desire for adventure and they fell in love.
Taran and Jerrica were married in 2019. They purchased an RV and planned to do van life while traveling the country during breaks from their school teaching schedules. After a few more years of being stationed in the RV in Phoenix, they decided it’d be fun to escape Phoenix summer heat, get away from our computer screens at school and try an outdoor role at a summer camp in PA. IHC was supposed to be a quick stop for one summer, but once they joined the team in 2021 as they knew they had found a home.
Taran’s first role in 2021 was Outdoor Adventure Coordinator, where he managed and led OPT trips for the Hill Campers to the Adirondacks. He’ll always claim that it was the best summer of his life, leading 4 day camping trips with teenagers back and forth from Saranac Lake. The real passion came from seeing teenagers do things that scared them a bit, like jumping off of cliffs into lakes, and doing things that they weren’t sure they could do, like completing strenuous hikes to the top of a mountain, but then growing so much from those experiences. The overall growth that he observed in campers from a summer on Hill Camp is what gave him the desire to become the Hill Camp director in 2022 and continue on since.
Taran is passionate about human development in the sense that every day is a chance to start new and become a better version of oneself. He loves sharing this with Hill Camp staff before the campers arrive, and then with campers throughout the summer. If you spend any time around Taran, you’ll hear him use the phrase “we’ve been training our whole lives for this moment” in almost every situation where a new challenge is coming up. He loves Hill Camp because each day starts with a clean slate to add new adventures and challenges for campers to overcome. The competitions that the program staff create and the trips Hill Camp get to go on are beautiful challenges that all staff and campers are able to experience together to remember for the rest of their lives.
Taran enjoys communicating with parents and campers who will be on Hill Camp in the off season, always planning for the future summer. He also has the privilege of working with the staff recruitment team to ensure that IHC has a well qualified, excited staff each and every summer. His favorite parts of the summer will always be working outdoors with the campers. He’s known to schedule a wiffleball game whenever possible, and you may seem him shoeless every now and then enjoying some “grounding time”. His favorite tradition at camp is campfire, especially dancing to “The Worlds Greatest”.