About Kellen

The Kellen Sams '06 GreenMAP Leadership Award at Green Mountain College


Kellen Sams began his freshman year at Green Mountain College in 2001, the year GreenMAP began. Kellen was a great outdoor spirit, teacher and avid adventurer. But most importantly he was a welcoming friend to all he met.  Tragically, despite preparedness, the highest safety measures, and years of training and experience, Kellen lost his life in an avalanche in February of 2010 while backcountry skiing the majestic San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Kellen loved the mountains and left this life doing what he cherished most ─ challenging himself in nature in the company of great friends. 


In honor of Kellen’s commitment to outdoor experiential education of the highest quality, Kellen’s family and friends have joined GreenMAP to establish the Kellen Sams '06 GreenMAP Leadership Award. The purpose of the fund is to further Kellen’s legacy by providing outdoor-based professional development opportunities for GreenMAP Leaders.


Scholarship candidates will be chosen based on their commitment to exemplifying the qualities Kellen brought with him and those he developed in his short but impactful time with us. Those qualities include the gift of seeing the greatness in all people, acceptance of all regardless of ability, and a passion for being in and sharing nature. Kellen had the ability to inspire people to stretch beyond their limits through respect, gentleness, and trust. He had an inherent eagerness to teach and develop the highest standards of safety and competency for himself and others. Kellen developed his gifts by taking every opportunity to do additional professional trainings and then practicing those skills.  A quick-witted sense of humor, the ability to laugh through fear, the desire to push himself mentally, and a willingness to learn from nature were how Kellen rafted rivers, skied the backcountry, climbed ice-covered mountain faces and excelled   at school. He would be thrilled that his memory is maintained through educational opportunities for GreenMAP Leaders.

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