Supporter Spotlight: Sherry Williams

Supporter Spotlight: Sherry Williams

IslandWood supporter, Sherry Williams, at our 2022 Dinner in the Woods event.

Sherry’s introduction to IslandWood


Sherry first became aware of IslandWood when she attended a yoga retreat in May 2012 led by Seattle yogi and founder of Shakti Vinyasa Yoga Seattle, Lisa Black. At the retreat, Sherry said she was blown away by IslandWood. The lodges, the food, the cozy corners in front of the fireplaces were all memorable. In particular, Sherry recalls the saw blade artwork in the Welcome Center featuring the John Muir quote. “I was touched and moved. It brought back a lot of memories for me– the theme of connection means a lot to me.” With the COVID pandemic and everything else going on in the world, Sherry decided to reconnect with IslandWood by attending our 2022 Dinner in the Woods fundraising dinner and overnight stay. “Dinner in the Woods was my chance to give to something I really believe in – getting kids outside in nature.”


A love of nature


As a child, Sherry was fortunate to attend day camps and church camps that got her learning and exploring outside. She even worked as a camp counselor at a YMCA day camp and eventually attended two Outward Bound schools. As a young adult living in California, Sherry’s love of the outdoors was ignited by backpacking trips in the Sierra Mountains and in Yosemite and other national parks across the country. Eventually, Sherry found work in New York City with American Youth Hostels, which sponsored backpacking, bicycling, and skiing trips for kids and adults all over the US and Europe. Sherry witnessed first-hand the profound impact of nature on program participants. “The joy of watching kids and adults connect to themselves, to the wilderness, to other cultures, to each other- it was very fulfilling.” Sherry later decided to settle her family in the Pacific Northwest in most part because of the natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation. She wanted her family to know and love the great outdoors as she had.


Looking ahead


IslandWood’s 4-day School Overnight Program has a special place in Sherry’s heart. Our flagship program typically reaches about 4,000 students each school year, although that has been impacted by the pandemic. Sherry hopes that in the years ahead, IslandWood will be able to serve even more kids than before. “The more kids, the better,” says Sherry.


As both a prosecutor and later, as a public defender for 20+ years in Pierce County, Sherry heard many unfortunate life stories. “I often wondered, would it have made any difference if there had been an opportunity to connect with the outdoors and with nature? Would that have provided refuge and solace in the face of some very difficult life circumstances?” By serving as many kids as possible, Sherry hopes that IslandWood’s mission of education and inspiration will have ripple effects throughout our community and beyond.



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