Staff Spotlight: Miniwanca’s Griffin Vogler

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Director of Miniwanca Griffin Vogler brought her passion for community, mentorship, and inspirational growth to the American Youth Foundation in 2020 after a 10-year career in the senior healthcare industry. Her degree in organizational leadership combined with her work experience has presented many opportunities to bring best self and balanced living practices into her professional and personal lives.

Vogler is a participant in the Summer Seminars for Women program and feels especially drawn to the intergenerational experience it creates. She first encountered the AYF through her husband, Michael Harter, a graduate and 20-year volunteer of the National Leadership Conference who now serves as Director of Conferences, Community, and School Programs.

Here, Vogler shares how the AYF has affected her own family, why she returns to SSW each year, and what she’s looking forward to most as Director of Miniwanca this summer.

What was your first interaction with the AYF mission and how did it affect you?
“My first interaction with the mission was when I realized how much this organization has shaped the person my partner is. The work of best self is evident in his everyday life and seeing that manifestation has been unbelievably inspiring. I knew as soon as we met that the AYF was such a part of his life, and it would soon become part of mine.” 

What drew you to the AYF and how did those organizational leadership skills translate to your work with the AYF?
“The AYF holds a special place in my heart because I was able to see the impact firsthand in my own children after they attended Girls Camp for multiple summers. It was a mission I knew I wanted help share with as many others as possible. The necessary skill for residential senior care is very similar to that of residential youth camps, and it’s all in the details of day-to-day operations.”

How have your children’s experiences at camp shaped them?
“Camp has been transformative for them both. Miniwanca has given them the opportunity to try new things, meet new people, and grow in ways they might not have had the confidence or courage to in other spaces.”

You recently transitioned to the Director of Miniwanca. What are some of your primary responsibilities in this role?
“I have the really cool privilege of ensuring the team at Miniwanca has the tools they need to make our programs happen. It has been really exciting bringing in new staff to the Miniwanca family, and I can’t wait to be part of the magic they create this year!”

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
“I’m looking forward to welcoming hundreds of kids back to the dunes or for the first time and giving them a meaningful camp experience.”

Did you attend summer camp or other outdoor education programs as a kid?
“I was a Girl Scout and attended summer camps with my church youth group. The exposure to nature and getting to make new friends was the best!”

You have also been a regular attendee (and a 2022 presenter) at Summer Seminars for Women. How has this program impacted you?
“SSW is a really special program. I love how it brings together women from different generations and provides a space for them to focus on self and community. Every year I’ve attended it’s served as my annual reset and reintroduction into who I am beyond the roles I play elsewhere in life.”

What about the AYF mission resonates most with you today?
“I love being part of the work of creating a space where kids can come and know without question that they are welcomed, accepted, and celebrated. Every child in this world deserves a place like that, and I’m incredibly grateful for the daily opportunity to contribute.”