News & Resources

Faces of Leadership: Bert Froysland, Founding Trustee, Board of Trustees

Posted by lindsaybarden | May 25, 2017

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For heaven and the future's sakes.

A favorite poem of Bert Froysland, Two Tramps in Mudtime by Robert Frost serves as a reflection on life and the years Bert spent investing time and resources into the Au Sable Institute and its community.

As a Founding Trustee on Au Sable’s Board, his knowledge of and influence on the Institute is exceeded only by that of Dr. Harold Snyder, Au Sable’s Founder. In 1963 Bert arrived on campus with his wife Mae and two children (aged 3 and 5 at the time) to help Harold run a boys nature camp, overseeing operations by managing finances, food service, and facilities for the camp which was then called the Au Sable Trails Camp for Youth.  In the early years when Au Sable was not yet an institute, serving as a board member involved planning budgets, recruiting campers, finding and hiring counselors, and everything in between. In the 70’s Bert’s role as board member began to shift from hands-on work into setting policy and developing strategy. Being directly involved in the work of growing Au Sable and working towards its mission, Bert Froysland has been and continues to be an instrumental part of the Au Sable community and contributed greatly to its official founding as an Institute in 1979.

"One of the most gratifying things about my role as board member for Au Sable is being part of something that has transformed so many lives and in some cases being able to witness those lives on a regular basis. Also gratifying is having been part of something that put creation care on the radar of the Christian community.”

Bert holds a B.A. in English from Calvin College and an M.A. in English from the University of Michigan. While now enjoying his retirement in Grand Rapids with Mae, Bert spent 37 years of his career teaching high school in West Michigan and today remains in contact with students from as far back as 1955.

"My work with Au Sable was the beginning of what has become a life-long journey of discovery, discovery not just of the wonders of creation but of God’s delight in His creation and of the Christian’s responsibility to care for it. Being part of Au Sable has shaped the lives of my family and I in every way: spiritually, socially and intellectually."

Bert and his family have felt the positive influence of the Au Sable Institute but even more, the Au Sable Institute has benefitted from the decisive leadership, enduring hard work and loving support that Bert has poured into the Institute over the decades.