Your hosts, Ed and Arleen Decker, have over 50 years combined experience in leading groups of all
ages in outdoor activities and volunteer projects.
Ed, a native of Knoxville, has been exploring the mountains of East Tennessee since he was a
teenager. After high school he joined the Army and completed Mountain Ranger training in Colorado.
He has 28 years experience leading Scout troops, mission work in Haiti, and outdoor expeditions.
Ed has extensive construction experience and is also a Master Woodworker. His studio furniture is
on display at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC, and he made furniture for President and Mrs.
Arleen, born and raised in New York City, journeyed to Tennessee for college, fell in love with the
mountains, and never left. She has served on the Governor's Council for Trails and Greenways, Vice
President and Newsletter Editor of the Tennessee Trails Association, and Volunteer Coordinator and
Development Director for the Cumberland Trail Conference. She has made several presentations at
national trails conferences. Arleen developed a Breakaway program in 1996 for the Cumberland Trail
Conference and worked with Breakaway groups for eight years before starting the Once Upon A Time
A little background about Once Upon A Time:
We met volunteering on the Cumberland Trail in 2003. It was love at first sight and we married six
months later. Ed cut trees on the property and used the lumber to build the house and woodshop.
We used the clearing where the trees were cut to plant a 1-acre garden and grow most of our own
fruits and vegetables. It's like a fairy tale how we met later in life (we were both widowed) and shared
the same interests and passion so we named our place "Once Upon A Time." A dream of ours had
been to lead wilderness adventure trips so we built the cabins and hosted our first group in 2006.
While reminiscing about good times working with Breakaway students on the Cumberland Trail for
many years, we got the idea to develop a Breakaway program at Once Upon A Time during March
when the facilities are not used for wilderness adventure groups. And that's how it all got started!