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John Willson, Executive Director

John has spent over 25 years working with youth diagnosed with LD and ADHD and in 2012 became Executive Director of SOAR. He originally joined SOAR in the summer of 1991, returned as a semester course instructor in 1993, and became Director of LD and ADHD Services in 1994. He has lead hundreds of adventure courses across the country and Latin America and continues to enjoy field time with campers on a variety of programs. John is currently the President of the LDA of NC, and a national board member of CH.A.D.D. He actively presents to teachers, parents, and professionals at local, state, and national conferences. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor at Western Carolina University and Mars Hill College teaching Outdoor Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation, and Leadership courses. His certifications include Wilderness First Responder, Lifeguard Instructor, CPR Instructor, PADI Rescue Diver, State licensed Recreation Therapist, and Nationally Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Finally, and most importantly, he and his wife Dorothie are the proud parents of two magnificent, creative, and strong-willed children.

Jonathan Jones, Founder

SOAR grew out of a graduate project Jonathan completed for Dr. Vincent Cyphers at the University of Northern Colorado, reflecting a personal love for the outdoors and a view of the wilderness as a place for personal growth and development. A current Board member of LDA, he is a past President of LDA NC and chaired the LDA Adult Issues Committee for many years. Jonathan has been involved in education for 33 years as a teacher, Upper School principal, and program administrator. His diverse background includes military service, convening of international conferences, and advocate work for abused and neglected children. He is an adult with learning disabilities and has an adult son with his own unique mix of LD and ADD characteristics. He is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences which focus on LD and ADHD issues. His decades of experience working with youth allow him to convey a unique perspective regarding their strengths and abilities. Jonathan holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Psychology and a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate, with master’s level work in Education. He is also a licensed R.N.