Meet Amelia: The Woman Behind GAP East
How did you hear about SOAR?
So I was reading a book called The Nature Fix by Florence Williams, and it’s a collection of psychology experiments that Florence Williams conducted. So the last chapter of that book is about Soar because Florence Williams did an article interview for Outside magazine. And then she wrote about it in her book. Soar was highlighted in one of the final chapters.
Thankfully I finished the book, and I was reading about SOAR and it’s a great article that just displays this kind of rag tag group of kids, rock climbing. And it’s a fantastic, fantastic thing to read. So, as I was reading it, I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, this sounds like a dream job.” I had no idea such a place existed. Right away, I genuinely wanted to be involved, or figure out how I could structure my life to work toward a program like this.
And then I looked it up and discovered that SOAR had a summer camp. And I applied, thinking, “There’s no way I’ll get this job.”
I’m not sure I’m qualified. I’m studying education and art, which seem to be related, but not psychology specifically.
And now here I am, working in my 4th year with SOAR!
What motivates you to show up for your youth & GAP participants?
I am passionate about building spaces where people can feel truly like themselves, and I believe that the natural world holds us so that individuals may be simply who they are and live truly amongst those they are with. I believe that many people need that room to feel like themselves and be boosted up. Being amongst a group of people and just being outside and having to expose your true self because you’re just going through the motions of being outside and thinking, “Well, we all have to eat together, and we’re all going to pee over there, and now we’re swimming over here.” And, well, we all have to live our lives in close quarters. And I believe that is an important experience for people to feel like themselves.
What do you like about the outdoors?
I like learning and seeking out information about plants and animals and symbiotic relationships. We see humans separate from trees, and we see humans separate from the forest floor, but it is all very interwoven. So, I’m interested in learning more about these relationships and how we can realign them. I’m interested in plants, medicinal herbs, and fungi. Insects and birds are two of my favorite things. I also love to participate in many high adventure activities like paddling canoes and rafts.
If you wrote a book about your career so far what would the title be?
If I wrote a book about my career so far, the title would have to do with different walks that I’ve taken. Maybe like incredibly difficult physical walks, but also like different walks of life and exciting hikes that were also really demanding. I can see myself turning that into a book where all of that material transcends into other elements of life and inspirational stuff. I’d like it to be humorous and silly. So definitely something about walking.
As a woman in the outdoor industry, who do you look up to?
I believe that the women I admire in the outdoor industry are generally people I know and have had the opportunity to work with, learn from, and go on trips with. They largely stand out to me because they live intentional lives and it’s evident that they’re doing what they want to do with their lives and with their time. So I look up to those people, like Linnea Delucchi, Elizabeth Schaefer, Avery Mozen, and Blair Ogburn, who works at The Academy. Two women that I’ve also gotten to work with through Soar are Nettie Black and Laura Pate, who have taught me just really impactful ways of being leaders amongst people they’re working with and demonstrating that they’re in it with those people.
Register for GAP East this fall to explore Maggie Valley and the East Coast with Amelia!