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Born and raised in the vibrant community of metro Atlanta, I was nurtured by a tribe of resilient and indomitable women. Their unwavering support and encouragement fueled my journey of self-discovery and empowered me to fearlessly pursue my passions. Their legacy became the compass guiding me as I embarked on a path to carve out my own unique identity.

Nature has always been my sanctuary, beckoning me with its untamed beauty from a young age. Whether it was the thrill of camping adventures with my family or the exhilarating escapades of kayaking and backpacking during summer camps, the great outdoors became my playground and my muse. As I stood at the crossroads of choosing my college major, I knew deep within me that I wanted to be a beacon of inspiration for others, just as the influential women in my life had been for me. Yet, my love affair with nature remained steadfast, shaping my aspirations and guiding me towards a degree in Recreational Therapy.

In the winter of 2021, amidst my academic endeavors at Clemson University, the quest for the perfect internship location led me to discover SOAR, a renowned summer camp nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of North Carolina. Serendipitously, the echoes of one of my esteemed professors’ experiences there resonated with me, igniting a sense of familiarity and purpose. With a heart brimming with anticipation, I embarked on a journey that would redefine my understanding of the transformative power of the great outdoors.

Fast forward to the summer of 2022, where I found myself immersed in the role of a field staff member at SOAR. It was during this pivotal moment that I bore witness to the profound impact of outdoor programs on youth grappling with ADHD and learning challenges. Witnessing these resilient campers flourish in an environment that nurtured their spirit of exploration and celebrated their individual strengths reaffirmed my belief in the therapeutic essence of nature. With each passing session, I found myself drawn deeper into the fold of SOAR, driven by a desire to contribute to its noble mission.

Transitioning to the Academy, initially as a Campus Instructor and later as a field instructor leading expeditions, provided me with a platform to witness the transformative power of experiential learning in action. These expeditions, beyond being mere outdoor adventures, became crucibles for personal growth and self-discovery for our students. It was a privilege to witness their journey of transformation, to see them rise to the challenges of the wilderness and emerge as stronger, more resilient individuals.

As the lone female field instructor with East House this school year, I embraced the opportunity to redefine the narrative of women in the outdoor industry. Through my actions and leadership, I sought to showcase the beauty of the outdoors while embodying the qualities of resilience, kindness, and determination instilled in me by the influential women who paved the way. In the eyes of my students, I am hailed as a “girl-boss,” a testament to the empowerment and inspiration they derive from my journey.

Reflecting on my journey, I am reminded of the profound impact of mentorship and the importance of empowering the next generation of female leaders. It is the legacy of the women who guided and inspired me that propels me forward, fuelling my resolve to pave the way for those who will follow in our footsteps. As I continue to blaze my own trail, I am committed to fostering a culture of empowerment and inclusivity, ensuring that the great outdoors remains a playground for all, regardless of gender or background.