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Lets go ahead and let the cat out of the bag.

I have ADHD. I’ve known about it since I was 9, but I’ve had it my whole life- by nature that’s what a neurodevelopmental disorder is.

Can’t sit still.

Doesn’t listen to instructions.

Smart, but lazy.

Careless.

Emotional.

The ever present misconceptions of kids with ADHD. They aren’t new, and they’re pretty well-known by now, but slowly and surely- one kid, one teacher, one parent at a time- we’re changing that narrative.

And besides, that’s only part of my story. But it’s a part of me that I now hold as a secret weapon.

I started my time at SOAR in 2020, right in the midst of the COVID pandemic, as a field staff for The Academy. With a passion for hands-on, experiential learning and a vast range of educational background and work experience, I was stoked to bring my personal love of the outdoors into my professional world.

A typical day at Soar could be described as fast-paced, fun-filled, slightly chaotic, and always an adventure. But in order for the days to run smoothly and the gears to be well-oiled, a lot has to happen behind the scenes, and it all has to happen pretty quickly. Packing gear for a multi-night canoe trip, facilitating archery/hatchets/the climbing tower/swimming/horsebackriding, setting up last-minute tarps to shelters from the unexpected June snowfall, preparing nourishing food that will also (hopefully) taste delicious, explaining the difference between a buffalo and a bison, and all those nice administrative tasks we don’t need to get into right now. And all of that happening in only the span of a couple hours! I found this work environment thrilling, challenging, and always engaging- all things that make the ADHD brain happy.

One year at the Academy turned into two, and I spent summers in Wyoming mentoring new staff on running backcountry trips, having fun in any weather, and teaching the differences and strengths of the kids we work with. By the end of that second year I knew I loved what I was doing, but I wanted more. That Fall I started a Master’s program in social work with the goal to take teaching both kids with learning challenges and the adults in their lives to the next level, and after another summer at Eagle View Ranch I got to put that dream into action as the Director of Soar’s Wyoming and California Programs.

Recognizing the slightly-outside-the-box strengths that come with ADHD is that secret weapon. Turning the “why can’t you just focus” statements into “you are managing so many situations successfully at once,” and the lack of interest in coloring inside the lines into radically empathetic approaches to a group of kids that so often live outside the proverbial box is the superpower. Reframing deficits as strengths and turning strengths into skills is our goal, all while having a ton of fun.