All Mountain Kids Staff are trained in First Aid and CPR (at a minimum) and have passed a criminal background check. Staff Training includes learning Mountain Kids safety protocol, and our mission, philosophy and activities.
Katie is the Founder and Director of Mountain Kids. She feels strongly about enabling kids to leave hectic schedules and technology behind in order to wonder, learn, and play in nature. Katie earned her degree in Education from the University of British Columbia and has studied the Art of Mentoring at the Wilderness Awareness School. Katie was a founding member of Journey Montessori School, a nature-based elementary in Santa Fe. However, some of her most formative learning did not occur in the classroom. During her participation in a Canadian Peace Corps-type program in Guyana, Katie initiated a Big Brother-Big Sister program for street children. This challenging and ultimately very rewarding program led her to greatly value experiential learning, but also made her want to make a difference in her own community.
Since then, Katie has taught in the classroom, and has accumulated more than 15 years experience leading children and youth in outdoor settings. From the forests and waters of British Columbia, to service learning expeditions in Costa Rica, and the mountains of New Mexico. Prior to her life as a mountain mama, Katie taught middle school Global Studies and Photography at Santa Fe Prep.
Carmen Harris has worked in early childhood education throughout the last decade. Her work couples her concern to nourish the exuberant wonder of childhood with her love for the magic of the natural world. She has a great love for wildness (within and without), and an abiding passion for the rooted world of plants. Herbcraft, botany, and gardening all feed Carmen’s spirit, as does her pleasure in dance, and her training in the visual arts.
Growing up in New Zealand, Carmen was informed by the mountains, valleys and waters of that land, and by her proximity to Maori culture. She has been participant in and organized numerous classes in plant medicine, primitive skills, tracking, and bodywork. Carmen is a graduate of Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge Institute in New York. She is inspired by the Northern European tradition of the Forest – Farm School seeing a resurgence world wide and she is dedicated to moving education out of the classroom and into the land, to make hands-on outdoor education available to kids of all ages.
Max is a second generation New Mexican, who currently attends Lewis and Clark College in Portland Oregon. This is Max’s third year as a Mountain Kids counselor. He is very interested in anthropology, and how landscape effects cultural and personal development. He believes that it is essential for young people to fully experience being part of our beautiful Earth, and that huge amounts of curiosity, joy, and self awareness can develop from interactions with the Wild.
Max was born and raised in Santa Fe, and developed a strong love for the landscape of the Southwest at a young age. He has spent hundreds of days hiking, fishing, rafting, and backpacking in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and Utah. From 2012 to 2014 he worked for Galisteo Summer Camp, leading (and occasionally following) young children on explorations in the Santa Fe area. He is very excited to be back for his third year with Mountain Kids, and hopes that he can impart some of what he has gleaned from the wilderness to our campers.
Jon Ross, who goes by JR, was born and raised in southern California where his love for everything outdoors fostered. He grew up in a family that chose a simple camping and fishing trip at every opportunity rather than a hotel and fancy meal out.
As a young adult, his thirst for adventure drove him to become an outdoor leader at the Catalina Island Camps, followed by becoming an instructor at The Outdoor School in the hill country of Texas, and then to the YMCA in Boston. He loves to share his outdoor experiences with youth outside the conventional “classroom”.
JR’s most recent adventure was thru-hiking New Mexico along the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) starting from the Mexican border and bringing him to discover the beauty of Santa Fe!
JR is experienced in backpacking, outdoor sustainable living, survival skills, orienteering, and team building. JR is enthusiastic about instilling his love for nature in others and enjoys inspiring youth to be adventurous, confident, and fearless in new environments.
Rebecca grew up in Kansas and received her Bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. She studied Anthropology and French. After working jobs that were challenging, yet unfulfilling, Rebecca volunteered her way into doing what she loves most, working with kids and being in nature! Her mission is to be part of a team that protects not only natural resources and wilderness, but allows children to experience the joy and mysteries of the natural world. She has worked as a Park Interpreter in Colorado, leading pond studies, writing puppet shows, and crafting nature programs for the children and the public. She currently works as a teaching assistant at La Mariposa Montessori. Rebecca is super excited to be back for her second summer, pursuing her passion of working with kids in nature.
Morgan was born and raised in the urban world of Northern VA, but has always found her heart in nature and in the wild. Morgan loves running, hiking, camping, climbing, snowboarding, horseback riding, yoga, and really any other outdoor activities/sports she has the opportunity to try.
Morgan has worked with children since she was a child herself. Some of the fondest childhood memories are from camp, and she is very excited to create and share those experiences with other kids. She is pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education and currently works at Desert Montessori running their after school program. This is Morgan’s second year working at Mountain Kids! She is very excited to be back and leading the overnight campouts for 2017.
Alexandra is a seasoned Mountain Kids! counselor, native Santa Fean, and lover of the Sangre de Christo mountains. She is a performing artist who loves to play, collaborate, and make things (up). She is returning to Mountain Kids! this summer to lead a group of Mountain Kids! Minis (3 & 4 year olds) every other Saturday. She is a gifted educator of young children, coming alive and connecting with little ones in a magical way that resonates with their little spirits.
Alexandra is currently pursuing a joint PhD at the University of Wisconsin- Madison in Environmental Studies and Education focusing on designs for learning environments, arts integration, and human/environmental futures. This summer she is planning on making some new (Mountain Kids! Mini) friends with whom she will dance for rain and meet some trees.
Steve Gibons has enjoyed camping and water-related activities since he was very young, growing up on the lakes of Michigan. After college he moved to Hawaii where he lived for 22 years, leading ocean kayaking adventures, humpback whale tours, and more at a the Club Lanai Resort on the island of Lanai.
He moved to Oregon where he opened up a Scappoose Bay Kayaking, on the Columbia River. His four-day kayaking trip was written up by National Geographic as one of the ‘twelve best activities in the world.’ Wow, that’s some praise!
While living in the Pacific Northwest, he kayaked more than 4000 miles, teaching kayaking to thousands of kids and their parents. Steve believes that kayaking is not only a fun mode of transport, but also a unique vantage point from which to view the riches of nature.
Ulysses is a student at the Santa Fe Community College, where he especially enjoys film and biology classes. He has lived in the Española Valley for his whole life and enjoys working with kids at Montessori schools in Santa Fe. Ule (pronounced yoo-lee) is an avid mountain biker, racing competitively in the disciplines of downhill and enduro. He is excited to be sharing his passion for mountain biking with other kids at Mountain Kids!