Meet Our Team

Meet our School Program and Summer Camp Team!

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13-2409.JPGMatt Biscan, Lead Youth Program Rock Climbing Specialist

 
What is your name and where are you from?
Matt Biscan.  Born in St. Louis, grew up in Illinois, in Colorado since 1985
 
Share a childhood memory of doing something outside.
Hiking in Grand Teton National Park when I was eight.  I remember very clearly thinking the cliffs and summits looked much more fun than the trails!
 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?
Lake City in Hinsdale County.  Fantastic ice climbing, 14ers, and the most remote county in the lower 48 states!
 
What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Ice climbing, rock climbing, alpine climbing, and hiking.
 
What was your first summer job?
Planting corn by hand in the experimental fields of Dekalb Agriculture, at age 13.
 
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would want to be The Reading Ranger, because I want to bring the joy of reading to everyone!
 
What do you enjoy about your job as a Youth Program Instructor? Why you do what you do?
Students and campers teach me new things with every class and camp.  I love the outdoors and climbing and I love helping students and campers come to love those things too!
 
What is your favorite thing/activity to teach and why?
How to climb safely and have fun doing so!
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us. Why is that animal cool?
Got to say, not a fan of much creepy crawly!  But I respect the Prairie Rattlesnake, for its resilience in the face of a harsh environment and the fear of humans.  They don’t attack us but warn us to stay away and only strike if we get too close.  They remind us to respect nature and to remember our need to live with all the creatures mother nature lets us share the world with!
 
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I have read the complete works of Shakespeare cover to cover three times.

received_4635397209887910.jpegLaura Keeney, Youth Program Coordinator

 
What is your name and where are you from?
Laura Keeney, Lynchburg Virginia
 
Share a childhood memory of doing something outside.
Tubing down the Ichetucknee River in Florida!
 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?
I just moved here so I am still learning about all of the amazing places Colorado has to offer! 
 
What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Cycling, rock climbing, camping, hiking, trail running
 
What was your first summer job?
I worked at Fazoli's fast food restaurant.
 
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to be able to understand and communicate with anyone no matter what language or ability. Even animals too! 
 
What do you enjoy about your job as a Youth Program Coordinator? Why you do what you do?
I love being outside and working with kids. Put those together and you have the perfect job! 
 
What is your favorite thing/activity to teach and why?
I love teaching kids to be confident in their abilities because I think that showing kids everything they CAN do on their own gives them what they need to push themselves even further to keep trying and working towards other goals. 
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us..why is that animal cool?
(not sure if this is a creepy crawly but...) Octopuses are SO cool because they can camouflage to match anything and each of their 8 legs has its own independent nerve network acting as its own brain. It's as if an octopus has 9 brains! 
 
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I love completing 1000 piece puzzles. The fastest I have ever done one start to finish was just under 6 hours. 

Alec Backhus, Youth Program Coordinator

Alec Instructor Photo.jpg
What is your name and where are you from? 
My name is Alec, I'm from Southern California.
 
Share a childhood memory of doing something outside. 
I lived above a creek in  Portland Oregon for a few years, everyday after school I'd trek down the ravine and make trials and build log huts along the creek.
 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?
My favorite place in Colorado is being a few pitches off the ground on just about any route in Eldorado canyon. 
 
What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Anyone who has spoken to me for more than a few minutes will tell you I LOVE  getting outside for some rock climbing. 
 
What was your first summer job?
My first summer job was as an instructor at boy scout day camp, but one of my favorite past summer jobs was as a skateboard instructor at Camp Woodward Action Sports Camp. 
 
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to make any food I want appear at any time, or super strength exclusively in my fingers. 
 
What do you enjoy about your job as a Youth Program Instructor? Why you do what you do?
I have a passion for teaching, encouraging participants to think critically and be inquisitive while helping them develop new skills is a gift. I find teaching to be incredibly fun and fulfilling.
 
What is your favorite thing activity to teach and why?
I love teaching climbing, I would talk about climbing all day for free to anyone willing to listen. Being able to share my stoke with participants eager to learn about climbing is a real treat!
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?
Blue belly lizards, they are incredibly good climbers! Plus, they have a sweet looking blue belly!
 
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I took unicycle lessons every morning before school in first grade and mastered the 7ft tall unicycle. ​

Maya Winfield, Youth Program Instructormaya.JPG

 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?
My favorite place in Colorado is Chicago Basin in the San Juan Mountain Range
What is your favorite outdoor activities?
My favorite outdoor activities are backpacking and trail running
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why
If I could have any superpower, it would be controlling time - making it speed up or slow down
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?
A creepy crawly animal that I like is snakes, specifically snail-eating snakes because they can have gorgeous iridescent scales and tend to be cute and small. Since they are carnivorous, they eat slugs and snails whole, helping out plants that would otherwise be eaten by the mollusks.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I climbed Cotopaxi Volcano up to 17,000 ft while wearing Cotopaxi (the outdoor gear brand)

Claire swayze, Youth Program Instructorclaire.jpg

 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?
So far, my favorite spot in Colorado has been East Colfax!
What is your favorite outdoor activities?
My favorite outdoor activities are hiking, climbing, camping, and just about any water sport you can think of.
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could have a superpower, I would want to borrow superpowers from other heroes… I basically just want to *be* Spider-Man.
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?
I’m not sure if it counts as a “creepy” crawly, but I LOVE fireflies!! They remind me of fun summer nights at home, and who doesn’t love a bug that can glow?
Share a fun fact about yourself.
My friends say I’m fun, and that’s a fact!

Reed Finseth, Rock Climbing Specialist reed.jpg

 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?

I love this small little crag near Tarryall reservoir. The climbing is excellent and the views are incredible. Plus, you are almost guaranteed to be alone :).

What is your favorite outdoor activities?

I love to climb, hike, and fly fish.

If you had any superpower, what would it be and why

If I had a superpower it would be teleportation, that way I never have to drive through I-25 traffic ever again. 

What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?

I like jumping spiders, they are definitely one of the cutest creepy crawlies out there, and they have the ability to jump up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) in a single jump! 

Share a fun fact about yourself.

I used to be a pole vaulter.


marshall Trainor, Youth Program Instructormarshall.jpg

Hey there! My name is Marshall, and I’m 23 years old. I recently moved here from the east coast after graduating from the University of Central Florida, and I’m excited to explore more of the Colorado outdoors
What is your favorite outdoor activities?
I love rock climbing, jumping in lakes and rivers, and generally spending time in nature.
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why
If I had any superpower it would be teleportation, so I could go to any mountaintop in the world! I also wouldn’t have to pay for any more flights, so I could go anywhere I want.
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?
There’s one animal in the world that stands out to me - that is the Goliath Birdeater Tarantula. It is one of the largest spiders in the world, and it only lives in the rainforests of South America. It can have a leg span of up to 12 inches! They are mostly nocturnal, and only emerge at night to hunt their prey. Luckily, they are not harmful to humans, and some people are even crazy enough to keep them as pets.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
A fun fact about me is that I can solve a Rubik’s cube in less than a minute!

Joshua Singletary, Youth Program Instructor20240513_103921(0).jpg

 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?

My favorite place in Colorado is the Taylor River near Almont, CO. The river sits in a canyon and is absolutely beautiful. The trout grow to record sizes, making it a fly fisherman's must visit locale and the availability of Trad climbing, rafting, and 14ers nearby make it a perfect fit for a multi-sport outdoorsman like me.

What is your favorite outdoor activities?

I love nature based traveling, fly fishing, overlanding, shed hunting, and remote camping. I grew up on the water and in the outdoors as a kid in FL, and have since visited 5 continents, 30 countries, and visited more than a dozen national parks with the goal over visiting all 65.

If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could have any superpower it would be the ability to heal anyone with just a touch. The world is filled with so many people who can't get the healthcare they need for a plethora of reasons, it would be amazing to help end that.
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?

My favorite creepy crawly animal is probably the honey bee. My grandfather raised bees when I was a kid and although they can be dangerous, they provide the world with a necessary part of life and their honey is delicious! Did you know 1 colony can pollinate 300 MILLION flowers in just 1 DAY? AMAZING!

Share a fun fact about yourself.
My Fiancé would say a cool fact about me is that I've traveled to so many places, and lived in England for 4 years while serving in the USAF.

jack Anderson, Youth Program Instructor jack.jpg

 

 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?
Lake City, near Gunnison, is my favorite place in Colorado. It's a beautiful small town with excellent winter ice climbing and lots of summer climbing. I love climbing, mountaineering, and ice climbing, especially getting high up on mountains and feeling on top of the world.
 
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have any superpower, it would be to take no fall damage, making my activities safer and less worrisome for my family.

 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?

I also love mole crickets. They have cool front claws for digging, and even though people think they're pests, they help by eating bug larvae and other insects that can damage plants.


rachel Matveyuk, Youth Program Instructor rachel.jpg

 

 
What is your favorite place in Colorado?

Currently I love the Holy Cross Wilderness Area!

What is your favorite outdoor activities?

Climbing, slacklining and backpacking!

If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to be able to teleport anywhere anytime. Can't sleep? Go to a beach in Spain for a few hours and then come back :). Plus no waiting at airports!

What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?

Maybe not creepy, but Honey Bees! Without these pollinators, we would not have as many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy today. For just 1 Lb of honey, bees visit over 2 million flowers, and one hive will fly a total of 55,000 miles for the 1 LB. Each bee can pollinate up to 5,000 flowers a day.


Madison "Maddy" Smith , Youth Program Instructor

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What is your name and where are you from?  

I’m Maddy and I was born here in Colorado.

What is your favorite place in Colorado?

Grand lake holds a special place in my heart. My family moved there 5 years ago, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend a few summers with them! The hiking and camping is incredible up there.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

There’s lots I enjoy, but my top three are probably backpacking, climbing, and napping (outside).

What do you enjoy about your job as a Youth Program Instructor? Why you do what you do?

I love love love getting people outside and sharing new experiences with them. It’s so exciting watching as kids fall in love with the outdoors, and being a part of that process is so rewarding.


 

IMG_6977.JPGHana Hamilton, Youth Program Senior Manager

 
What is your name and where are you from?  
Hana Hamilton – Originally from Maui, Hawaii then Florida!
 
Share a childhood memory of doing something outside. 
Being lucky enough to hike through bamboo forest in the Maui rainforest.
 
What is your favorite place in Colorado
So far, my favorite place in Colorado is Independence Pass. I love the camping spots, climbing options, and getting to jump into the beautiful cold water.
 
What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Climbing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and taking dips in cold fresh lakes!
 
What was your first summer job?
Working in a bakery making mini cupcakes.
 
If you had any superpower, what would it be and why?
If I had a superpower I would like to be able to talk with animals! I sometimes know what my dog is thinking but it would be great to be able to read her mind.
 
What do you enjoy about your job as a Youth Program Manager? Why you do what you do?
I love that each day has been different and rewarding in multiple different ways. It is great to share my own passions while getting to see youth experience new things. When ever we are exposed to new tasks/adventures we grow a little and it is great to see this first hand in the youth coming through this program!
 
What is your favorite thing activity to teach and why?
I really enjoy stream ecology. The kids are so excited that they got to be hands on and playing outside in the water is always fun! rock climbing is a close second. I personally enjoy rock climbing so it is great to share this past time with others.
 
What is your favorite creepy crawly animal? Sell it to us... why is that animal cool?
It may not be crawly or creepy but I love the Opossum! The obsession started in middle school and they seem to get a bad rep a lot of the time so I like to stand up for them when I can! They aren’t aggressive, they kill ticks by the thousands, are surprisingly agile, and their babies are adorable!
 
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I use to be a flying trapeze performer!

Other Fabulous Team Members

Collin Yarborough, Youth Programs Instructor (sub)
Elaine Matucan, Youth Programs Instructor (sub)
Preston Hopkins, Youth Programs Instructor (sub) 
Cindy Smith Smith, Youth Programs Volunteer
Jeff Speak, Youth Programs Volunteer
Stacey Stevens, Youth Programs Volunteer
Meagan Gillcrist, Youth Programs Volunteer