Jeff Parker, Executive Director - Jeff Parker is our Executive Director. Jeff brings significant experience in strategic development, coordination, and execution of complex public and private projects to his position. He first worked for NYC in 1994 as Project Manager at a residential AmeriCorps camp on the Olympic peninsula. Jeff has also worked as NYC’s Youth Corps Program Director, and Deputy Director. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Art Degree in Political Science from the University of Washington, and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science, with an emphasis on Public Policy, from Evergreen State College. A north Eugene resident, Jeff is the proud father of two boys, and an avid outdoor enthusiast.
Keith Brown, Deputy Director -Keith previously served as the Youth Corps Program Director, Operations Director, and head of the Marketing and Community Relations Department. Keith began his career with NYC in 1992 as a crewleader and spent his first few winters supervising NYC’s YouthBuild home construction program. When Keith is not working, he enjoys spending time exploring the northwest forests and coastal areas with Ann, his wife and best friend.
Natalie Whitson, Development Officer - Since 1998, Natalie has worked to fund new programs through grant-writing and alumni and community solicitation. Her other responsibilities include donor and volunteer development, facility rentals, representing NYC on the Laurel Hill Valley Executive Committee, and chairing NYC’s Safety Committee. Prior to NYC, Natalie lived in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she operated a small cleaning business. She has also worked at a foundation supporting public schools, and as a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) where she developed youth activities. Natalie earned her Master of Fine Art Degree in Painting from the University of Oregon. She and her husband have a daughter who is a proud graduate of NYC’s Outdoor High School. When not working, Natalie is a rated fencer, credentialed fencing instructor, and referee..
Jay A. Satz, Senior Director of Partnerships and Innovation - Jay is responsible for developing new conservation service program models, managing relationships with NYC’s key partners and supporting programs in the field. Jay is an award winning conservationist with a 30+ year career of connecting youth to conservation, creating and running effective backcountry conservation service programs, and developing and promulgating effective risk management practices for NYC, SCA, National Park Service, YMCA and other organizations and programs. In addition to his work with NYC, Jay serves on the boards for Aerie Backcountry Medicine, the YMCA of Greater Seattle Camping and Outdoor Leadership Branch, Washington’s National Park Fund, and has been a standing member of the Wilderness Risk Managers steering committee since 1995.
Vickie Smith, Finance Officer - Vickie joined NYC in 2005 as the NYC bookkeeper, and became the Financial Officer in 2009. Before NYC, Vickie spent more than 25 years working in various accounting, finance, and human resources roles, including owning and operating a printing business with her husband. Vickie’s children have also participated in NYC, giving her first-hand knowledge of being an NYC parent. Vickie was born and raised in Southern California. She attended college in North Hollywood and Sacramento before moving to Eugene in 1981. Vickie loves to travel, lived in Peru for six months, enjoys a good roller coaster, and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks.
Tracy Denson, Bookkeeper - Tracy has been NYC’s bookkeeper since 2010. Considering herself a Jane of all trades, before NYC, Tracy worked in a variety of jobs including silk screener, adult foster home assistant, and tile worker. A lifelong Oregonian, Tracy was born in Florence and moved to Eugene when she was five, where she’s lived ever since. She enjoys camping, waterskiing, bowling, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Victoria Epperson, Bookkeeper - Victoria joined NYC's Finance team in 2017 and brings with her more than 20 years of management experience in Human Resources, Compliance, and Finance. She is an experienced NYC Mom. Her eldest son participated in NYC's Youth Corps program and is a successful graduate of the Outdoor High School, the predecessor to NYC’s Twin Rivers Charter School. Victoria's goal was to someday bring her experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to NYC and give back to the program that assisted her and her family in such a positive way. Victoria is happiest hiking, or on a sunny beach either snorkeling or swimming or cruising on the river in her Tahiti while photographing the beautiful wildlife.
Marketing & Community Relations
Jennifer Steimer, Director - Jennifer Steimer, Director. Jennifer grew up on a small horse farm in Southeastern Pennsylvania and attended a Waldorf School in early childhood, which left her with a sincere love for the outdoors and respect for nature. She earned her Bachelor of Art Degree in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts in 2002, and two master's degrees at The Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research between 2004 and 2006. In the spring of 2006, Jennifer traveled to Haiti with the Haiti Orphans Project to provide medical care, education, and food to an orphanage. Since then she has lived in Oakland, South Lake Tahoe, and Portland. She spends her free time hiking, snowboarding, playing with her dogs, gardening, and cooking.
Mary Bowers, Youth Services Coordinator - Mary grew up in Upstate New York, where from an early age she was encouraged to garden and poke strange things with sticks in the woods behind her house. She later graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Anthropology, as well as minors in writing and honors, for which she completed independent fieldwork on the experiences of college students with disabilities. Mary then took her passions for creating access and outdoor adventure to Colorado where she worked as a Program Assistant at the Denver Colorado AIDS Project and became better acquainted with bison. Her westward odyssey continued in October of 2016 when she became an enthusiastic new resident of Eugene, OR. When not at NYC, Mary enjoys adventurous reading, exploratory eating, and making bad puns.
Darian Lightfoot, Inclusion Coordinator - Darian Lightfoot is from Southeast Iowa. She attended college at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri where she earned her degree in American Sign Language Studies, American Sign Language Interpreting, and Communications with a focus in Leadership. Darian’s first Corps experience was in 2013 when she was an Interpreter/Crew Leader for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota. She then spent three summers with the Summer Youth Corps, ending her last term in 2016 as the ASL Community Coordinator/Assistant Director. Darian started at NYC in November, 2016 and will begin studying for her Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management in January 2017 at the University of Oregon. For fun, Darian enjoys hiking, watching old films and documentaries, playing catan, and cooking.
Maclaine Sorden, Northwest Youth Corps and the Willamette National Forest Community Engagement Resource Steward - Maclaine is a happy new member of the Eugene community and is excited to join the Northwest Youth Corps and the Willamette National Forest as a Community Engagement Resource Steward. Originally from Iowa, and a recent alumni of the graduate programs in Sustainable Agriculture and Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University, Maclaine brings a variety of experiences and interests to the organization. He was originally introduced to the Corps Network as a Crew member for the Southwest Conservation Corps in 2010, and then served as a Crew Leader for the Minnesota Conservation Corps. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in the Republic of Nicaragua, and has spent his last few summers leading international trips as an environmental educator while exploring Ecuador and Cuba. He is passionate about environmental and social justice, youth empowerment, conservation, global food policy and regenerative land use agriculture strategies. When he is not working at NYC, he is hitting a trail, exploring new recipes, checking out live music, or reading a book.
Bianca Flynn, Northwest Youth Corps and the Willamette National Forest Community Engagement Conservation Intern - Bianca is a new member of the Northwest Youth Corps, and she is ecstatic to be working as the Community Engagement Conservation Intern. Originally from Florida, Bianca has been a resident of Eugene for the past four years, and is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental History. At a young age, Bianca had developed an affinity for nature, but she did not have many opportunities to get out in the woods. After moving to Oregon her experiences at the university fostered more knowledge and accessibility to nature, which helped her develop her major goals and interests. Her background is primarily rooted in teaching and inclusivity for diverse populations. For the past three years, Bianca worked for the American English Institute as a tutor for international students, with the intention of educating them about our culture, while helping them feel welcome in the United States. Her experience in the Environmental Leadership Program was based in community relations and environmental justice, as she worked with the School Garden Project to create quality lesson plans, and taught underprivileged youth about gardening and the importance of eating healthy food. Bianca is passionate about teaching and empowering others, as well as environmental, social and food justice. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, singing, drawing and writing.
Peter Chesser, Marketing Coordinator - Peter grew up in New York and attended the University at Albany and the College of Saint Rose, where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. After college, he wanted to explore America’s wild places and discovered AmeriCorps’ conservation crews. Peter first worked with the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, and then led crews for the Montana Conservation Corps. While in Montana, he met his future wife. They later moved to Oregon where Peter became a NYC crewleader. Since then, Peter has helped to get more youth involved with the outdoors through NYC’s programs. Peter spends his free time camping, hiking, fly fishing, and biking.
Kelcey Hadden-Leggett, Operations Director– Kelcey was born and raised in America’s first (and best) capital, Philadelphia. After spending much of her childhood exploring the rivers and mountains of the east coast, she attended the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a degree in Spanish, with minor degrees in Portuguese and Latin American Studies. During her time at Pitt, she worked for a Latin American news outlet and also conducted extensive conservation research in Bolivia and Ecuador. Following college, Kelcey continued her work as a white water raft guide in western Pennsylvania, worked for everyone’s favorite co-op, REI, and travelled all over the USA and world before landing in Eugene with NYC. Outside of NYC, you can find her skiing, hiking, petting dogs, and chasing waterfalls.
Matthew Frintner, Logistics Coordinator – Matt was born and raised in the greatest state in the union, Wisconsin. He obtained his Bachelors of Science Degree in Time Management from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. After college, he joined the Coconino Rural Environmental Corps in Flagstaff, AZ. Here he found his passion for conservation and working outdoors. He then worked with Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, and Nevada Conservation Corps before finding his way into the Northwest Youth Corps family. He spends his free time biking, reading, attempting to summit things and throwing circles at the local disc golf courses.
Alfredo Garcia, Facilities CoordinatorAlfredo has worked in the construction field for many years, and brings to NYC a wide range of skills and certifications. As the Facilities Coordinator, he is an integral part of the Operations Department. Outside of work, Alfredo enjoys spending time with his boys, and attending church.
Ryan Alderson , Food Assistant - Ryan grew up in Eugene, Oregon and is a graduate of NYC’s Outdoor High School. After living in Ohio with his wife and little girl, Ryan has returned to NYC. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys hunting and fishing and spending time with his family. He is excited to welcome a new little boy in July to his family.
Jeff Olson, Field Director - Jeff spent his teenage salad days working with NYC in the 90’s, participating in a variety of programs from Youth Forest Camps to the Backcountry Leadership Program and the Historic Preservation Team. He returned to the NYC family in 2007 and has since worked in every geographic region of the organization. Jeff grew up in Tacoma, WA and studied Studio Art at Evergreen State College. He has held a Wilderness EMT Certification since 2008 and is focused on Risk Management. Outside of work, Jeff is an avid backcountry snowboarder, hand tool woodworker, and fly fisher.
Ruby Bebekian, Youth Corps Community Program Coordinator -Ruby found her way to Oregon and NYC after a few years of proper early-twenties exploration. She grew up in the Arizona desert, escaping the concrete jungle of Phoenix with late night hikes in the mountains surrounding the Valley of the Sun. After completing a BA in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University she took off into the Colorado wilderness in search of corps culture and simple living. After a trail season with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps she pursued a second AmeriCorps term with the International Rescue Committee helping refugees resettle in Virginia. With a passion for cultural diversity, human growth, and playing in the dirt, Ruby is excited to help young people get involved with Northwest Youth Corps. Away from NYC, you can find her reading by the river, cooking with friends, or drinking tea on the porch.
Noah Symington -Youth Corps Camping Program Coordinator - Noah, a native to Upstate New York, has served in a variety of field roles for Northwest Youth Corps since 2011. After taking a short break from NYC operations to obtain a Master’s degree in International Disaster Psychology from the University of Denver, Noah returned to NYC to lead the “North” programs with special interest in exploring the intersection of youth development, outdoor leadership, and mental health. Beyond NYC, Noah is passionate about global mental health equity, photography, tinkering with his bicycle, and taking “selfies” with the homeboys.
Emily VanCleve -Youth Corps Camping Program Coordinator - Emily was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She spent her formative years in the rainy city of roses, riding bikes, and playing in city parks. In the spring of 2012, she completed her first NYC session, where her love for the outdoors and passion for giving back to her community was strengthened. In between sessions, Emily studied the complexities of biodiversity in Southern Oregon, and continued to roam and explore the West Coast. She soon realized that true rewards come from empowering others through unique experiences with nature, so she returned to NYC where she devotes her time engaging young people. On her “off” hours, you can find Emily strolling through the rain, seeking out hot springs, and reading in coffee shops.
David Nestor -Young Adults Program Manager - David hails from Michigan, where he spent most of his youth exploring the lakes and deep woods, and developing a love of the natural world. David earned a degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Eastern Michigan University, and worked with a land management company in Ann Arbor, where he learned a great deal about land stewardship and public lands management. After working on a trail crew in California, David has led youth crews for NYC’s Outdoor Oregon program. When not at NYC, David can be found hiking, snowboarding, traveling, reading, and playing music.
Jess Pinnell - Young Adult Program Coordinator - Jess comes from Sequim, Washington, a small logging town in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains – although he claims no association with the Twilight Saga. Identifying as a fourth generation forester, he enjoys being away from technology and civilization on a regular basis. He has a degree in photojournalism from the University of Oregon and has worked as a journalist in West Africa. Jess started with NYC back in 2011, working with the Teens ‘N Trails program. He enjoys cooking with cast iron, wood stoves, playing chess, and hanging out with goats.
Ingry Thurow -Young Adult Program Coordinator - Born in the Midwest and raised in Portland, Ingry grew up searching for salamanders along Johnson Creek and going on aimless bike rides through the city. She started with us as a crew member in 2011 and never looked back. She has dug trail in ten states, worked on more than twenty farms, and gradually developed her passion for youth empowerment and the provision of unconventional safe spaces. After working with Many Hands Farm Corps and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps—as well as pursuing other paths from herbal medicine to professional knitting—she is excited to be with us now as a Program Coordinator. In her free time, Ingry can be found working leather, making clothes, playing board games and doting on her two cats.
Twin Rivers Charter SchoolView on School Website
Conservation Internship Dept.
Jay Runte, Conservation Internship Director - Jay grew up south of Buffalo, N.Y. While in college he worked for Frost Valley YMCA as a canoe and kayak instructor, and the Appalachian Mountain Club as a huts crew member and interpretive guide. Jay earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Arts, Recreation and Leisure Studies from Excelsior College. Upon moving to Eugene in 2002, he accepted a job at NYC. Since then, Jay has served youth in various programs, including a stint as AmeriCorps Member, and later Project Coordinator at NYC’s Outdoor High School. Jay enjoys fly fishing, rafting, hiking, and skiing.
Haley de Luca, AmeriCorps Program Manager -Haley grew up on the coast of South Carolina in historic Charleston. After enjoying the beaches and rivers of the Carolinas, she took every opportunity to see the world. Once she graduated from North Carolina State University, Haley joined AmeriCorps for three years to serve, learn, and see the west. After falling in love with the mountains of Wyoming and Washington, she joins the Northwest Youth Corps team to manage and share her passion for AmeriCorps service. Haley enjoys volunteering, exploring, and catching up on classic movies, tv, and books.
Kaisa Lightfoot , Leadership Coordinator -Kaisa grew up in the land of 10,000(+) lakes and at age 16 fell in love with the Corps world. She spent over 8 different years with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota in various roles. Kaisa has a B.A. in Social Justice with a certificate in Conflict Studies and Communications. Eager to be back in the AmeriCorps world post-crew leading, she served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Farm-to-School Program Coordinator with the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Gaawaabaabiganikaag (White Earth, MN). Kaisa also served as a Workforce Investment Case Manager in the Washington D.C. area. She is incredibly excited to be living in Oregon and continuing to empower young people to be their best selves through service to their communities and workforce development. When not having a blast at work, Kaisa can be found exploring Oregon, trying new bread recipes, and advocating for social and environmental change.
Art Pope, Founder -During his college years, Art Pope worked as a kayaking instructor for Minnesota for Outward Bound, and spent a summer as a Wilderness Ranger on Idaho's Selway River. He worked at a logging camp in Alaska and ran a Youth Conservation Corps program for the Forest Service. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Art spent four months canoeing through Alaska, worked with sixth grade students as Director of an Outdoor School program, and otherwise supported a compulsion to raft, kayak, climb, and ski through freelance writing and photography. Art Pope was the Executive Director of NYC from 1984 to 2011.