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Meet the 2024 Staff! We are happy to have a high return rate of staff members from last year's season. The Colorado Mountain Ranch has an extensive hiring process to make sure both team-member and CMR align in many different aspects from morals to lifestyle.


The Best People

We hire the best people from all over the country!

Our team may be brought together from all corners of the country, but we all have the same mission every summer; create a safe, magical summer for children and teens. From our wranglers to our counselors, every member of our staff has put in the effort to demonstrate their passion to inspire and lead. We truly believe we hire the best people and they are the reason we are voted "Best Summer Camp in Boulder" year after year.

We asked them 5 questions:

1. What are you up to in your life right now?
2. What is your favorite part of Nature?
3. Who did you look up to when you were a kid?
4. What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
5. What is the nerdiest thing you do?

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Cassidy Gillard

1. I recently graduated from MSU Denver with a degree in special education. When I am not at camp, I work with children who receive intensive behavioral support. I love snowboarding and hanging out with my dog, Mojito. 2. My favorite part of Nature is the silhouettes. Also, I love dirt.

3. I have always looked up to my sisters, and I had many teachers whom I idolized (and still do!).

4. The best advice I've ever gotten was from my cousin John Gillard, "Take responsibility for the choices you make, and live that way with joy."

5. I read Winnie the Pooh original stories over and over again.

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Bailey Underhill

1. I love to dance and I never want to stop so hopefully I can make a living with it.

2. Sun Showers

3. Hellen Keller because if she can life a full life without three of the five senses I can with a little dyslexia.

4. There's no wrong way to dance in your bedroom.

5. I enjoy anime.


Cherylyn Wood

1. I have been working on making a lovely bird oasis in my backyard in Wichita, Kansas.

2. All of the animals that you get to see when you are outdoors

3. My older sisters

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff

5. Bird watching

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Kirk Furey

1. I work as a security monitor at Fairview High School in Boulder. My main ambition for the future is to travel and see more of the world.

2. My favorite part of Nature are the sounds, whether it's rain or birds or just wind in the trees.

3. My dad has been a huge inspiration for me. He has always supported me and I've learned a lot from him.

4. The best advice I've ever gotten was to take action. Instead of waiting for good things to happen, to go out and work for it!

5. I love having in-depth discussions about video games and classic movies.

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Ray Sloan

1. I have been working as a mental health worker in a residential treatment center for youth in Denver. It was challenging, and rewarding all at the same time.

2. I really like running water and just being around it and listening to it. It is very meditative.

3. My Grandma on my Mom’s side because she was a watercolor artist for her whole life. She dedicated her whole life to art and being happy and I really looked up to that.

4. I’m human and I make mistakes.

5. I really like Jazz music and I play string bass

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Ben Ryan

1. I am currently in college at CU Boulder.

2. My favorite part of Nature is its diversity.

3. When I was young I looked up to Barack Obama

4. Just be happy!

5. I do a Gollum impression!

Returning Staff Members


Britt Starks

1. I am a 6th grade LA/SS teacher up in Washington State and coach volleyball and lacrosse.

2. I love the cycles in Nature— cycles of life and death, growth and regrowth. It is as beautiful hibernating and resting as it is in full bloom.

3. I looked (and still look up) to my aunt. She is incredibly kind and generous, and I strive to live as kindly as she does.

4. “You always pass failure on your way to success.”

5. I know the entire Avatar the Last Airbender intro song and can repeat it on demand.

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Aidan Whitehall

1. I just finished up my freshman year at Tallahassee Community College and cannot wait to be back at the ranch!

2. My favorite part of Nature is being able to watch the motion of the trees or ocean on a nice clear sunny day, and sometimes be lucky enough to see some wildlife. 3. I have always looked up to both of my grandfathers.

4. ""Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way."" - Alan Watts

5. The nerdiest thing that I do is play video games with my friends.

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Emma Brockinton

1. I am a Junior at the College of Charleston majoring in history and minoring in theater and crime, law, and society.

2. I would say that my favorite part of Nature is its serenity. Escaping from life's stresses and exploring something as beautiful as nature is the best medicine.

3. When I was a kid, I looked up to my parents and grandparents.

4. The best advice I have gotten is to slow down and take it all in, I will conquer my goals but enjoy the journey life gives me.

5. I love Marvel and Harry Potter

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Natalie Ryan

1. I just graduated from CU Boulder (!!) and am tentatively planing on applying for grad school in the fall!

2. I love EVERYTHING about Nature! (except mosquitoes)

3. I looked up to my brother Ben :)

4. The best advice I've gotten is anytime someone told me to put on sunscreen.

5. I love reading fantasy and sci-fi books and will always want to chat about what I'm reading.

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Maya Shnizer-Luger

1. I'm currently finishing my first year at CSU studying Nutrition.

2. My favorite part of Nature is how quiet it is.

3. I looked up to my mom when I was a kid! She's a pretty significant researcher and I wanted to do what she did.

4. The best advice I've ever gotten is that nothing matters that much. Don't take anything too seriously.

5. I knit and crochet!

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Asa Unruh

1. I live in downtown Wichita, Kansas, I've worked in coffee for a couple years since receiving my associates. I've been enjoying going to local concerts, riding motorcycles, and creating art in my free time.

2. One of my favorite things about nature is the beauty in both the miniscule and immense parts of it. 3. As a child I looked up to my big sisters!

4. Some of the best advice I've been given is that you can Never be too generous and to be humble in your victories.

5. The nerdiest thing I do is probably playing dungeons and dragons with my friends a couple nights a week.

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Seth Lampton

1. For the majority of the last year I've been bouncing around Colorado, exploring and being a part of great outdoor communities like this one.

2. My favorite part of Nature is how it can help us to appreciate the small and wholesome things in life, and let us grown more as people.

3. A person I look up to is my step-dad. He is the most driven and hard working person I know, and never settles for less.

4. "What's done is done. There's no point in dwelling on the past when you have so much ahead of you."

5. The nerdiest thing I do has to be re-watching any episode of Star Wars for the hundredth time at 3:00 AM.

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Zoe Koch

1. I just finished my freshman year at the University of Kansas where I studied Information Systems. In my free time, I volunteer at an equine therapy and riding ranch, and work as a manager at Panera Bread.

2. I absolutely love Nature, especially trees, because they provide us with life simply by existing.

3. When I was a kid, and even now, I have always looked up to my teachers. They have been a great source of inspiration for me.

4. The best advice I have ever received was to avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. 5. To be honest, one of the nerdiest things I do is religiously watch Bob Ross. There's just something about his painting techniques that I find fascinating.

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Libby Wickenheiser

1. I'm finishing up my freshman year at CU Boulder, majoring in journalism and a minor in media production. I've been spending my time outdoors with lots of hiking, reading, and writing stories! I'm counting down the days until summer!

2. My favorite thing about Nature is its diversity. So many different landscapes, species, terrains, types of weather, and the list goes on.

3. As a kid, I looked up to my camp counselors. They taught me how to be kind and build strong friendships.

4."Take it one day at a time."

5. As much as I hate to admit this, I've memorized the entire Hamilton soundtrack.

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Morgan Peak

1. I just finished up my sophomore year at Iowa State University and am working towards an Agriculture Education degree! I love all of the opportunities and culture that agriculture has to offer, and I just want to help children learn about the bountiful industry.

2. The vast, ever-changing sky. I love how you can look at the sky and never see the same picture twice, and how wide it can be.

3. I looked and still look up to my amazing mother. She is a very strong, independent, confident, and loving parent. She is one of the major reasons I am who I am today.

4. You can't solve problems with the thinking that made them.

5. I am OBSESSED with the "Mamma Mia!" movie. I will never get tired of watching it and I easily know every line!

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Grace Anderson

1. I am going into my junior year at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, as a Studio Art and Secondary Education major and a Vocal Music minor. I spend my first two years of colleger at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and was involved in activities including choir, dance, saddle club, and cheerleading.

2. My favorite part of Nature is how much there is to learn from it and how much it can help people through tough times.

3. When I was a kid I looked up to my mom and my nana.

4. The best advice I have ever gotten is to not let others dictate my happiness.

5. The nerdiest thing I do is spend hours walking around looking for cool bugs, rocks, or anything else strange or interesting Nature has to offer.

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William Reynolds

1. I’m working full time freshly graduated Highschool, if I’m not working I spend most of my time working on my project car( a 2007 bmw 525i).

2. My favorite part about Nature is the fact that nothing can be happening and it so easy to just find peace while in the woods/beach/mountains.

3. The biggest person I have looked up to and still do is my dad he’s inspired me to work hard and still be able to balance a full work/family lifestyle.

4. The best advice I have been given is(life is simple, not easy) and when you break it downs that means a lot because everything to succeed in life is right in front of you but it’s up to you too take action on the opportunities.

5. My nerdiest I thing I do is probably over research a lot of different cars. They fascinate me and I love learning more.


Ava Shanrock

1. I just finished my first year of college at Monterey Peninsula College. I also have finished my first year of college track and field as a high jumper.

2. My favorite part of Nature is the trees. I love all the different shades of green you can find in the leaves, That is also why green is my favorite color. Being in a forest is extremely peaceful to me and one of my favorite places to be. I also love the ocean. I could spend hours swimming in the water without getting bored.

3. When I was a kid I looked up to my mom. She is such a kind, fun and caring person. Those are all traits that I want to embody and inspire others to have.

4. The best advice I have been given is to learn as much as you can. My dad would say this to me a lot growing up. I find it important to learn about whatever you can and whatever you are interested in. Knowledge is powerful!

5. I wouldn't say I'm a nerdy person but the nerdiest thing about me is that I love economics.

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Ella "Shafer" Shafer

1. Recently I have been using a year off school to travel around America and Asia, learning languages and connecting with locals about their prohects such as music, agriculture, art, etc. After summer I will be returning for my second year at the University of Colorado Boulder as an Environmental Studies major and Spanish minor.

2. My favorite part of Nature is fire. The power it holds to create and destroy so much life is overwhelming, and it connects people today to people from thousands of years ago. Fires are stories. Stories are history. History is culture.

3. I looked up to Anthony Bourdain, an American chef, when I was growing up because of his principles about life and his drive to experience unknown parts of the world through food.

4. A piece of advice I have gotten that I think about often is to be a lion, not a gazelle. That can be left for interpretation.

5. The nerdiest thing I do right now is crochet. I love sitting down and making myself a good ol' scarf.

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Margo Yegian

1. I'm currently in my first year at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. I'm studying anthropology and loving it!

2. My absoliute favorite part of Nature is the freedom it allows me from everything else in life. It's so easy to exist in the moment when you're sitting out in the woods and listening to a creek, and I love that!

3. I have always looked up to all the powerful women in my family, especially my mom, my older sister, and both of my grandmas.

4. The best advice I've ever gotten is that there's no point in working so hard for the future if I don't enjoy what I'm doing right now! There's always a way to make it work out for both.

5. I do a lot of nerdy things, but one of my favorites is every time I hike I pick up a small rock and carry it until I get as far from where I found it as possible, and then put it down so it can experience a new part of the world.

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Sarah Abulhawa

1. Combining work and travel is one of my favourite things to do, most recently I explored Finland (working with families) and Poland (volunteering teaching English with adults) both of which were amazing experiences where I met wonderful people and got to explore new cultures. Other than that, I’ve been focusing on creative writing, taking inspiration from books I’ve been reading, conversations I’ve had and heard, and theatre shows I’ve been seeing (I love me some theatre!)

2. I can’t pick between water (lakes, waterfalls, rivers, the sea, and everything in between) and the stars. They both make me feel grounded and calm whilst being completely awe-inspiring and making me contemplate ideas about existence and connectivity.

3. I can’t really remember, but I have always loved reading and writing, and Malorie Blackman was my favorite author growing up, so probably her. If we’re going down the fictional character route Elle Woods continuously inspires me by being amazing and so unashamedly herself, and I’ve loved that movie (and now the musical) for years.

4. Treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness that you treat others with.

5. I love playing scrabble and know way too many two letter and three letter words (the secret to getting lots of points!)

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Carter Wisser

1. I recently graduated from Youngstown State University in Ohio with a degree in biology and a minor in environmental studies. I'm now doing what I really cherish, which is educating anybody who will listen about the necessity of a sustainable future and living in harmony with Nature. In addition to bringing people's attention to the environmental treasures that surround everyone.

2. My favorite part of nature is the diversity. In any given environment you will find hundreds of species living in complete harmony with each other. This inspires me to push for a better world where everyone gets along no matter their differences.

3. The only person that I can remember looking up to was Stefe Prefontaine. He was a distance runner for the Oregon Ducks. I looked up to him because through everything he pushed himself to be the best he could.

4. Don't stress about something that could happen. Live in the moment and appreciate every second you have being alive.

5. I'm a huge data buff. I could sit and read over data for hours. It all tells a story.

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Chad Wiers

1. Currently, I am working on moving back to Colorado. I have also recently peaked interest in accepting a role working at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder.

2. My favorite part of Nature is definitely observing just how small we are in this big world and sharing it with such magnificent animals.

3. Growing up I always looked up to my uncles.

4. The absolute best advice I have ever received was to always be a sponge in this life, no matter how much you know.

5. The nerdiest thing I would say I do is definitely writing. Currently I am working on an auto-biography as well as fiction book based on a young chef with a desire to travel the world.

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Emily Lodge

1. Right now I am a senior at Ball State University and will be graduating very shortly!

2. Nature is so profoundly beautiful that I cannot begin to explain the depths of why I love it! One thing, though, is that I love helping show people the beauty and experience Nature provides.

3. First and foremost, I will always be a kid at heart. With that, I look up to my father. He has been the biggest supporter, guiding me in fatherly wisdom, and loving me unconditionally. I couldn't be more thankful and hope to be able to model what he has taught me in the future.

4. Try to remember their last words. This advice teaches me about focusing and being intentional with people.

5. I love maps for fun. When I get bored, I can spend hours on Google Earth.

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Nathan Parrinello

1. I just finished up my sophomore year of college at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas.

2. My favorite part of Nature is all of the living things. Plants, animals, even the soil.

3. I looked up to my dad when I was a kid. He's a volunteer firefighter and I've always been very proud to say that.

4. The best piece of advice I've ever gotten comes from Chris LeDoux's song, "The Ride." It goes, "Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. Live like you ain't afraid to die, and don't be scared, just enjoy the ride."

5. The nerdiest thing I do is that I collect old license plates and also maps of some of my favorite places.

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Anne Conway

1. I just finished my first year at Purdue University studying English, Linguistics, and Asian Studies!

2. My favorite part of Nature is the sounds! Everything around me is so alive and I'm always curious to learn about it.

3. I look up to my beautiful and brilliant mother who taught me the wonders of the outdoors and adventuring!

4. The best advice I’ve ever gotten is, “Give yourself a try.” - The 1975 Even though you might doubt your own abilities, everyone starts as a beginner and you’ve gotta let yourself fail in order to get better!

5. I can’t help but run in the rain or look at the stars. Oh! And I also think I speak “bird”. (Not very well though)

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Cameron Olsen

1. I am currently finishing up my freshman year at University of Wyoming studying Equine Science. I love spending time outdoors working with horses, backpacking, fishing, and camping.

2. My favorite thing about Nature is that it allows me to slow down and be in the moment. That's why I absolutely adore backpacking because it allows me to leave the stressors of society behind and be in the present moment.

3. When I was a kid I looked up to my dad. We are very close and share the same sense of humor which makes for some fun times!

4. The best piece of advice I've ever gotten is from my mom, she always says, "If it's meant to be it will be."

5. I love me a good game of chess!

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Charlie Smith

1. I’m currently in college for History and Environmental Studies, and working on a Paralegal certificate! I also work as a pastry chef and am heading into childcare this fall. I love spending my free time hiking, foraging with my dog, or painting.

2. I’m most drawn to nature for its synergy - everything is precisely formed for mutual benefits and cooperation. I find nature is the best teacher for cooperation and the order of the universe.

3. I always have looked up to my grandmother, she’s incredibly strong and I find her achievements enviable.

4. My grandfather always says “If you can’t be good, be good at it.” I think however ornery it comes off, it says something about the determination to always try your best at everything, even if it doesn’t come out perfect.

5. I have a lot of fun binging informative documentaries or mini-docs, especially about environmental and animal sciences. I often watch these with my cat as our bonding and have for years. His favorite is the large cat ones!

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Jen McDowel

1. I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Health Science. Since then I've traveled a lot and decided my goal was to one day be a Park Ranger. One of my lifetime goals is to visit every National Park in the US and overseas.

2. My favorite part about Nature is hiking, camping, and enjoying all the scenery.

3. The people I often looked up to when I was a kid were my Grandmother and Papa.

4. The best advice I ever heard was from the movie Dead Poets Society, " Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for".

5. The nerdiest thing I do is play video games with the boys :)

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Kendall Keegan

1. I am currently transferring to the University of Oregon to pursue studies in Family and Human Services. I am excited to soon start a career as a children's trauma counselor.

2. My favorite part of Nature has to be the trees. I love going on long walks to enjoy all of the beauty nature has to offer.

3. When I was a kid I definitely looked up to my mom.

4. "Always be true to yourself and never shy away from an opportunity."

5. I have always loved to read and I love talking to the kids at camp about their favorite books.

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Riley Dowdel

1. I'm going to be attending Front Range Community College before heading to a university.

2. My favorite part of Nature is how peaceful and beautiful it is.

3. I look up to my dad.

4. The best advice I've gotten is to live life in the moment rather than spend your life waiting for that moment to come.

5. I enjoy reading in my free time.

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RJ Delaney

1. I am currently seeking new sights and adventure across the United States! Traveling the world and meeting new people is a blessing I am so grateful for.

2. My favorite part of Nature is that it surprises us with its numerous capabilities. Nature is capable of healing us, improving our mood, and providing us a place to make countless memories.

3. When I was younger, I had always looked up to my older sister. Her understanding of life as well as her patience for it made me want to have a better control of my emotions.

4. The best advice I have ever received is, “If you are going to live life, you have to do it your way. Otherwise, it’s not your life you’re living”

5. The nerdiest thing that I do would have to be that I love to study the science of cooking food. It is fascinating how a simple ingredient or action can greatly affect the outcome of a dish.

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Therese Solomon

1. Right now I am finishing up my freshman year of college at the University of Montana! I'm originally from Virginia, so I'm very excited to be in Colorado for the summer and get to travel for a new adventure.

2. My favorite part of Nature, especially in Montana, is the mountains. Being surrounded by gorgeous trees, huge mountains, and feeling the fresh air is incredible.

3. I come from a family of 10, so when I was younger I was always looking up to my older siblings. I still do now, and I go to them for advice when I feel lost.

4. Some of the best words of wisdom I have gotten are from my mom who I admire so deeply, telling me not to give up in any conflict whether it was big or small. These words never failed to bring me hope and motivation in times when she wasn't with me.

5. One quality I did not expect myself to have when I was younger was the love of reading. When I was a senior in high school I found a lot of joy in reading about books on self improvement and meditation. I even found a secret love for poetry!


The work you do for the youth of Boulder County is amazing. Over 60 years, owned and operated by one family! Quite the accomplishment.”

DB – Parent and Alum

We are so grateful for your support and love of my son. He really thrives with you all. He comes home everyday from camp, with such happiness and content. It has been incredible to see how much he has grown in your community!

– Edica Pacha, parent, 2015

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