Staff

Outdoor Outreach Staff

Outdoor Outreach’s most important asset is its people. Our organization is only able to achieve its mission by hiring, developing, and retaining the highest quality employees and volunteers. We have a committed and passionate team who contribute to the organization’s success. Click here to see current job openings.

Christopher Rutgers: Founder


Christopher Rutgers is the founder of Outdoor Outreach.  As a competitive skier, whitewater river guide, expedition rock climber and avid surfer, Chris has spent most of his life developing a passion for the outdoors.  It was this passion that helped Chris overcome his own at-risk childhood.  In 1999, he founded Outdoor Outreach as a means to give at-risk and underprivileged youth the same life-changing opportunities.  Drawing from his own personal experiences, Chris developed the Outdoor Outreach philosophies that have proven to be so successful working with at-risk and underprivileged youth.

As founder of Outdoor Outreach, Chris has been nationally recognized as an expert on programming for youth at-risk.  He is frequently asked to speak at national conferences and symposiums, and to consult with government agencies, academic institutions and other nonprofit organizations.  Chris has served as an advisor to the California Governor’s Office, California State Parks and the National Park Service on developing programs for at-risk youth.  In addition, Chris has won numerous local and national awards for his programs’ successes.  He is a past recipient of San Diego’s KGTV Channel 10 Leadership Award and Newsweek magazine’s “America’s Best.”chris@outdooroutreach.org


Office Staff

Ben McCue: Executive Director

Ben McCue

Ben joined Outdoor Outreach in 2013 to lead the growth of the organization’s impactful work. Prior to Outdoor Outreach, Ben was the conservation director for WILDCOAST, a binational conservation organization with offices in San Diego and Ensenada that protects coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. At WILDCOAST, Ben directed the organization’s programmatic and policy work.

Ben has served on the Joan and Irwin Jacobs High Tech High Advisory Board, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health Advisory Board, and was co-Chair of the International Boundary and Water Commission’s Citizens Forum. He has testified at State Senate and Assembly hearings in Sacramento and San Diego on environmental, health and outdoor recreation issues and has been recognized for his effective advocacy.

Ben holds a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California – San Diego and a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. Ben.McCue@outdooroutreach.org



Joe McLeod: Director of Operations


Joe first worked for Outdoor Outreach in the winter of 2007 as a Climbing and Mountain Biking Instructor before moving to Los Angeles where he served as Program Director for UCLA Recreation’s Outdoor Adventure program.  In 2011, Joe and his family migrated back to San Diego, and he is excited to once again be a part of the Outdoor Outreach community.  Joe has 12 years of outdoor education and youth programming experience, working as a field instructor, team leader, logistics coordinator,  curriculum specialist and director for a variety of outdoor programs in South Carolina, Montana, Oregon and California.  Joe brings an extensive background in the planning, management and implementation of youth programs as well as a solid foundation in risk management and curriculum development.  In his personal time, Joe can be found beaching, biking, kayaking, hiking and barbequing with family.  Other personal interests and activities include photography, soccer, climbing and snowboarding. Joe@outdooroutreach.org


Amber Carrigan: Development and Communications Manager


Originally from the state of Washington, Amber joined Outdoor Outreach and the San Diego community in 2014. Graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Psychology, Amber is dedicated to supporting organizations addressing the needs of at-risk and underserved youth. Before moving to San Diego, she spent two years working in a development role for a nonprofit serving youth who’ve experienced foster care or homelessness. Amber brings with her a strong background in event planning, grants program management, and development program coordination. A native of the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys hiking, trail running, and clamming. Amber is excited to familiarize herself with San Diego and work with an organization that merges her passions for working with youth and experiencing the outdoors. AmberC@outdooroutreach.org



Scott Shepherd: Adventure Club and Leadership Program Manager

Scott Shepherd is a San Diego native and recent graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango,
Colorado. Graduating with a degree in Adventure Education, he is a lifelong
learner in outdoor pursuits ranging from sailing, to surfing, to climbing and back country skiing.
Scott has worked around the world in a variety of different outdoor and adventure education
jobs including onboard the S.V Concordia in 2009. His passion for surfing has lead him to
many adventures and is now continuing his adventuring with Outdoor Outreach. scott@outdooroutreach.org


Matthew Smith: Environmental Program Manager


Growing up fishing, bird watching, butterfly catching and hiking with his father in the valleys of Northern California, instilled in him a love for all things wild and free. He has worked extensively with & for Environmental, Conservation and Education programs throughout San Diego County, Ecuador, Peru, Montana, Wyoming, and Mexico for the last 7 years. Matthew graduated with a degree in Social Work from Point Loma Nazarene University with an emphasis in Spanish studies in 2012. For the last few years he has worked with the National Park service as a Ranger in Yellowstone National Park, for the Urbancorps of San Diego Urban Forestry Program and managed a college Outdoor Rec. program at PLNU. Matthew interned for 20 hours a week for Outdoor Outreach in 2011-2012 and is excited to be on board full time as the Environmental Program Manager. In his free time outside of work Matt enjoys a chance to explore and learn about the Greater San Diego Ecosystem, rock climb, surf, cook and bake. mathew.smith@outdooroutreach.org


Kim Stolkowski: Field Program Manager

 Kim joins Outdoor Outreach as the new Field Program Manager.  Kim is a life long outdoor enthusiast, and has traveled all over the world participating in various outdoor leadership and service programs. She has over 12 years of experience working with youth ages 9-19 years old. Prior to joining OO as a full time staffer, Kim served as a field staff for OO and as partner staff for the past 7 years while working as a Recreation Therapist at San Pasqual Academy.

Kim moved to San Diego via the San Francisco Bay Area in Fall 2003 to complete her degree in Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. In her free time, Kim enjoys volunteering with other non-profits such as the Bishwa Seva Foundation, Urban Surf 4 Kids, Guitars in the Classroom, Feeding the Soul Foundation, and Big Animals 4 Little Kids. Kim is also an accomplished musician, composer, producer, and dj.


Molly Morelli: Office Manager

Molly joins Outdoor Outreach in early 2015 as the Office Manager. 

Originally from Pennsylvania, Molly spent the last 5 years in Chicago where she worked in various programmatic and administrative roles at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. There, she gained valuable knowledge in non-profit operations. 

Molly grew up hiking, biking, and kayaking in the wilderness of Pennsylvania, and looks forward to exploring all the adventures California has to offer!


Kelly Barrett: AmeriCorps VISTA and Military Program Coordinator

Kelly is serving at Outdoor Outreach as the Military Program Coordinator through AmeriCorps VISTA. She is enthusiastic about sharing her love of the outdoors with San Diego youth. Kelly has experience working at youth camps and has spent two years with AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps): both as a Corps Member and as a Team Leader. Kelly received her degree in Criminology with a focus on Victim Services. She is eager to help OO’s youth build their leadership skills and connect them to opportunities for growth by engaging them in the wonderful resources provided by nature. As a San Diego native, Kelly loves hiking, camping, geocaching, and taking advantage of any opportunity to get outside. kellyb@outdooroutreach.org


Chloe McGrath: AmeriCorps VISTA and Communications Coordinator

Chloe serves at Outdoor Outreach as the Americorp VISTA Communications Coordinator. Chloe graduated from George Washington University in May 2014 with a degree in Criminal Justice. In the past, Chloe has served as a mediator for high school students, tutored at a DC public schools, and interned at a child advocacy center to help families navigate through the criminal justice system. She is excited to work with an organization committed to providing new opportunities for youth and help them realize their full potential. In her free time, Chloe loves to kayak, swim at the beach, and hike! chloem@outdooroutreach.org

   


 

 

Field Staff

Angel Cadena: Senior Instructor


  Angel has been involved with Outdoor Outreach since his senior year at Gompers High School.  As a participant in the Gompers Adventure Club, he caught the “stoke” and was instantly hooked on rock climbing, snowboarding and surfing.  His natural leadership abilities and strong work ethic made him an excellent candidate for our Leadership Program, which he joined in January 2007.  He currently works part-time as an instructor for Outdoor Outreach and is a full-time student at San Diego State University, pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering.  Angel also works as a mentor in an after-school program at Lincoln High School, where he inspires up-and-coming teens to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals.


Ben Myers: Senior Instructor

Ben MyersBen first volunteered with Outdoor Outreach in 2008 in order to share his passion for the outdoors. He has since been hired as an instructor and loves to share his favorite activities with San Diego’s youth. Ben is an avid surfer, snowboarder and rock climber and also loves to garden. Ben’s favorite animal is the coastal brown pelican, which he gets really excited to see while out surfing.


Heather Clark: Senior Instructor


Heather Clark joined Outdoor Outreach in 2007. Since her days as a surf instructor in high school, Heather has assumed a variety of positions over the years as an outdoor guide and environmental educator.  She graduated from UCSD where she studied Media Art and Biology, and was trained as an outdoor guide through Outback Adventures. Now a program director at Groundwork San Diego, her passion for the outdoors permeates both her professional and personal life. In her spare time, Heather can usually be found in the ocean, the mountains, or a vegetable garden.


Juan Herrera: Assistant Instructor


Juan has filled almost every role at Outdoor Outreach.  During the past four years, he has been a participant and a member of our Leadership Program, and currently Juan is employed as one of our all-star trip leaders.  Juan has become a recognized speaker on issues of youth violence.  He was recently selected by The Outdoor Industry Foundation as an Outdoor Idol, where he serves as an ambassador to the outdoor industry.  Juan graduated from City College where he obtained a degree in Chicano Studies.



Sean Kelly: Senior Instructor

After transitioning from a pattern of seasonal migration between a rock called Wrangell in Southeast Alaska and the giant metropolis, Seattle, Sean traded his best rain jacket for sturdy sunglasses and a thinner wetsuit in San Diego. For five years, Sean led groups of Alaskan students on 50 day excursions with Alaska Crossings, a wilderness program based in Wrangell, AK.  In the off season, he engaged in several activities, including urban forestry, rock climbing, and instructing for various adventure travel outfits.  Sean likes fuel economy, large marine mammals, savory scones, and stoking the fire for students and friends.  With spare time, he climbs rocks and remains alert to when and where his favorite metal or jazz or jazz/metal band is going to come to town.  Years ago, he completed a formal degree (BA) in Music Composition from the University of Illinois in Champaign.  These days, he actively pursues educational opportunities to complement his efforts at delivering a high standard of instruction.  



Alexx Robles: Assistant Instructor

Alexx grew up camping and surfing along California’s central coast. Her passion for the outdoors grew during her time at UCLA, where she spent three years as an Outdoor Adventure guide and a surf instructor. Alexx graduated in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in geology.

When she is not working for Outdoor Outreach she also works as an Educator for the Birch Aquarium at the Scipps Institution of Oceanography. She spends her free time conducting geology research at the San Diego Archaeology Center, snorkeling, and surfing.





Idris Ahmed: Assistant Instructor

 Idris Surfing Idris and his family moved to America from Somalia in 1995. They originally lived in Atlanta but moved to San Diego when he was 13 in 2007. Idris joined the Crawford Adventure Club as a freshman and was immediately hooked on the trips and people from Outdoor Outreach. Idris was selected to be a LEAD participant and  trained for two years to become an assistant instructor. Idris has been working with Outdoor Outreach throughout the summer and looks forward to starting his Junior year at Stanford in the fall.



Josh Jackson: Assistant Instructor

Josh Jackson has fervor for both outdoor recreation and teaching, and he has spent over a decade trying to marry his passions.  Josh has worked as a climbing, river and mountain guide throughout the West and Alaska.  He has his BA in adventure education and wilderness leadership from Prescott College and an MA in outdoor experiential education from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  Josh is a Wilderness EMT who has been active in search and rescue.  In addition to working as an Outward Bound instructor, climbing-gym manager, wilderness therapy facilitator, field program manager, and a Wilderness Medical Associates’ instructor, he has served as adjunct faculty at colleges and universities, teaching such courses as expeditionary sea kayaking, white water rafting, rock climbing, back country skiing, ice climbing, surfing, map & compass, winter camping, wilderness leadership and wilderness first responder. 




Laura Guerrero: Assistant Instructor

Laura joined Outdoor Outreach as an Adventure Club participant at El Cajon Valley High School. Laura believes that the experiences she had outdoors and the opportunity to learn about the environment changed her life. Through her time in the Adventure Club, Laura realized her passion for the outdoors, and her desire to share this passion with others. Following her graduation from high school, Laura served as a volunteer for Outdoor Outreach, and soon joined the team as an Adventure Club Assistant and OO instructor. 

Currently, Laura is studying Criminal Justice at Cuyamaca College. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing and spending time with her family. 




Stephen Crook: Assistant Instructor

oo - alaiaSteve started volunteering with Outdoor Outreach in 2008 due to a desire to share his longstanding enthusiasm for the environment, getting outdoors, and adventure sports. A native of the Santa Cruz area, he grew up thinking there was no better way to spend a day than surfing in the morning and mountain biking in the afternoon. After spending a few years exploring the world through post-graduate study and working as an instructor for a variety of subjects, he returned to San Diego and started working for Outdoor Outreach in early 2013. With a BA in Geography from UCLA and an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management from the University of Oxford, he will soon be studying landscape ecology in the joint doctoral program in Geography at SDSU and UCSB.


Sunny Chang: Assistant Instructor


Sunny’s first contact with Outdoor Outreach was through a fundraiser in ’09. After speaking with supportive and positive staff members, she knew she wanted to be a part of the team. With a strong passion for the outdoors, Sunny realized the benefits of using experiential learning to engage youth and build resiliency. After graduating from UCSC with a double major in Sociology and Wilderness Therapy, she has worked with several youth organizations, leading adventure activities, backpacking trips and challenge courses. When Sunny’s not instructing, she’s out playing in water, snow or rocks.