Nancy (aka Chamaloola) grew up mostly in St. Louis where she was always looking for the next highest tree to climb or woods to explore. She lived a short stint in Denver at three years old, and that was when the magic of the mountains, adventure, and the wilderness made their mark on her heart and aspirations. She moved west after high school to attend Colorado College and during her time there, she discovered her love for introducing others to the beauty and power of play and nature.
Nancy began her professional outdoor career right after graduation working for the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) leading mountaineering, climbing, and canyoneering courses. She originally planned to only do be involved with the outdoor industry for a few years and then buckle down and find a “real” job. However, seeing hundreds of participants positively, and forever, transformed by their outdoor experiences each year, only made her passion for this work grow. She eventually worked her way into Program Director, and then the Director of Operations of Safety of the school. Next thing she knew, she had worked for COBS for over 20 years.
In 2017, Nancy decided to finally pursue that real job. She attended the University of Colorado College of Nursing, earning a Bachelor’s of Nursing in 2019 through their accelerated program. Just as the pandemic was starting in April 2020, Nancy started her career as a nurse – on a Covid unit. She spent two years working with Covid patients, families, and teams of frontline workers, experiencing acutely the overwhelming lows, the occasional moments of joy, and the hardships that these past few years presented.
Needing to take a break and rejuvenate, Nancy decided to return to the positivity and power of facilitating life-changing outdoor adventures. She sought a place that would also value her experiences as a healthcare worker, and she found that at First Descents. She feels honored to work at FD now, facilitating programs that allow her – and so many others – to heal and thrive through the magic and connection of outdoor experiences.