JJ grew up in the flatlands of Ohio; despite being bound by a city, she always found the nooks of ravines & forests nearby to explore. Moving out west allowed expansive exploration of the greater peaks & valleys, canyons & rivers of this land. Pursuing the passion of exploring more outdoor spaces in combination with sharing & leading others in these powerful experiences paved the way for JJ’s professional path. Since 2010 she has continuously worked for various organizations leading multi-day hiking and backpacking trips through many landscapes. At 26, a diagnosis of Stage 3 Melanoma cancer created an unforeseen obstacle course of struggles through health, identity, career, and relationship. She found reconnection to body & ability through a First Descents kayaking program. Now as Lead Staff, First Descents is the path of a lifetime connecting people with the rhythms & wonders of nature while in good company with others who have also struggled with life’s obstacle courses.