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Meet the SOAR Team

Red Werner
Red

I’ve been using Experiential Education as well as Low & High Ropes Courses in one way or another since 1995. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of groups over those years spanning ages from elementary school through corporate teams. Some of my most satisfying moments in my “work-life” have been working with groups as a Team and Leadership Development Facilitator. I truly believe my varied background is a key element in making me an effective facilitator. I’ve worked in a wide variety of jobs including lumber jack, sign language interpreter, store clerk, camp director, IT Professional, Sheltered Workshop Director, Event Manager, and business owner. None of these really felt connected to each other until I made them part of the facilitator I am today. When I look back, the positive moments and accomplishments that stand out to me have always been when I’ve known I made a difference to someone. It’s these moments that inspire and fuel me to continue to be in the field and work with the many groups SOAR sees every year. I’m blessed with 4 amazing kids, 2 grandkids and consider myself very lucky to have a beautiful home in Big Bear Lake, CA with my wife & partner in SOAR - Terilynn, the two dogs Doc & Book (because he’s a shepherd) and the cat Rodeo. ~Loren "Red" Werner

Terilynn Werner
Terilynn

I grew up in Redondo Beach, California and often refer to myself as a “Surfs Up Girl!” I moved to Big Bear in 1995 where I opened a ropes course company and became “The Woman in the Trees!” I find life to be one big Adventure! I am a loved wife with a thriving daughter that I had out of my belly at age 46!! Yes 46! This is a definite testimony to the fact that I see life differently, I write my own rules and live in the possibility that wonderful things happen exactly at the perfect time! I have been in the field of experiential education and human development for 30+ years. From my previous experience in the corporate world, human development trainer, fashion industry, clothing and giftware manufacturer, elementary school founder and zip line owner, I have found that the common denominator Is my love for people. I have been described as enthusiastic, driven to excellence, extraordinary, see people as equal and perfect and most of all covered in compassion and empathy for all. Today as a company owner of SOAR I am blessed with the opportunity to continue my outreach in assisting others in living their best self and embracing their magnificence. ~Terilynn Werner

Henry Salcido
Henry

Dedicated to the pursuit of making a difference in the lives of people through adventure-based education and the nonprofit arena, my career path has included working for some of the top national adventure based educational organizations in the country including international work based in Hong Kong serving Southeast Asia. As well directing corporate relations for two of the leading Latinx civil rights organizations, I’ve also been a trainer in organizational development and in the challenge course industry. As a facilitator and manager for Lodestone Adventures, Inc. I transitioned to SOAR Team Inc. to continue the work in leadership development, group dynamics and management as well as working as an Associate Professor of Design for some of the leading Los Angeles based design colleges. Today as I continue work with SOAR through transformational initiatives, I also volunteer my time as a national and lead trainer and EMT for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Spanish Based LISTOS program and Spanish based leadership initiatives. Challenging our self-imposed boundaries has been a blessing with SOAR as we awaken awareness through guided discovery that changes a participant’s perspective which is an intrinsic element that pushes the periphery of their comfort zones, shifting mindsets to masterpiece outcomes as they paint their own shortcomings or successes within the safety of their peers and us as professionals. It has been and continues to be my sincere pleasure! ~Henry Salcido

Ashlyn Kuehmichel
Ashlyn

Singer. Actor. Dancer. Acrobat. Camp staff. Nanny. Gymnastics coach. Lifeguard. Paraprofessional. Phlebotomist. Dialysis technician. Department supervisor. Social media manager. Facilitator. It’s fair to say that I’ve worn a variety of hats, professionally speaking. Many have been worn concurrently with others as I bounced between “fun jobs” (performing) and “real jobs” (anything else). Performing has been part of my professional and personal identity for most of my life. I grew up in a circus—yes, a real circus—which is usually my “fun fact” answer for any icebreaker activities. The fact I find more fun but requires more explanation is: I ran away from the circus. I left the “family business” to perform on a different stage where my voice would—literally—be heard, and I could be anyone I wanted: the theater. I learned how to belay when I was 18 and working my first “real job” as camp activity staff. Belaying on the rock wall was the first time I can remember feeling like I excelled at something other than performing; I had a voice I could use to build someone up, and the only person I wanted to be was a leader those campers could look up to. I was lucky back then to have a boss and mentor who modeled what leadership could look like, who gave me the gift of being seen for more than I imagined I could be. I’m still lucky to be working for that same boss here at SOAR. Now I have the privilege of passing on the gift I was given every time I meet new groups on the field; if just one individual goes home feeling seen, worthy, and confident, then it was a pretty great day. I am a certified ACCT Level II challenge course practitioner. I have a BA in New Media Communications, which I now have the pleasure of putting to use as part of SOAR’s digital media presence! ~Ashlyn Kuehmichel

Angel Ramos
Angel

I am a US Army Veteran, father of two beautiful children, and a passionate outdoorsman. All my life I have been committed to serving others and pursuing positive change. I have a wealth of knowledge of personal, youth, and leadership development. Some of my proudest accomplishments include successfully managing a small business in Life Coaching for youth, directing a Military Academy for 15 years, and developing programs to sponsor children to discover different countries abroad. I currently serve as a Program Manager for a Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program in Orange County and the Inland Empire. Here I have developed successful strategies to help my fellow service men and women find careers and assist them with resources to enrich their lives. All this has led me to be part of the SOAR Team, where I not only served as a facilitator but have had the honor to call this organization my home. “I serve, so others may thrive”, are words I live by and apply in all that I’m involved in. There is no other company that does it better than our team. I consider myself blessed to be part of an incredible family of like-minded people to help make our world a better place. ~Angel Ramos

Alexander Gomez
Alex

Check back later - I'm putting the final touches on my bio! ~Alex Gomez

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
                 ~Lao Tzu

Carley Hovis
Carley

Day to day I am a wife of 15 years, a mom of two incredible boys, swim coach and own and operate a dog care business providing day and overnight care, grooming and training. My life is a happy kind of busy keeping me full of wonder and curiosity. I am definitely a true extrovert, love physical challenges, play to win, and strive for excellence in all that I do. Obstacles become challenges, successes become gratitude, judgment becomes opportunity to listen, and people are what matter to me most. My 15+ years on the SOAR team has given me the opportunity to share my life experiences with others with the focus on each of us growing into being our best selves. Watching a person begin the day as a stranger and become a friend is more than TOO COOL! Seeing a participant tackle a high ropes course element with the thought that they aren’t emotionally or physically strong enough and then witnessing them find a new inner strength is what feeds my soul. I have come to know that we are all just mirrors of one another and each of us wants to be seen, heard and feel significant. SOAR has created a sense of family allowing each of us the opportunity to continue to grow in a context of compassion, love, caring and lots of fun!!! ~Carley Hovis

Zoe Bigbee
Zoe

I’ve been curious about the hearts and minds of strangers from a young age, experiencing life in the forests of Northern Maine, the bustle of Southern California, and even the rich culture of The Kingdom of Tonga. Time has taught me that the most precious moments are those we spend being our true selves. I will never pretend to be something other than the odd, nerdy, artistic, and persistently positive person I am. I strive to bring a welcoming space that invites anyone to show their true self. I am just starting out on what is available in my path, and SOAR is a supportive and empowering organization that allows to me to help others find what’s available to them. ~Zoe Bigbee

Sean Switt
Sean

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work in various sectors, including public service in the Navy and as an EMT. I have experience in retail, warehousing, hospitality and as a personal trainer and coach. I have also served as an art/life skills instructor at Ironwood State Prison. The privilege of diversity in my life has given me the awareness of how I view the "five-second moments". The moments that I feel my heart move and when I know something is changed forever. What can appear as minuscule compared to the rest of my story are actually significant moments continuing to shape me into what I am today. These significant moments have had a profound impact leaving me with many of life’s powerful insights. I am thankful for these “five-second moments” that I now get to share with all of the participants I interact with through SOAR. As a husband and father of two amazing girls, the honor of serving in the military, working with prison inmates and coaching others toward living life fully has had me embrace each and every chapter of my life. These chapters have given me the purpose of making a difference in the world person by person. Through SOAR’s unique 4 day interviews, extensive team training and the incredible moments as a facilitator, I have been positively transformed through work with SOAR. As a facilitator I am genuinely committed to seeing each participant for who they truly are. I listen to others deeply building trust and meaningful connections with the intention of bringing out the hidden potential of each individual. As a playful, high energy, intellectual, philosophical goofball I am able to hold a safe space for challenging conversations creating the opportunity for others to see their true selves. Assisting others out of their comfort zone and into personal growth is why I do what I do. Seeing others find their personal strength and coming together as a group is what I live for. Strangers become friends and authentic leaders are built . HOWL ON ~Sean Switt

Dara Kunkle
Dara

I am quirky, unique, beautiful, magical, flawed and real. My entire life I have tried to hide the "real me". I tried to be someone who I wasn't and tried to be better or make myself look or act like someone else. It wasn't until I was accepted as a facilitator on the ministry team called “Athletes in Action” where we toured Southeast Asia that I begun to see the magnificence of me. The cultural and spiritual training that I received to prepare me for this experience helped me to simply accept me. I continued on to become an American Red Cross Instructor for First Aid and CPR, Wilderness First Aid, Babysitting Trainer, Level 2 IT USA Archery Instructor, Lifeguard Instructor and Basic Life Support, 18 Years In The Field Of Camping, Level 1 Ski Instructor, continue to hold an ACCT Level II high course certification and graduated at the top of my class from the University of Wyoming with a quadruple bachelor’s degree in education. My time in Africa setting up schools to teach special needs students as well as training the teachers was a privilege and an experience to never be forgotten. I joined the SOAR Team in 2014 and realized that I was still living in my comfort zone. Through SOAR’s team encouragement and the opportunity to facilitate a multitude of groups I started to see another layer of what I am made of. The ah ha moment where I realized that my life experience, the forming of my heart and the willingness to accept me for me was exactly what was needed to reach the groups I was facilitating. Me being real gave others the permission to tear down their walls, take off their masks and together got to BRAVE! I have continued in the field of special education continuing to invite the students and teachers out of their comfort zones and to be brave and show the world exactly who the truly are! ~Dara Kunkle

“Leadership is Learnable”
 ~Michael Brandwein

Lorena Atencio Nagele
Lorena

I was born and raised in vibrant Buenos Aires, Argentina. I now call Orange, California my “Home Sweet Home” that I get to share with my Awesome husband and our Fantastic crew of four teenagers. This blended family teaches me more about myself and resilience daily. With lots of laughter this makes life full of wonder and love. By day, I am a sales director for a food and beverage importer. By passion, I pursue a private practice as an Empowerment Life Coach while passionately dancing Salsa! My main focus is a holistic approach to creating an abundant life for all. The last 10 years of pursuing deep connections and seeing what makes others extraordinary has shaped who I am in my family, as a dedicated employee, a proactive team member and an active member of my community. My degrees in business administration, management, and marketing both local and internationally, allowed me to be the lead instructor of the business program at a private college in Orange County for 5 years. Working with SOAR has allowed me the opportunity to experience each individual’s uniqueness while facilitating them toward uncovering a new level of awareness and a new extraordinary version of themselves. I get to bring my life’s work to the field making me one of the ideal facilitators on the SOAR Team. My work with SOAR makes my soul dance knowing that I make a difference and that each person gets to leave with new tools to add to what they are already doing well. ~Lorena Atencio Nagele

Nadia Talley
Nadi

Hello all, I’m Nadi.. pronounced (Nah-dee). I was born and raised in San Bernardino, California but have briefly lived in Accra, Ghana; Los Angeles, California and parts of Georgia. My favorite hobby is making art of any type, be it performative, visual or musical. I have no kids and have never been married. I am passionate about serving, relaxing, enjoying my life and connecting with folks who share the same dreams as me. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Art, Theater & Psychology, an Associate's Degree in Math and Science and am currently working towards a Master's Degree in Nursing. I work many jobs because I am not so interested in a strict schedule. Currently, while also working at SOAR, I work at a mental health treatment facility for boys, at a school district as a substitute teacher, in many cities as a producer directing art events and black cultural events and last but not least, as a freelance artist both in performance and through commissioned works. I chose to work at SOAR because I was looking for flexible work in nature. I stayed working at SOAR because I enjoy the labor; working with both adults and youth to grow their insides.. like their heart, their capacity to try again and their willingness to understand those different from them. My favorite thing about SOAR is how simple yet complex we are, how we hold many contradictions within us yet always allow the day to make sense. From the bottom to the top, my coworkers and supervisors do a beautiful job of balancing play, honesty and discipline and we often leave work ready to start work. ~Nadi Talley

Ryan Millard
Ryan

Education in Wildland Resources and Forestry, background in outdoor education and wilderness survival skills, owner and operator of Imagination Images. Certifications in: First Aid, CPR and AED (for all ages), and Wildland Resources and Forestry from Citrus College in Glendora, CA I love the outdoors so much, not only did I go back to college during the pandemic, but I even became an educator and facilitator. Someone once said, “Teach them early what you learned late”, and that has stuck with me ever since. Along with my passion for the outdoors, I also have a driving desire to mentor and motivate by sharing my knowledge and experiences with others. SOAR is the best combination of all these qualities, and every day I get to come to work, rather than “have to go to work”. Why do I do what I do? If you got to experience even half a day with SOAR, you would never have to ask that question. Knowing that you made a life-long impact on a person, hearing the excitement in their voice, seeing the wheels turning … it may sound corny, but it makes my day to make others’ day. On the lighter side of things: I used to be a band geek and theater nerd. Still a nerd for LOTR, Star Wars, Star Trek (Yes, you can be both, no matter what your co-workers try to tell you. LOL) Lastly, my dream is to have my own photography business and an educational homestead/ farm/ ranch/ community garden, and I’m halfway there already. ~Ryan Millard

Tristin Lynn Bondeson
Tristin Lynn

I am an adventurer, a listening ear, and most importantly I am someone who loves others. From a young age I was taught to be "Extraordinary in an ordinary world" and so that is what I continue to strive for. I have learned that no matter how great you are you can always top yourself. My goal is to be as extraordinary as possible and to share my light with others. Along with my work with Soar holding a ACCT Level II certification I have also been a Camp Counselor, a Barista, a Performer, a Zipline Guide, a Ropes Course Instructor, and a Customer Service Associate at a fine Jewelry Store. Currently, I'm the Assistant Course Manager at Northwest Teambuilding and Bellevue Zip Tours in Washington state. In everything that I do I want to make a difference in someone's life. Working with Soar is so important to me because I am given the opportunity to change people's lives and transform the way they view the world. ~Tristin Lynn Bondeson

Henry Mario Leyva
Mario

I'm slowly getting my thoughts down in print. Check back soon to read about me! ~Mario Leyva

Rob Aberle
Rob

I joined the SOAR team to challenge myself and others to set goals that stretch us and help us grow. Goals create purpose; purpose creates character; and character is vital to leadership. And I've learned that whether the goal is achieved or not, the real growth comes from the process of trying things that push one's limits. Some of my biggest times of growth were riding my bicycle across the U.S. to raise funds for cancer survivors and learning how to fly. So, when I facilitate, I think it's important to celebrate the successes as well as the setbacks. Since a setback can be used as a springboard to success, if clients experience a setback, they should take pride in the fact they faced their fears and pushed themselves beyond what they thought was possible. Prior to SOAR, I enjoyed over thirty years of working in public service and especially enjoyed the opportunities I had to train and encourage others. Some of these opportunities included instructing in the areas of self-defense, first aid and CPR, driver training, and motorcycle rider safety. In my line of work, I had multiple opportunities to work for and with leaders who led by example, and I try to demonstrate that same style of leadership in my own life. I continue to be motivated by goals and pushing my limits, so I spend my free time mountain biking, skiing, motorcycling on and off road, and remodeling my house. And my latest challenge is building my own airplane! ~Rob Aberle (pronounced like neighborly)

Roger Ellis
Roger

My career in outdoor and leadership programs began as an instructor in the US Army Ranger School as a Mountain Phase RI. My career has spanned more than 50 years including 31 years in the military and 10 years in the private sector as a corporate executive with an international M&A Consulting firm. I spent the last 10 years working with outdoor challenge and leadership team building programs for youth and adults including a recent stint as an instructor at a ski resort with a focus on building team cohesion after a recent acquisition by a larger company. I have worked programs with Outward Bound for Veterans, Big Brothers and Sisters, All It Takes, Peak Performance, Triple Canopy, and SOAR among others. My greatest sense of accomplishment is helping to create a positive learning environment to promote cohesion, confidence, and cooperation as part of team building programs. Participating in these programs has reinforced my never ending quest to fully participate in the life experiences and share in the personal triumphs and growth of the program participants. ~Roger Ellis

Peter Pelham
Mogo

Hi, I'm Peter but many know me as Mogo (I'll explain when I see you on a program, so book one soon!). I joined the SOAR family when my wife and I moved to California from the east coast. I grew up in a family of educators and I teach at a middle school in Chula Vista. When not at school or on a SOAR program, I can be found in the ocean surfing, in the mountains camping and climbing, or traveling the California coastline with friends and family. My approach to life can be summed up best in a line from a Sade song (yeah, I'm dating myself here...): "He moves through space with minimum waste, maximum joy." I am truly about finding joy and wonder in the world! Every encounter I have is an opportunity to connect and learn from others. Working through challenges faced on a course or in "real life" adds meaning to my existence. The experience often shows me that I am more than I thought I was. It allows me to tap potential I may have overlooked. It helps expand my understanding of the world around me and my place in it. I consider myself lucky to have been chosen to be a part of this SOAR family! I have learned so much from these amazing facilitators. ~Peter "Mogo" Pelham

"The greatest contribution of a leader is to make others leaders."
~Simon Sinek

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