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Meet our TEAM!

Our second annual call for team members had an amazing response – we had over fifty applicants, half of whom I really REALLY wanted to bring on. But, alas, adding a team of twenty five just isn’t practical to a relatively small blog operation.

It was obvious the amount of work they all put into their applications – many of them were very far out of their comfort zones and dreamed big anyway. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You make all the blood, sweat and tears I have put into this site and this movement over the past 8 years worth it.

Choosing only a handful of YOU has been honestly excruciating.  In fact, it has taken me longer than I had hoped as I carefully try to round out our needs with families of different age kids, different locations and different strengths.

But the reality is that YOU are the TMM Team. Each one of you that read, comment, share and get outside with your family. Thank you to each one of you for being here.

Without further adieu, I am so pleased to announce my dynamic team that you will be seeing on the site over the next few months.

New Team Members:

Bethany Gassman

“Start where you are, use what you have” these are the words that drive Bethany each day. As a working mom of two and wife to her high school sweetheart, she strives to be intentional with her free time.

She loves finding adventures close to home, whether it be camping, skiing, kayaking, or hiking. With a degree in therapeutic recreation, Bethany loves finding creative solutions to help her whole family recreate together! 

Jami Rogers

Jami and her husband Greg were born and raised in Michigan, but now call Appleton, WI home.  They have two little girls, Kylie and Nora, and two Springer pups, Reece and Lucie.

They love getting out as a family camping, hiking, hunting, running, biking, and just playing outside.  Jami and her family love spending free time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula looking for adventure.

Jami mostly stays home with her girls but also works part-time as an Athletic Trainer and a Personal Trainer.  She also enjoys helping other families get outside as one of the Branch Ambassadors for her local Hike it Baby branch.

Jen Gardner

Jen Gardner, a Colorado native is passionate about exploring and preserving nature. When not hiking, biking or skiing the Colorado Rockies with her family (and alone!), Jen enjoys traveling the world with her husband and kids.

Diagnosed in 2006 with 3 cranial cavernomas (weak blood vessels in the brain that hemorrhage creating benign tumors), Jen has made it her mission to live life to the fullest.

She writes about her journey getting her kids outside despite sickness on a blog called Gone With Groms. The better the gear, the longer and easier it is to stay outside, so Jen has made it her mission to find the best gear for outdoor families. 

Jessica Floyd

Jessica has always been a mountain woman at heart, but didn’t truly find her place until she worked a summer camp job in Washington State during her college years.  She has been in love with and exploring the wild places of the Pacific Northwest ever since, and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington with her husband Ben, 2 kids – Micah (4) and Lydia (2), and adventure dog Yeti (5). 

Her family is at their happiest outside – enjoying the local pump tracks, hiking trails, lakes, ski hills, and forest service campgrounds.  She is a firm believer in the value of the outdoors to teach, heal, nurture, and foster creativity in kids and adults alike and has survived the transition to being a stay-at-home mom by spending as much time as possible outdoors. 

In her rare moments of free time you can find her running, writing, reading, taking photos, and watching re-runs of Parks and Rec on Netflix. 

Kristin Drenzek

Kristin grew up in Western Massachusetts but brought her then-boyfriend north to Alaska in search of more snow and bigger mountains. Together they now homeschool their three wildlings Zane (6), Eliza (4), and Aurora (2); and try to spend as much time as possible learning outside.

Kristin loves hiking, camping, puddle stomping, laughing, igloo building, reading, science, baking, photography, and watching the sun go down from on top of a mountain; and is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for the natural world and her knowledge of the gear that can get you out there in every kind of weather.

She works part-time from home as an Environmental Scientist and leads her local Hike it Baby branch.

Michelle Fuson

Michelle is an East Tennessee native that lives near the Great Smoky Mountains right outside of Knoxville, TN with her husband, Matt and their three kids – Jack, Eli & Maggie.

You will often find Michelle and her family out hiking, playing in the mountains, or any other outdoorsy activity that they can find in and around the Smoky Mountain region. They love new adventures and sharing their tips that they learn along the way to help encourage families to confidently get outdoors more, all while making memories together!

Connect with them on Instagram: @CaddyWampusLife

Rita Muller

Rita Muller is a born and raised Vermont girl and mom of five children (yes, she knows one is missing in the photo below – she’s working on that!) She works and plays from the northeastern corner of her tiny state.

She likes to think that Vermont is small but mighty. Living one hour from the largest mountains in the Northeast and a major part of the Appalachian Trail is a constant source of outdoor adventure ideas.  

She divides her time between cooking, chicken wrangling, gardening, teaching her children, trail running, hiking, backpacking, and getting outdoors to camp and explore WITH her children.

She and her husband Ryan have a deep love of the outdoors that they seek to share with their children, even though it might look different than adventuring with adults.

Sarah Toal

Sarah Toal is a Colorado native who now calls Jackson, Wyoming, home. Sarah, her husband Evan, and two kids August, age 5, and Harper, age 3, spend their (long!) winters snowboarding, and (short!) summers riding bikes, floating on the Snake River, and hiking. Follow our adventures and general family chaos on Instagram: @sartoal 

Current (and Awesome) Team Members:

Emily Christensen

Emily is a full-time working mama and wife raised in the Ouachita Mountains and currently navigating life in northern Missouri as she finishes up her PhD in chemistry.

Over the years, adventure has become a part of her lifestyle, leading her and her husband Rocky into outdoor activities like hiking, scuba diving, camping, kayaking, fly fishing, and now parenting—their biggest adventure yet!

Now Emily is applying her adventurous spirit into getting her family outside no matter the season to instill that same love of nature and exploration in their two-year-old son, and connecting with other families to inspire them to do the same.

Ginny Galbreth

Ginny has spent her career focused on getting people outside; working with the Park Service, Forest Service, Student Conservation Association and Keystone Science School, as well as spending a decade in the outdoor retail industry.  

She practices what she preaches, so can usually be found outside: downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter and hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, riding her dual-sport motorcycle, running, and SUPing in the summer.

Raised in Virginia, she realized early on that her heart was in the mountains. She has lived in Colorado and Washington, and currently resides in Montana with her husband, 2-year old son, and their rescued cattle dog.

Jackie Semmens

Jackie is a writer and mom of three in Helena, MT. She has two boys – ages five and six, and two year old girl. Originally from the Appalachian mountains of Virginia, she is gradually getting used to Rocky Mountain winters. She co-leads a Hike it Baby Branch.

Her family loves hiking, fishing, cross country skiing and just hanging out by a river whenever they can. Jackie (and her kids) also loves birding, and is passionate about teaching kids about nature and their local environment. When they’re stuck indoors, she is probably either reading or baking (or catching up on laundry).

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie is a South Idaho native but currently lives in Columbia, MO with her husband, Jayson, and four kids. As a family of 6 they enjoy biking, hiking, skiing, camping, traveling, backpacking and being silly. Like many others they’re trying to balance the complexities of work and family life. They’ve found that time slows down when they’re outside adventuring together and appreciate the simplicity and beauty they find there. 

Valerie White

Valerie is a homeschooling mama of two dirt lovin’ kids, ages 6 & 9. She loves spending time with her family outdoors & is a self-proclaimed bibliophile.

Valerie and her family can be found mountain biking, canyoneering & scooping sand in Utah; skiing and building snow forts in Colorado; hiking & hugging cactus in Arizona; and hunting for singletrack, tadpoles & breweries in Oregon.

And if you’re new here, a bit about me:

Amelia Mayer

Amelia lives with her husband and 5 children outside of Jackson, WY. She can wrestle a kid into a snowsuit like a ninja, isn’t above bribing her kids on the trail and is just a better mom outside.

She started Tales of a Mountain Mama almost 8 years ago on a whim, and still loves connecting with other outdoor families all over the country. 

Please warmly welcome these ladies – they are amazing and I’m so thrilled to have them!

© 2019, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Gear Up Guide For Outdoor Families from REI
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