Hike it Baby started as a small grassroots movement and is now an organization with branches in more than 300 cities, towns, and rural areas all across North America. We are at an exciting stage of development as we grow to an established, dynamic nonprofit organization that provides resources, community support, and advocacy for families to get out into nature with their children from birth. We are always ready to talk with people who are interested in serving on our Board of Directors or on a working group! We seek individuals who are passionate about our mission and bring a range of lived experience, professional background, and perspective. With their help, we aim to serve our community and build a strong, effective, stable organization both now and into the future.
We are a Working Board, and each member participates in board committees or topical work groups according to their interests, skills, and talents. There are opportunities to support programs and communication, technology, strategic development, and many other areas as we work to equitably serve all families who want to get on the trail. Every single member of our Board and working groups makes a real difference in our ability to serve tens of thousands of families in the Hike it Baby community.
Hike it Baby values equity and diversity as key elements of a strong and vibrant community. We welcome people of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and lived experiences, especially those who identify with groups historically underrepresented in the outdoors. The perspective such individuals bring will strengthen our Board and our whole organization, and will make us better able to serve our mission and our member community.
If you would like to join us, or know someone who might, please reach out! Send us a note at email@example.com and let us know what kind of involvement is interesting to you.
Board of Directors
A’Nova joined the board in July, 2018, and has enjoyed supporting staff as they hone Hike it Baby’s operations and mission-driven work to support all families who want to connect to nature. Being outside has been a huge part of A’Nova’s life from her own childhood in Montana and New Mexico to now raising a stepson and son in the Pacific Northwest. She believes that all people who want to connect with nature should be able to do so, in the various ways that feel good to them! This isn’t possible right now, partly because of the long history of how our country and society have included, excluded, or limited people in terms of activities done outside—from generations of subsistence to exploring and adventuring, to farming and other kinds of work, to recreation. A’Nova is deeply motivated by working with others to understand how this legacy affects what Hike it Baby is trying to accomplish now. In 2022 she is looking forward to building new partnerships, nerding out on org systems, and maybe getting on a plane to go hug some people.
Dineo is a full-time mom and writer who was born in South Africa but
now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and their daughter.
For the past 5 years she has been an ambassador for Hike it Baby, a
non-profit organization that connects families with babies and young
children to the outdoors and each other. Dineo accepted apposition as a
board member in may 2020.
As part of this, Dineo spends much of her time outdoors, once hiking 21
miles in 8 hours and she is keen that her daughter spends as much time
outside as is possible.
Dineo’s other passion is for writing and she currently has 4 books in
circulation. Adventure Day, Sunset Hike, Spring Hike and
Summer Camping. These hiking books for children that are dedicated
to nature and were created to inspire children to get out into the fresh
air. They both contain exciting and diverse characters that children love.
In her free time Dineo loves reading nature books to her daughter,
cooking and baking. She enjoys running, camping and hiking whenever
the opportunity arises and her ambition is to be able to travel the world,
volunteering her time to help the needy and using the experiences she
gains to write even more children’s books.
Colin grew up adventuring outside on the slopes of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the waters of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, and the peaks of the Green Mountains in Vermont. Currently serving as the head of eCommerce for Turtle Fur, an outdoor and snow sports accessory company based in Vermont, he leads digital marketing, online presence, and operational initiatives for the company. Colin believes that access to nature is a right of all people and leverages his experience in technology and marketing in helping strengthen and expand the Hike it Baby community. He sees Hike it Baby as a powerful opportunity to instill a love of nature and time outside from an early age, connecting people to the healing power of the outdoors.
Lindsey grew up going to "the creek" behind her house, a small area of green space in suburban Delaware, and enjoys the outdoors in all forms. She had laid her roots in Laurel, Maryland, a city in Prince George's County halfway between Baltimore and DC. With her family, she can be found going on walks to local playgrounds, gardening, hiking, BBQing, and canoeing. She is happiest outdoors, taking a long walk, either pushing a stroller or holding a leash. Lindsey and her husband Danny are the proud parents to Adriana and Axel as well as a Great Dane mix named Stella. In addition to her work as the Executive Director of Maryland Humanities, Lindsey owns a small business with her husband. Baker Cruz Services specializes in translation and interpretation services for small businesses and nonprofits with a focus on expanding access to Spanish-speaking audiences. Lindsey hopes that her work for the last 12 years as an action-oriented, nonprofit leader firmly grounded in community engagement, racial equity, transparency, and inclusivity will help her contribute positively to the ongoing work of Hike it Baby.
Leah is a Certified Public Accountant who works for an outdoor camping company as their controller. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her husband, daughter (6) and a yellow lab. This is her second term on the Hike it Baby board and she is really excited to see everything that HIB did during the last year and a half. She is looking forward to helping HiB moce forward as the orginisation moved through this challanging time.
Adam Kellis, MD
Adam is a family physician who specializes in caring for multigenerational families. He enjoys working with families from the local community in the Portland Metro area and getting to know its diverse residents. He joined the Hike it Baby board after being an active participant with his family because he believes in the mission of getting families and children outside and wants to connect that work to improving health outcomes for families. It is his belief that spending time in nature has incredible benefits to health and building a love of nature leads to preservation of the environment for future generations. In his free time, Adam also enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, and their two young boys. They enjoy hiking their local forests, camping, and playing tennis.
Keira Wickliffe Berger
Keira has been with HiB in multiple roles since 2018, with the birth of her oldest. She was an ambassador for Lexington, KY, and held multiple national volunteer roles, including helping get The Family Trail Guide off the ground. She has a strong belief in what the organization has done and can do in the future. Keira is currently located in NY just outside of NYC with her two boys and husband. The outdoors has always been a big part of her life growing up. From early camping trips in extinct volcanos in southern Italy (where she spent her younger years), to all the outdoor experiences Maryland had to offer. She spent everyday she could working at the horse farm she rode at. She strong believes that being outdoors is important to mental health and everyone should have equal access to it's benefits for multiple health reasons. As a nurse and infectious disease epidemiologist turned mom, she is looking forward to using her public health skills and knowledge to continue to move HiB's mission forward in 2022
Whitney (she/her) started her outdoor adventuring in the woods behind her home in Massachusetts as a young child, continued on to Smith College in Western Mass studying Environmental Science and Psychology, and then continued much further west to Portland, Oregon where she lives with her wife, two kids, two kittens, and lots of trees. She is the Deputy Director at Friends of Trees, a non-profit organization that brings people together to plant, care for, and learn about trees and the importance of healthy urban tree canopy and green spaces in Pacific Northwest communities. Whitney thrives working at the intersection of nature and people and is thrilled to support the Hike it Baby board. Accessing nature and green spaces is an important source of both physical and mental health benefits for communities throughout the world and Whitney is passionate about creating opportunities for individuals to experience the awe that nature can bring. Whitney loves spending time in the garden, crafting, and staring at one of her favorite trees, the Dawn Redwood.
Michelle Ramirez is from Bogota, Colombia, and moved with her family to the US in 2000. She studied at the University of Maryland- College Park and graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Wildlife Ecology and Management. She began her career with the Maryland State Parks and realized her passion was working outdoors and teaching children from all walks of life how to appreciate and understand all nature has to offer, especially in urban environments. In 2018 Michelle started as the Multicultural Outreach Coordinator where she has focused on increasing access to the outdoors by helping to create a more welcoming environment that celebrates diversity, equity, and environmental justice. I am looking forward to 2022 and slowing down, letting my little one take the lead and teach me how he experiences the outdoors.
Blaine Miller-McFeeley recently relocated from Washington, D.C. to the Twin Cities in Minnesota on historical Lakota lands. In his personal life, Blaine spends his time with his wife and two young sons, hiking, camping, and running marathons in any spare time. In his professional capacity, Blaine is a Senior Legislative Representative with Earthjustice, an organization focused on protecting people’s health, preserving magnificent places and wildlife, advancing clean energy, and combating climate change. He is based in the Policy & Legislation office and specifically works to protect public lands and sustainable access to those lands. Prior to joining Earthjustice, Blaine served as a Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado where he covered public lands and environmental issues, among others. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Staff for Colorado State Senator Andy Kerr. Blaine was raised in Idaho before attending college in Pennsylvania, followed by working in a variety of capacities on politics and policy in Maine, Colorado, and D.C. (with a year-long detour climbing volcanoes in Guatemala).
Julio Soria is a trained naturalist and natural resources interpreter. He is a lover of the outdoors who values working, learning, and playing in nature. He lives with his family and their chickens in Los Angeles, California, also known as Tovaangar, the unceded land of the Gabrielino-Tongva. His career over the last 18 years has been working in the government and nonprofit sectors with a focus in the fields of conservation, sustainability, and youth development. His early years in the outdoor industry included work as a trail guide, naturalist, and wilderness survival skills instructor. He currently serves as Stewardship and Restoration Manager at Community Nature Connection, a Los Angeles based nonprofit, where he oversees workforce development initiatives that provide a pathway to careers in parks and conservation for members from historically excluded communities. He is excited to bring this passion to Hike it Baby where he looks forward to supporting the organization's growth and eliminating barriers to the outdoors for every type of family. In his spare time he enjoys experimenting with growing food on his small urban farm or exploring the mountains and coast of California with his partner and child.
Shanti Hodges is the founder and visionary of Hike it Baby. With the help of Jessica Carrillo Alatorre, she brought the organization from being a small hike group she founded in 2013, to a national non-profit supporting thousands of families to get on trails together. She founded the group after looking for a way to get outside with other parents in her area. She quickly realized that her experience in media and marketing could help spread the idea around the country and create a way for families to help each other get outside, even if Shanti wasn’t in their neighborhood. She gains inspiration to charge on with the organization through hiking and adventuring with her adventure buddies, her son Mason and husband Mark. They reside in La Verkin, UT but can be found hiking all over the map throughout the year. Shanti is also the author of “Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures With Babies and Toddlers”>. You can follow her adventures on Facebook
James Edward Mills
James is a freelance journalist and an independent media producer. In a career that spans more than 20 years, he specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving, and practices of sustainable living. Working in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer his experience includes a broad range of expeditions that include mountaineering, rock climbing, backcountry skiing and kayaking. James has written extensively for a range of publications, including news media, outdoor industry and adventure, academic, and public interest. He is the author of the book “The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors”, and the co-writer/co-producer of the documentary film An American Ascent. He is also an accomplished audio storyteller, with radio production credits including Wisconsin Public Radio, the Public Radio Exchange, American Public Media and Public Radio International. He is the producer of a blog and podcast series that focuses on adventure culture called The Joy Trip Project
Currently as a faculty assistant at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies James teaches a summer course for undergraduate students on diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and public land management called Outdoors For All
. He also sits on the boards of directors at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and The Ice Age Trail Alliance. James lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two lovable dogs, Mekela and Sasha.
Rebecca N. Thompson, MD, MSc, IBCLC
Becca is a family medicine and public health physician who specializes in women's and children's health. She grew up in New England, adventuring in the outdoors with her family since before she could walk, and considers the White Mountains of New Hampshire her original wilderness home. Her decision to become a doctor was a direct result of her love of outdoor travel. After taking a wilderness first responder course as president of her college outing club, she was surprised to discover how much she loved it--and she immediately switched her career path from archaeology to medicine. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she spends her free time wandering through green spaces, writing a community memoir about motherhood and medicine, playing unreasonably complicated board games, repurposing found objects, and accompanying her husband and children on all-weather adventures with too much gear and too little sleep. Please visit www.rebeccanthompson.com
to learn more about her professional background and current projects.
Sharon is Group Publisher of the Outdoor Group at Active Interest Media which includes Backpacker Magazine among others. Moving around most of her life as a military brat, Sharon got to experience the outdoors all over the world from a very young age. After exploring many sports as a child, a passion for endurance racing lead to many years of racing triathlon at an elite level before having kids. Her family includes her husband Kevin (married 7 years), Gunnar (5), Amelia (2). Instilling a love for the outdoors and fitness has been a priority for this family and we spend much of our time hiking, camping, running, fishing, and simply exploring Colorado. Sharon hopes that to help Hike it Baby reach the masses through strategic relationships and partnerships within the Outdoor Industry along with telling the stories that have impacted families in the outdoors.
Courtney Schultz, PhD
Courtney has spent over a decade leading research projects for local, state, and federal agencies, with an expertise in the design and execution of behavioral research across the lifespan–all with a focus on integrating nature exposure into a salutogenic healthcare approach for people and communities. A NOLS graduate, an avid rock climber, a long-distance road biker, and a standup paddle board enthusiast, as well as a Type 1 diabetic, Courtney uses her personal experiences to inform her research practices. After earning a PhD in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from NC State University, along with a BS and MS in Parks and Recreation Management from the University of Missouri, Courtney launched Health & Technology Partners (HTP), a social science research consultancy dedicated to improving wellbeing through cooperative partnerships with healthcare providers, communities, and natural resources. While serving as the Executive Director for HTP, she also volunteers her time as the Research Fellow for Park Rx America, sits on the Advisory Council for the SHIFT Emerging Leaders Program, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Missouri. While she is a proud born and bred Midwesterner who currently calls Wisconsin home, she is always planning her next outdoor adventure. Visit www.HealthAndTechnologyPartners.com to learn more about her work bridging nature, people and communities, and healthcare.
Mauricio Valadrian has been part of the HiB’s Board of Directors since 2018, he is a first-generation Colombian immigrant, father of four, who worked as a Spanish Language broadcast professional for two decades, and for the last six years has worked as a JEDI (Justice Diversity Equity & Inclusion) Consultant and Multicultural Communications strategist, in partnership with organizations in the private and governmental sectors nationally and across the world. Mauricio’s work centers around advocacy for diversifying access and usage of public natural areas for families with young children and underrepresented communities. He serves as vice-Chair for the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee. In collaboration with US Fish and Wildlife Service, Mauricio manages the NW Family Daycation App, a mobile platform for iOS and Android designed as a point of entry for underrepresented communities to connect with nearby nature in the Portland Metro region.
Do I need previous board experience?
No! Some of our board members have previously served on nonprofit boards, and some have not. Having a range of experience is actually really helpful. The most important thing is that you have a commitment to Hike it Baby’s mission, and the time to be involved and bring your knowledge and talents to the organization.
How many people are on your board?
The Hike it Baby bylaws include a Board of Directors with 12 seats. This includes a Founder Seat, which is a permanent position for Shanti Hodges, our founder, and 4 officer positions that are elected by the board from among currently-serving members.
How often do you meet?
The full Board of Directors meets 4 times each year, on a quarterly basis. One annual meeting is in-person, and the others are held via teleconference. Standing committees and working groups meet more frequently, on a schedule set by the specific group. Most Board Members commit about 10 hours per month to their Hike it Baby Board service (including meetings, regular Board communication, individual projects in their areas of expertise, and work groups).
How long is a board term?
Each board term is 2 years. Board members in good standing can request to be reappointed at the conclusion of their term.
What exactly does the board do?
Like all non-profit boards, Hike it Baby’s Board of Directors is the highest governing body of the organization. Our main role is to advance Hike it Baby’s mission through a range of activities from strategic planning and program development, to advocating for Hike it Baby’s work, to fundraising and public communication. The Board has governance responsibilities that include legal and financial oversight, and also is responsible for hiring and providing support to the Executive Director of Hike it Baby. The Executive Director (ED) oversees the daily implementation of strategy and operations at Hike it Baby, in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. The ED directs all activities of staff teams, program administration, and financial management. The ED also serves as the primary liaison between Board and Staff, and as such participates in many working meetings along with the Board of Directors. The ED is not a member of the Board, and does not cast a vote in any voting actions by the Board.
I don’t know if I have time to be a Board member right now. Can I just be on a committee of working group?
Absolutely. Standing Committees, including the Finance Committee and Board Development Committee, generally hold brief meetings on a monthly basis. Working groups involve Board members, staff members, and other volunteers in specific shorter-term projects or areas of development. We have a variety of working groups at any given time, depending on the current needs of the organization and focused in areas such as partnership development, equity topics brand and marketing, community outreach, and more.
How do I get involved?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, telling us a little bit about yourself and your interests. We will connect you to a current Board member who can talk with you about the next steps.
Any issues, thoughts, suggestions, support, concerns or grievances can be submitted to email@example.com.