Thom has been studying with Tom Brown Jr. Tracker school for the last 3 years and has taken classes thru the Scout level. He is also a former wilderness instructor for NYC Outward Bound Center and Education Through Adventure (ETA), a graduate of National Outdoor Leadership School Educators 30 day program, student of martial arts for 18 years, avid outdoorsman, and stay-at-home dad. All rolled into one! Thom was a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) for 7 years, and assisted teaching CPR and Wilderness First Aid with ETA. Thom has a BA from Michigan State University in French and Italian.
Juan Benitez, Director of School Services, is a former school based instructor for the New York City Outward Bound Center, and has worked in partnership with various licensed department of education classroom teachers and administrators. Juan worked alongside teachers to create and design interdisciplinary curriculum as well as classroom activities around academic subjects such as History, English, and Art. Juan has a BA in Art Education and is a professional calligrapher.
Victor Shelden from Primitive Pursuits in Ithica, NY is our newest instructor. He mentored and taught groups of children between the ages of 5 and 13 wilderness survival skills, primitive living, connection with the earth and nature, and how to establish a tight-knit community feel. Inspired children to be curious about the natural world and aware of their relationship with the environment. ⋅ Gained CPR, AED, and Response to Emergency First Aid certifications.
Victor was also an Earth Arts Instructor at Earth Arts, Ithaca, NY, where he ran nature based mentoring programs connecting participants to a deeper sense of self and the natural world, taught wilderness awareness and naturalist skills and instructed workshops in which participants harvest materials to create natural art, crafts, tools, food, and shelter.
We are very happy to have Victor as part of the UKA family!
Assistant Instructor En-Lin (Annie) Huang has a BS in Physical Education and teaching experience as a private tutor, violin teacher, handball coach and soccer coach. She played varsity volleyball, basketball and handball, and is currently the goalkeeper in the Chelsea Piers women’s soccer league. Annie is certified in CPR and First Aid.