Wilderness Heals

Thank you for visiting the Wilderness Heals blog. Wilderness Heals is an all-women, three-day annual pledge hike that benefits the Elizabeth Stone House (ESH), a Boston-based emergency shelter, transitional housing program, and therapeutic community that provides services to women and children who are escaping violence and overcoming trauma. By encouraging hikers to set challenging physical, emotional, and financial goals, Wilderness Heals mirrors the experiences of hundreds of women who have sought help from the Stone House. Committing to hike is a way to grow personally while simultaneously standing in solidarity with women of the Stone House and women everywhere who are working to overcome the effects of violence in their lives.
Wilderness Heals 2011 will take place July 15-17, 2011. Registration materials may be downloaded here.
Go here to view the 2011 routes, and visit our Who's Who page to meet this year's team leaders and Recruitment Committee members.
Want to learn more? Visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Still have questions? Contact Erika Whyte, Wilderness Heals event coordinator, at 781-726-0551 or ewhyte@elizabethstone.org.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Behind the Scenes: The Women Who Run the Show

Wilderness Heals would not be possible without the support of a large community of organizers, volunteers, team leaders--and, of course--you, the hiker! There are, however, a few names that tend to frequently pop up throughout the season. Here's a list to help hikers sort out who’s who.

Adminstrative Staff

Danielle Piscatelli: Danielle is the Event Director of Wilderness Heals and the primary contact for the Hike. She schedules and facilitates all hiker meetings, organizes all updates that hikers receive through e-mail and postal mail, and keeps track of all sponsorships. Hikers may call her with any questions they have regarding the Stone House, fundraising and donations, and the Hike in general. Danielle has worked at the Stone House for four years, and Wilderness Heals 2008 will be her fifth year organizing the event. In her spare time, Danielle enjoys completing volunteer trailwork throughout the country. Her most recent trailwork experience took her to the wild forests of Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Amanda Green: Amanda is the newest member of the development staff at the Elizabeth Stone House. She assists Danielle in scheduling and facilitating all hiker events, keeps track of sponsorships, and helps with recruitment.

Mary Crotty: A freelance public relations consultant, Mary coordinates all Wilderness Heals PR initiatives and facilitates marketing outreaches. She has publicized the Hike for the past four years and enjoys meeting the "extraordinary women who participate in the Hike." In addition to working with the Stone House, Mary teaches at Suffolk University. She enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with her husband, two young children, and dog Maggie.

Team Leader Coordinators
Team Leader Coordinators (TLC) work with Danielle to organize Wilderness Heals. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to: choosing the routes, compiling Hike materials, and overseeing the Team Leaders throughout the training season and during the three-day event.

Liz Varney: This is Liz’s fourth year hiking, her second year serving as a Team Leader, and her first year serving as a Team Leader Coordinator. “I'm so excited to be a part of coordinating an event that heals women on so many levels," she says. "The Hike has brought me triumph, adventure, strength, accomplishment, fresh air, spectacular views, stories, laughter, and three of my closest friends."

Anna Wells: Anna has been involved in Wilderness Heals for ten years. She hiked for the first time with her mother, when she was only 17. Anna has served as a Team Leader in years past, and this is her first year serving as a Team Leader Coordinator. Because she's expecting her first child in September, Anna will not be participating in the three-day hike. Instead, she'll be staying at the Highland Center and managing Base Camp. Anna's favorite trails are in Franconia Notch, and after a long hike, she enjoys nothing more than a big slice of pizza.

Team Leaders
Team Leaders lead all training hikes, and each Team Leader is in charge of one team during the three-day Hike. All Team Leaders are experienced hikers and have participated in Wilderness Heals at least once.

Karin Downs: Wild mountain stories have been a part of Karin’s life for as long as she can remember. Her father, an Adirondack guide, told tales--tall and otherwise--as bedtime stories to rile her before she fell asleep. Hence, her dreams were always filled with impossible feats, incredible vistas, leaps over chasms, and near-death adventures. Karin transitioned from imagined to actual adventures as a teen when she began hiking in the Adirondacks. She later trekked in Nepal, first with friends, and eventually with her children. This will be Karin's fourth year hiking, and it is her first year serving as a Team Leader. Karin is also a member of the Recruitment Committee. She recently returned from a trip to Thailand, where she greeted her new granddaughters for the first time ever.

Susan Genatossio: A longtime resident of Cape Cod, Susan has participated in Wilderness Heals for the past five years. This will be her fourth year serving as a Team Leader. Prior to her involvement in Wilderness Heals, Susan was a "den mother" to her local Boy Scout troupe. Over the years, she has led dozens of boys--including her two sons--through the White Mountains. "I love the mountains," she says, "and I love to hike in the mountains with the companionship of old and new friends as we support the Elizabeth Stone House. I haven't regretted a single moment on the trail, and I look forward to seeing what's around the bend. Peace and go wild!"

Beth Grierson: Beth has spent every summer for the past nine years raising awareness for the Elizabeth Stone House. This year will mark her tenth Wilderness Heals Hike. Throughout her decade of service, Beth has juggled multiple duties: she has been a Team Leader for eight years, a Team Leader Coordinator for three, and a Recruitment Committee member for three. “My favorite hike is anything that gives me an opportunity to soak my head,” she says. When she's not bagging peaks in the Whites, Beth can be found strolling through Middlesex Fells with her dogs, Ollie and Augie. She lives in Somerville with her partner, Julia.

Jenn Guiry: This will be Jenn's third Wilderness Heals Hike, and her second year serving as a Team Leader. She has also served on the Recruitment Committee in years past. Jenn lives in Leominster and enjoys hiking and camping out with her two dogs. "I totally love being in the mountains," she says, "and I'm hiking this year because 'Wilderness Heals' everything." Last spring, Jenn expressed her commitment to the Hike by tattooing the Wilderness Heals logo on her bicep. To read why, click here.

Danielle Piscatelli:
See above.

Mischa Schuler: A Cambridge community herbalist, Mischa became involved in Wilderness Heals after moving to Boston in 2006. She has met some of her dearest friends through the Hike. "Hiking keeps me close to the region's medicinal plants," she says. "And Wilderness Heals is an amazing way to build community and self-trust."

Eileen Twiggs: Eileen hails from Manhattan, and despite the long drive, heavy pack, and black flies, she continues to participate in Wilderness Heals year after year. "I'm truly inspired by the work of the Stone House and by the women who hike these mountains to support it," she says. This will be Eileen's fourth year hiking, and her second year serving as a Team Leader. A lawyer for Planned Parenthood, Eileen's favorite hike is the Lincoln-Lafayette loop in Franconia Notch.

Vicky Waltz: Vicky grew up in a small farming community in Ohio, where the closest she ever came to exploring the backcountry was bushwacking through the cornfield behind her grandparent’s house. She became involved in Wilderness Heals shortly after moving to Boston three years ago. This will be her fourth year hiking, and it is her first year serving as a Team Leader. A three-year member of the Recruitment Committee, she also manages the Wilderness Heals blog. Vicky’s favorite outdoor activities include hiking, camping, biking, and wearing her head lamp.

Recruitment Committee
Members of the Wilderness Heals Recruitment Committee are responsible for organizing tabling events at local festivals and performances, leading recruitment hikes, postering fliers throughout the community, and--in general--drumming up support for the Hike. Last year, it launched the Wilderness Heals blog.

Monica Chopra: Monica became involved in Wilderness Heals two years ago after moving to Boston from Atlanta. This is her second year serving on the Recruitment Committee. Although numerous out-of-town weddings will prevent her from participating in this year's three-day Hike, Monica recruited tirelessly over the winter. Her hard work resulted in four universities choosing the Elizabeth Stone House to be the beneficiary of four Vagina Monologues performances. "I am glad to help get the word out for the Hike," she says. "The work I do for the Stone House is so different from what I do on a daily basis. It’s truly an exhilarating experience.”

Karin Downs: See above.

Annette Glendon-Walker: Born and raised in Ireland, Annette became involved in Wilderness Heals in 2006. Although she was unable to hike last year--she gave birth to a baby girl in July--she remained active by volunteering with the Recruitment Committee, an activity she resumed this year as well. Annette plans to be back on the trails this spring. "I can't wait to reconnect with other hikers--and to leave the baby with Dad for some time to myself!" she says. "To all you potential hikers--what are you waiting for? Just lace up your boots and join us on the most rewarding, challenging, and fun thing you'll ever do!"

Beth Grierson: See above.

Vicky Waltz: See above.

Sue Weil: Sue followed her girlfriend into her first Wilderness Heals adventure five years ago, and she's never looked back. "I had always spent time outdoors," she says, "but Wilderness Heals was the first time I carried more than a day-pack. My favorite part of the Wilderness Heals experience is spending so much time with other hikers throughout the training season. As for the Hike itself, it has been great, and every year I'm challenged anew." This is Sue's first year officially serving on the Recruitment Committee, although in years past, she tabled at events and led recruitment hikes with former Recruitment Committee member and girlfriend, Sandy.

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