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Meet our team
Katie Watts, M.S. ED. | she/her
Katie worked in public education as a special education teacher, outdoor education teacher, instructional coach, and a principal before joining the team at Adventure Works as the Executive Director. Her varied experiences include leading wilderness trips for youth, facilitating corporate team building, and professional development workshops in mindfulness, equity, social emotional learning, and leadership. She loves all things outdoors including rock climbing, hiking, biking, backpacking, canoeing, cross country skiing, and camping. She believes in people's potential for transformation and the power of community to bring about change and healing.
Beth Hanson | she/her
Billing & Administrative Manager
Beth brings her experience in marketing, event planning and office administration to Adventure Works. Because of her love for outdoor adventures and youth, she has long admired the mission of Adventure Works and is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of their team. Having grown up on a family farm in rural Shabbona, she believes there is no better place to have one's spirit renewed than to be outdoors enjoying the beauty and magic of nature. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, kayaking, hiking, biking, walking, dancing, gardening, museums, theater, concerts, festivals, art and all plants. Her bucket list includes visiting all of our great national parks.
Shannon Kaecker, MSW, LCSW | she/her
Shannon is passionate about working with individuals and families, and believe it's an honor to join and share in their story to work towards their goals. She believes in the worth of all individuals and in their ability to heal. She has experience and additional training in working with youth with trauma. She has experience working with a number of different systems, like juvenile justice and child welfare. When she is not working, she enjoys drinking coffee and playing with her rescue dog.
Jordy Kazeze | they/them
Front office Lead
Jordy is finishing their bachelors degree in psychology with a minor in business innovation and entrepreneurship in December of 2023. After learning about the mission behind Adventure Works, they feel proud to work with a community of people who believe in the healing power of nature. Jordy is known for their caring personality and love of people. They’re also known for their sharp wit and passion for emotional and spiritual healing. In their free time, they can be found snuggling up with almost any furry animal they can get their hands on, enjoying some cartoons and comic books, or simply appreciating and connecting with the land they are on.
Chris Mrofcza, M.S. ED., LPC | he/him
Chris became a counselor after growing through his own personal experiences with mental health counseling and because of his passion for experiential and expressive experiences. In addition to his part-time availability with Adventure Works, Chris serves within the community as a full-time high school counselor. His specialty is working with young-adult and student-aged clients to improve their sense of self-efficacy through creative and empowering therapeutic experiences.
Brianne Maksimovic, MSW, CADC | she/her
Bri maintains a curious and playful presence in working with individuals and groups. She is a passionate learner and utilizes the outdoors to create intentional opportunities for growth and healing for her clients. She has a special interest in working with family trauma. In Bri's spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, trail-running, canoeing, and backpacking!
Chloe Carlson, M.S. ED. | she/her
Chloe is passionate about healing and finds relationships, nature, and adventure to be catalysts for meaningful change. Chloe utilizes connection with the environment and intentional experiential interventions to encourage positive growth in youth and families. Chloe has a special interest in complex trauma, focusing on the body/brain connection. In Chloe's spare time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and camping with her family. Chloe's favorite activity is taking long walks with her dogs though the woods.
Grace McCutcheon, MSW | she/her
Grace's desire is that all would know their intrinsic value. She is incredibly thankful to work part-time at Adventure Works utilizing nature and play to accompany others as they grow in self-knowledge and health. Rollerblading and hiking are her favorite activities during free time. Before Adventure Works, she worked with adolescents in a partial hospitalization program, after school program, and with families and adults as a caseworker.
Claire Taylor | they/she
Claire knows firsthand the importance of connecting with nature for healing and well-being. This inspired them to enroll in NIU's Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, where they are in their third year. With a holistic approach that combines play therapy, nature-based interventions, mindfulness, and gardening, they create a safe and healing space where kids can overcome challenges. By incorporating mindfulness techniques into their sessions, Claire helps children develop an awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, enabling them to cultivate a sense of calm and grounding amidst their healing journey. In their free time, Claire enjoys yoga, camping, tending to their plants, hiking with their dog, and cooking for loved ones.
Cristian is originally from Venezuela, and a native Spanish speaker. He is also a graduate student at NIU in the marriage and family therapy program. He is passionate about working with the youth individually or with their family in therapy. He believes that the environment can be used as a healing tool and learning experience. Cristian believes that having healthy connections with family and friends/peers can spark meaningful and positive changes in people, in particular the youth. In his free time, Cristian enjoys listening to music and he enjoys trying new activities and foods whenever possible and most importantly playing with his rescue husky Loki.
Natilee Morey | she/her
Natilee graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in spring 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She begins classes at NIU this fall of 2023 for a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is passionate about connection and building relationships, and takes pride in being empathetic, compassionate, and warm in all aspects of her life. She loves the outdoors— her favorite activities include hiking, swimming, and sledding!
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