Our guides are hand-selected for their skills and interest in sharing the natural world with young people.
When not guiding Grand Canyon Youth trips, they work as teachers, students, artists, conservationists, and healthcare providers, among other things. Given their sense of humor and ability to facilitate, we are proud to have such talented and conscientious guides leading our trips. Here are some of our dedicated river guides:
Stephanie Jackson | Graduate Student
Stephanie puts her heart and soul into her work with Grand Canyon Youth. With a master's degree in Climate Change and Solutions, she brings a wealth of knowledge and and understanding with which to engage participants. She enriches each trip with her love of art, cooking, photography and laughing.
Tony Cola | Middle School Teacher and GCY Board Member
Working as a teacher with kids with special needs for many years, Tony has seen first-hand, time and again, the join and empowerment that comes from connecting youth with nature. He is a natura leader and young people respond to his great energy and love of the river.
Sarah Baden | Freelance Writer
Sarah has been a full-time guide with Grand Canyon Youth for 10 years. She has a master’s degree in water policy and an insatiable curiosity for learning everything she can about the cultural and natural history of the place. As a youth guide, Sarah is in a league of her own. Patient, competent, funny, knowledgable - she is as constant as the Northern Star. Sara has an easy way with youth and readily connects with them over her obvious love of the canyons in which she works.
Kate Aitchison | Artist
Kate started with GCY as a 7th grade participant. She's matured so much since then, rising to trip leader on our San Juan programs as well as guiding in Grand Canyon. Kate hasn't lost her youthful spirit though, and guaranteed at some point during the trip, will lead a group in some activity of general goofiness!
Kelly McGrath | River Trip Food Packer
You'd be hard pressed to find a more compassionate youth guide than Kelly. Her work with young people began before she was a river guide, when she lead backpacking trips with young women. Kelly is engaging, curious and full of life. Everyone, especially young people, love being around her; she brings out the best in them.
Michael Baron | Retired Teacher and Current World Traveler
Mike was a middle school teacher for 30 years. Today, he remains a constant student, spending some of each winter abroad, traveling the world. Mike's forte is encouraging young people to think more critically about education topics and sharing his wide field of knowledge with them on every trip.
Carol Fritzinger | Logistics Coordinator- USGS, and GCY Co-Founder
As one of the founding members of Grand Canyon Youth, Fritz revels in sharing her love of science with kids. Her enthusiasm is contagious and participants on her USGS partnership programs consistently come away jazzed about learning and inspired by her as a person.
Tyler Williams | Author
What a gift to have someone like Tyler working with our program. As an adventurer and author of numerous guide books, Tyler shares his love of getting out and exploring with the young people on our trips. His casual teaching style puts youth at ease and his broad experiences draw out their curiosity.
Sara Hooker | GCY Alumni, Coordinator and Guide
Sara did her first river trip with GCY in middle school. Little did she know then that she'd eventually become a trip coordinator, a guide and full-time Program Coordinator for us. Having graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Fine Arts, she has raised our Grand Inspiration program to a new level.
Roy Lippman | EMT and Fire Department Engineer
Roy started boating when he was 6 months old. His boating career has progressed out of diapers and beyond numerous first descents to building his own boat and leading trips for GCY. As a fireman and father of two, Roy pulls from a breadth of experiences to ensure the trips he's on are safe, fun and enriching.
Erika Andersson | NPS Park Ranger
Erika was a commercial raft guide for nearly 10 years before becoming a backcountry ranger for Grand Canyon National Park. Guiding GCY trips since 2007, she's the perfect fit to lead our NPS partnerships through Grand Canyon in the summer.