All Forward

By Emma Wharton, GCY Executive Director

Staff Retreat paddling together on the Verde River. (Top row from left: Emma Wharton, Mario Portillo, Megan Dwyer, Chantal Mosman, Clare Magneson. Bottom row from left: Omar Martinez, Jean-Philipe Clark, Alex Metter). The Verde River is part of the homelands of the Hohokam, Hopitutskwa (Hopi), Yavapai-Apache, Jumanos, and Ndee (Western Apache) peoples. Photo by Jordan Rocheleau.

Just like change is a constant on the river—seasons change, rapids change, people are changed by the river—change at GCY is also a constant, and that has been especially true this past year. What we are exceedingly grateful for is once again being able to connect youth to the rivers and canyons of the Southwest. It was incredible to hear the joy, gratitude, and stories of transformation come back from GCY expeditions in 2021. 


This past year, GCY has been reenvisioning our organizational structure and considering how to build a team that will support high-quality expeditions as we continue to work through the effects of the pandemic. Like having a great paddle crew to navigate both the rapids and the flatwater, we are excited to move All Forward into the coming season with a solid team. I’m pleased to introduce our new office staff:

  • Clare Magneson, Development Director
  • Omar Martinez, Field Staff Manager
  • Alex Metter, Design Manager
  • Mario Portillo, Wellness Manager 


For full staff bios, please visit GCY’s staff bio page.


Now that registration is open, we are amazed by the incredible demand for our summer 2022 Individual Expeditions. We are doing our best to support teachers, parents and youth on the river and off, especially considering we are all still feeling the strain of the past two years. The support of our community has continued to be inspiring for us here at GCY. You all motivate us to keep working hard to share the transformative power of the river with youth from a variety of backgrounds. 


As we look downstream, there are some rocks we can see and others that are hidden below the surface. I am grateful for the crew we have assembled to navigate the coming challenges and hopefully steer us towards some flat water where we can look around and bask in the beauty of what is created at GCY. 

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