“I am extremely proud of the lasting impact that ARCC students have had on people, on communities and on the environment around the world.”

—Scott von Eschen, ARCC President

MEET OUR FULL-TIME STAFF

Throughout the year, ARCC full-time staff members are shaping the programs for the upcoming season. This group of former trip leaders, world travelers, triathletes, and moms and dads, spend their days orchestrating and arranging the hundreds and hundreds of details necessary to operate ARCC programs in some of the most remote locations on earth.  Regional Directors spend thousands of hours planning the programs in intimate detail so that our Trip Leaders can focus their attention on their students, instead of on trip logistics.  Regional Directors are your “go to” resources when you have questions about specific trips or programs.  They are fully involved with staff hiring, staff training and trip support when programs are in the field. They are all united by their love of travel and adventure, and the desire to create positive experiences for young people.

Scott von Eschen

President

Scott has a diverse background in international travel, business, and adventure travel. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology as well as an MBA from Dartmouth College. He has lived in Spain, Japan and Guatemala. Scott’s passion for the out-of-doors is reflected in his love of fly fishing and whitewater kayaking. He lives in Bend, Oregon with his wife, Kristin. They have two daughters: Campbell, a kindergarten teacher and Andie, a college senior.

What is your favorite place to have visited?

I guess I’d have to say the last place I visited, which was Nepal.

What other jobs have you had?

I’ve been a geologist, a garbage man, a lifeguard and an investment banker prior to joining ARCC, but I’ve been doing this job for 22 years and this is by far the best I’ve had.

What was your first year at ARCC?

1993

Kristin von Eschen

Operations Manager

Kristin has been involved with ARCC since 1993.  As Admissions Director, she will likely be one of your primary contacts with the organization.  Prior to joining ARCC, Kristin worked in Japan for 3 years for a Japanese marketing firm.  Kristin graduated from Virginia Tech with degrees in economics and marketing.  She is an accomplished distance runner and when she isn’t working, you’ll most likely find her trail running in the summer or nordic skiing in the winter. She is married to Scott and is mother to daughters Campbell and Andie.

Contact Kristin von Eschen

What is your favorite place to have visited?

Spain. So much history at every turn. Great food. Beautiful landscape. I want to live there!

What is your favorite ARCC Program?

India. I love the idea of ARCC alumni students having some ownership over the India trip. They are the first ARCC students to travel to India. I like their sense of adventure and wanderlust.

What are you passionate about?

Running!  I love the sense of freedom I have running the trails near our home.

Sophia Weeks

Director of Gap Programs,
Senior Regional Director

Sophia joined our Staff Full-time in 2012 after leading eight ARCC trips in Africa, Asia and Latin America, including our East Africa Gap semester. Hailing from the East Coast, her passion for international relations and development brought her to D.C. for a number of years, before she moved West. A huge proponent of the Gap Year, Sophia spent her Gap Year volunteering in an inner-city high school in Philadelphia as a member of City Year Americorps. Calling this year one of the most impactful in her life, she will readily attest first-hand to the enormous benefits of taking a Gap Year. When not traveling, Sophia is an avid cyclist, photographer, tennis player, reader, and all-around outdoor enthusiast.

Contact Sophia Weeks
Schedule a meeting with Sophia!

What is your favorite place to have visited?

Cuba. It’s a hidden gem! I felt like I had stepped back in time 60 years. The welcoming people, the vibrant colors, the antique cars, the sleepy town squares, the famous Malecon, the politics, everything… it was fascinating.

What is your favorite ARCC Program?

That is such a hard question, but I’ve got to go with East Africa Gap. It’s so rich in culture, in adventure and in incredible service, ranging from working with inspiring high school girls, to monitoring rhinos, to rafting on the Nile (woohoo!), and so much more! Take me back.

What on your bucketlist?

In 2016 I checked a huge item off my bucket list… 18 days rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon! It’s still on my bucket list though… I’m sure it gets more beautiful every time.

Bryan Salyer

Director of Custom Programs
Regional Director

Bryan has a passion for education and working with young adults. He spent two years in the classroom before jumping into the experiential education field. His passion and work have taken him all over the globe leading education and community service trips in California, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Nepal, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Bryan is passionate about creating an environment for life-changing experiences and hopes for each student to realize their potential to change the world.

Contact Bryan Salyer

What is your favorite place to have visited?

Each place I have visited has taken a piece of my heart, has changed the person I am today, but I think my time living and traveling through Central America really opened my eyes to the world beyond my personal bubble and set me on my current path of exploration.

What is your favorite ARCC Program?

Peru has always been at the top of my bucket list so I think right now the Peru program has the most intrigue for me.

What was your last job before ARCC?

I was planning and running outdoor education and service programs for schools all over Asia. I lived in Hong Kong and traveled to just about every Asian country you can think of.

Eben Coenen

Senior Regional Director & Equipment Manager
Eben Coenen

Eben grew up splashing through ponds and pools as a competitive swimmer, lifeguard, and swim coach. He first began his venture into experiential education when he embarked on a three month study abroad program where he literally circumnavigated the globe. After visiting exotic locations, he found himself leading teen adventure and community service programs over the summers, and working as an outdoor science instructor and program coordinator for several years. His outlook and approach to life has enabled him to live on three different continents, experience countless new things, and develop a drive to motivate others to do the same.

Contact Eben Coenen

What is your favorite place to have visited?

New Zealand. I lived there for 8 months exploring all of the incredible things the country has to offer. It’s hard to find a destination with so much beauty and adventure packed into such a small space.

What is on your bucket list?

My bucket list is constantly expanding as I explore more of the world and establish new goals. A few things on my list currently include visiting all 7 continents (only 2 left!), writing a book, and building a house.

What are you passionate about?

Growing up, my passions focused pretty explicitly on swimming, a sport that taught me a lot about discipline and endurance. Since leaving the pool and working year-round in the outdoor education field, my passions have grown to encompass disc golf, rock climbing, snowboarding, SCUBA diving, skydiving, and freestyle rap.

Whitney Hall

Regional Director
Whitney Hall

Whitney has spent over a decade traveling, studying and working abroad. For the past 3 years in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, she worked in experiential education and managed international study abroad programs with an emphasis on environmental education and service learning. Whitney also lived in Mexico, England, and Tanzania, and has a background working as a crisis counselor and social worker in youth and family programs. Her travels started with a summer spent in the Australian outback sea kayaking in the Indian Ocean and backpacking in the Pilbara Desert when she was 18, and she is thrilled to be supporting students to explore the world through life-changing travel.

Contact Whitney Hall

What is your favorite place to have visited?

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to a lot of beautiful places around the world, but one place that always sticks out in my mind is sea kayaking the Napali Coast in Kauai. I would love to go back and spend time backpacking in the park.

What is on your bucket list?

I’ve never been anywhere in Asia and would love to visit Thailand and India next. I also love to camp and I’m hoping to visit more national parks in California and west of the Rockies in the next few years.

What is your favorite ARCC Program?

I lived in Tanzania in 2009 after graduating from college, so I’m especially partial to that part of the world. Going on safari is an incredible experience alone, but what makes the program truly exceptional is the time they spend with local people. I’ve met Tanzanians whose vision is permanently impaired from a lifetime of smoky propane lanterns and stoves, so I love that ARCC participants make a meaningful impact through the solar energy project.

Margo Brookfield

Gap Programs Coordinator
Margo B.

Margo was born and raised in the Midwest but has spent most of the past six years enjoying the beauty and expanse of the West Coast. She developed her deep passion for experiential and outdoor education studying abroad in high school with a program that combines experiential learning with leadership training, community service and outdoor skills development. Margo joined the ARCC team in the office after leading numerous summer and gap programs for ARCC, and could not be more thrilled to continue supporting students in their journey to realize their potential, learn through travel and open their eyes to all the world has to offer.

Contact Margo Brookfield
Schedule a meeting with Margo

What are you passionate about?

I am of course passionate about travel and adventure, but I also have a deep love for cooking (particularly my mom’s family recipes), learning languages, experiencing just about anything outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

What’s on your bucket list?

Ever since I was in elementary school, I have been obsessed with Nepal. I even did a fourth grade project about it and have been reading books about Everest since middle school. So naturally, top of my bucket list is to go to Nepal to not only experience the culture, people and places there, but most importantly to make the trek to Everest Base Camp!

What is your favorite place to have visited?

I think one of my favorite places I have ever been is Guatemala. The beauty of the landscape, the richness of the culture, the amazing food, and the resiliency of the people have stuck with me for years and I look forward to the day that I can go back and rediscover this incredible country!

Danielle Baker

Admissions Coordinator / Regional Director

Danielle is a DC-area native who discovered her love for the outdoors at 14 years-old on a summer backpacking program in the Tetons. The experience led Danielle to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies and a career in environmental education. Danielle has worked to inspire youth to be better stewards of the planet since graduating from Elon University in 2014. Danielle’s curiosity about the natural world has led her to study and work in Wyoming, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York City, Spain, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Alps, and now California.

Contact Danielle Baker

What is your favorite place to have visited?

The Teton Mountains of Wyoming will always hold such a special place in my heart. Some of my happiest memories as a child occurred during summers there, and leading trips there as an adult has been one of my greatest accomplishments to date!

What’s on your bucket list?

There are countless new experiences on my bucket list, but many of them involve exploring natural areas and ecosystems I haven’t seen yet. I will backpack anywhere in search of beautiful vistas, fascinating wildlife, and wide open starry skies!

Before joining ARCC I…

In a previous job I worked closely with raccoons, foxes, black bears, red and gray wolves, and various birds of prey, and even raised an orphaned baby opossum named Crash. Crash is now an animal ambassador at a nature center in North Carolina and likely still thinks I’m his mom!

Clarcie Howell

Regional Director

Clarcie grew up outdoors on the rivers of the Colorado Plateau, where she first found her passion for adventure. She guided whitewater expeditions for ten years and taught secondary English for six, then spent a semester traveling through Asia before finding ARCC. Through leading a Gap Semester for ARCC in 2017, she was able to finally marry her passion for adventure with her passion for education. She is now happy to be a part of creating lasting experiences for students from behind the scenes.

Contact Clarcie Howell

What’s on your bucket list?

Right now, I’m desperately wanting to explore the Middle East. I want to be immersed in the oldest histories of religion and community and I really want to eat the food.

What is your favorite place to have visited?

It’s a toss up between Cambodia and Nepal. In both places the people are so kind and so generous, though they have so little.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about the things that bring people together and get them to connect on a deeper level. In my experience, that’s campfires and river canyons, and sometimes being in an unfamiliar culture.

Jacob Swarsen

Director of Marketing

Jacob joined ARCC in 2015 after working with a broad range of non-profit organizations spanning causes from rainforest conservation to human rights and services projects. Jacob is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where his love for the outdoors was incubated and is an avid skier, hiker and mountain biker. Jacob lives in Bend, Oregon with his wife Deirdre and son Tommy.

Contact Jacob Swarsen
Schedule a meeting with Jacob!

What is your favorite place to have visited?

I love Rome. It’s amazing how it changes from a modern city to historical landmark as you round one corner to the next.

What is your favorite ARCC Program?

I am a big fan of all the Costa Rica programs. They do such a nice job of blending service with adventure in an amazing country.

What’s on your bucket list?

I’ve always wanted to see all of the national parks.