Alumni Profiles: Where Are They Now?

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Zipline catches up with alumni of the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound – Brian Asher, Heather Barron, Richard Colarossi and Thomas Malone. Plus, we welcome three new members to the National Alumni Board: Alex Carter, Lisa Chan and Doug Marrelli. And now that he’s participated in his first trustee meeting, new alumnus and trustee Scott Sanderude. 

 

Brian Asher and his wife, Cc

 

Brian Asher

Brian came to the A/U Ranches in the summer of 2004 as a counselor at Sky Valley. After playing soccer, basketball and baseball in high school, Brian was introduced to the beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He discovered that the mountains provided the perfect setting to grow closer to God working together with the staff and campers. During the summers of 2004–2006, he loved working with the ranch hands, Mountaineers, Challengers Outcamp and soccer programs.

The A/U Ranches was a huge shift in Brian’s life. He met people who traveled, ran, spoke other languages and looked for adventures that would help them grow. Thanks to the inspiring people he met at the A/U Ranches, Brian started running marathons, hiking mountains and planning his first international trip.

In 2007, Brian graduated from California State University, Sacramento, moved to Mexico and found a job teaching English. Over the next five years he taught English to thousands of students in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia. In 2013, Brian moved back to California, got his teaching credential and started teaching high school Spanish.  Brian used every school break to travel internationally on a teacher’s budget. He loved the challenge, adventure, growth and learning that occurred by being in different cultures around the world.

Inspired by his time at the A/U Ranches, in 2019 Brian returned to Colorado to finish climbing his final 10 Colorado fourteeners. Last year (2023) was a memorable one for Brian, getting married to his wife Cc, and together they visited North Korea, Brian’s final country in the world to visit. This concluded a 17-year journey to visit all 197 nations on earth. Relying on the kindness of strangers around the world and seeing the good in others has been a constant theme in his travels. 

Brian is extremely grateful for his time at the A/U Ranches, as it completely reshaped his life. Every day at school he shares his love for other cultures, the outdoors and the good of humanity. The A/U Ranches in Buena Vista will always have a special place in his heart.  

 

Heather Barron

 

Heather Barron

When Heather first saw Mt. Princeton and Five Fingers, she was on an airport van arriving as a 16-year old CIT in the summer of 1993. Immediately she was struck with the thought, “This is what people mean when they say they felt instantly at home somewhere.” From that point on she resolved to move to this region when she grew up.

Heather has felt part of an incredible Adventure Unlimited family and community over the last three decades. She loved her early adventures on staff (never having been a camper) in the Sky Valley (2nd-8th grade) corral for a couple of years as a wrangler, and then life led her on other adventures. But she grew up much faster than she’d imagined and returned in 1998 to the A/U Ranches with her husband, who had been offered a full-time ranch hand position.

Heather served as Sky Valley Ranch program head for a few years and then as the first head of the beloved Buckaroos program, when she helped create it in the summer of 2002. She was the CIT trainer in the summer of 2006, worked the first three seasons of the 100 Elk Outdoor Center, has supported many adult programs through the years and managed off-season public access to the rock gym. Many of Heather’s happiest memories involved serving in a variety of family programs – including serving on kitchen staff this past year for Christmas Camp!

Additionally, she cherishes her time and continued friendship with her mentee from the DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council.

Heather still lives in the Arkansas River Valley on land she and her husband (along with their beloved rescue dog, Lucy-Lou) bought in 2023 near Princeton Hot Springs, which faces the stunning Chalk Cliffs with Mt. Princeton peeking over. She has a thriving wedding ceremony business as an officiant and an office on Main Street in Buena Vista, where she meets with couples to plan their ceremonies as well as with clients in her integral coaching business.

Last summer, while her nieces, nephews and godchildren were peaking mountains, riding horses, mountain biking and learning to kayak at Youth Camp, she was creating her recently launched online course to help people who are not professional officiants learn how to officiate weddings for friends and loved ones.

It is never lost on her what an extraordinary blessing it is to look out her office window at the very mountains that so changed her life 30 years earlier. And she is unfailingly thankful to Adventure Unlimited, which made all of this possible through the summer dreams of a 16-year-old from central California. 

 

Alex Carter

 

Alex Carter

Alex was first impacted by the blessings of Adventure Unlimited through DiscoveryBound (DB) Outreach events at his home church in Austin, TX, which convinced him to be a camper for a summer. He immediately felt at home in the mountaineering program, and knew he wanted to stay involved in Adventure Unlimited’s loving community. 

Seeing a way to engage with Christian Science peers, Alex joined the DB National Leadership Council (NLC) and graduated as a part of the 2018C class. These classmates have become lifelong friends, and Alex was thrilled to organize a class reunion in fall 2023. Alex is grateful for every chance he gets to participate in year-round DB events at the A/U Ranches or elsewhere.

Professionally, Alex graduated with a degree in computer science and a passion for systems security. He enjoys his role as an integrations architect at ePlus. When not at work or looking for the next DB event, Alex enjoys rock climbing and is trying to become a better surfer. Alex recently returned from his biggest adventure yet of RV-ing across the country for a year, and is excited to see where life takes him next.

 

Lisa Chan

 

Lisa Chan

Lisa was born, raised and attended Sunday School in Rochester, MN. She moved from Minnesota to Melbourne, FL, in 1983 to work for Harris Corp., thinking she would stay in the hot, humid south for about two years and then return to the beautiful north. However, these 40 years later, she finds herself still enjoying work in Florida for Harris (it’s now called L3Harris Technologies) as an embedded software engineer. She thoroughly enjoyed taking eight years off from work to stay home with her boys when they were little.

Lisa grew to love the A/U Ranches as a camper for five years (1972–1976) and as a counselor for three years: 1978 Sky Valley dish crew (with fellow NAB member Jennifer Franklin) and 1979-1980 Sky Valley Athletics (yes, athletics used to be a choice). Coming from a medical town with a small Christian Science Society, having the chance to meet and befriend so many CS teens during summers at the Ranches had a huge impact on her.

She and her husband, Ellery, have two boys, Colin and Ian, who enjoyed the A/U Ranches for mountain climbing, mountain biking, photography, rock climbing and the ropes course. Ian served as a CIT and then as a counselor at Sky Valley for the Challengers program. The whole family participated in Adult Mini Camp the past two years (2022-2023). Colin and Ian have attended various other DiscoveryBound activities at the Houston Space Center, Boston Freedom Trail, Tampa Florida camping, Orlando Florida water park, camping at Fort Wilderness and camping at Jetty Park with the whole family.

Lisa loves her church in Melbourne, where she’s been a member since the 1980s. Her current assignments are Sunday School superintendent and teacher, and treasurer.

Lisa looks forward to helping Adventure Unlimited through this new opportunity with the National Alumni Board.

 

Richard Colarossi with his wife, Buff, and children, Ellison and Dean

 

Richard Colarossi

Richard’s Adventure Unlimited experience began in 1978 at family ranching. He has since been actively involved with the organization for more than 25 years: in Family Camp, as a camper and summer staff, through DiscoveryBound (DB) Outreach activities, as a DB National Leadership Council (NLC) mentor, and serving 10 years on the National Alumni Board, including as president.

After the A/U Ranches’ 50th Reunion in 2005, Richard and his wife, Buff, reconnected with the organization after many years away from the A/U Ranches. They introduced their children (Dean and Ellison) in 2006 to Family Camp. Dean and Ellison became summer campers and staff members, and NLC graduates; Dean was also a rafting program head.

Being a part of Adventure Unlimited has been the most important experience for Richard and Buff’s family. The life lessons and spiritual engagement at the A/U Ranches has defined their family. “Everything that we do in our lives today has A/U influences,” Richard says. “From Alone With Your Thoughts to taking a moment before starting a personal, business or athletic activity to being grateful and aligning our thinking with God, it all started at Adventure Unlimited.”

Richard and Buff live in Dove Canyon, California. He has been a financial advisor for Equitable Advisors for more than 24 years. Richard coaches track athletes and is a sprint coach for Sage Hill High School in Newport Coast. When not working or coaching, Richard enjoys fishing, traveling and being outdoors with his family.

In 2020, Richard and Buff became empty nesters when Ellison left for college at the University of Tennessee (UT). She is studying to become a teacher and is captain of the UT women’s pole vault team.  Dean earned his master’s degree in finance from Pepperdine University in 2022 and is working as a track sprint coach at Pepperdine and CFO of two start-up companies.

 

Thom Malone

 

Thom Malone

Thom’s first exposure to an Adventure Unlimited activity was growing up in Las Vegas, NV, when his dad was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. After moving to Redlands, CA, a year later, he became active in A/U chapter activities (now DiscoveryBound Outreach) in the Inland Empire, shepherded by Dick and Jeanne Kelly of Hemet, CA.

His first experience working with Adventure Unlimited outside of local chapter activities was 1973 in Arizona and Colorado. He volunteered for just under three indelible and vivid weeks in June (the second year of three) with the organization’s Navajo Outreach Project. He united with about two dozen volunteers around the U.S. at Many Farms, AZ; he gave a brief introduction to judo to Navajo kids, aided with a few service projects; many fellow volunteers helped with the summer school program. On weekends, all rode in the back of pick-up trucks deep into the literal depths of Canyon de Chelly to a small tributary canyon, Black Rock Canyon, feeding into Canyon del Muerto, which included climbing Fortress Rock with a Navajo guide and a half-dozen others; later, they visited Spider Rock.

A five-day motorcycle trip from San Jose, CA, on the back of a friend’s motorcycle in mid-July 1973 brought him to his first summer of work on the Outdoor Work Crew at Sky Valley for about $120 for six weeks. Within a week, he volunteered to be a “kitchen boy” for Nellie. That was the start of seven straight summers’ work and volunteering during the intervening six Christmas vacations.

After he finished his last summer in 1979, he relocated to Folsom, CA, east of Sacramento, earned a teaching credential in 1981 and taught fifth- and sixth-graders for 30 years and third graders for his last two years, retiring in 2015. In 2016, he moved back to Albuquerque to be closer to his now-late mother and his sister, Julie.

Now, he’s active five times a week with Christian Science Reading Room activities via Zoom, hikes three to four miles a day with amazing vistas, tries to play bocce once a week, and is on call to his community on the outskirts of Albuquerque to gently capture and relocate prairie and western diamondback rattlesnakes (33 since 2019 July) and non-venomous snakes away from homes.

Reflecting back on his many, varied experiences with Adventure Unlimited, Thom is grateful for the wonderful friends he discovered and for how it served as a catalyst to grow in a love for the Bible and as a student of Christian Science. 

 

Doug Marrelli

 

Doug Marrelli

Doug’s first experience with the A/U Ranches was attending camp at 15 years old. To this day, he still has many friends from that first camp experience. He came back as a bunkhouse dad with his son in 2015. Since then, his son, Mitchell, and daughter, Marlena, have both come to the A/U Ranches during their DB National Leadership Council (NLC) orientation summer experiences. Doug was also an NLC leader for the 2022Z class. He met his wife, Heidi, when they attended Principia College. 

Doug is a practitioner in residence (lecturer) faculty member in the department of marketing and supply chain management in the Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business, teaching supply chain management. This, as well as previous jobs, has afforded him opportunities to live and work in Asia and the Middle East, as well as travel extensively throughout Europe, Australia, and Central and South America. 

Doug has served his church in Charlotte, NC, as a board president, second reader and other volunteer roles. In his spare time, he enjoys running (10k, half and full marathons), volunteering for various causes such as Habitat for Humanity, and spending time with family and traveling – especially internationally.

 

Scott Sanderude

 

Scott Sanderude

Born and raised in Kansas City, Scott’s first exposure to Adventure Unlimited was driving across flat Kansas as a kid to deliver his older sister to the A/U Ranches for camp. It was the first time he experienced the beauty and majesty of mountains.

After graduation from Principia College in 1983, Scott moved to Northern California to start a career in sales and marketing. He married his best friend from college, Julie Rhodes Sanderude, in 1984, and she furthered his love of the outdoors with her family connections in Glacier National Park in Montana. After four years, they drove cross country to Boston, where he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Scott and Julie have two married children and three grandchildren. Even though their kids were high-level, two-sport athletes growing up, they wanted to give them a broadening outdoor experience and a chance to meet other Christian Science kids from around the country. Camp at the A/U Ranches was the perfect spot for them in the early 2000s.

After working 40 years at three companies, traveling globally, with five corporate moves (from the Midwest to West Coast to East Coast to Mountain West), Scott recently retired from a career driving organic B2B growth. He and Julie now reside in Whitefish, MT, where skiing, hiking, biking, golf, fly fishing and camping are central to his experience.  

Scott says, “I am honored to serve as a trustee for Adventure Unlimited, where I can combine my professional, leisure and religious experiences to give back to future generations.”

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