Brendan Clarke (he/him) is a Hapa father, educator, writer, and wilderness rites of passage guide. Born in Washington, D.C. to a family with a long history of foreign service, he has spent the majority of his adult life focused on supporting positive change in his home country. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from McGill University and holds an MA in teaching. He has taught in a variety of settings, from public school in southwest Chicago to alternative, nature-based education in California. He sees transformative education as a form of activism, in service to cultural-scale healing, of both our human-to-human relations, and our sense of separation from the Earth. Since childhood, Brendan has carried a passion for healing the human relationship to the planet, and especially water. In recent years, he has been involved with the Walking Water Pilgrimage, Standing Rock, and the Russian River Confluence. He is a student of nature, yoga, hunting, council, mythology, permaculture, ancestral arts and the greater dreaming of these times. He currently serves as Co-Director of The Ojai Foundation in southern California.
Darcy Ottey (she/her). Since her nature-based coming of age experience at age 13, Darcy has been dedicated to creating intentional rite of passage experiences for young people. Her ancestors include early Quaker settlers of Turtle Island from Wales and England, British coal miners and Ukrainian peasants. Currently Co-Director of Youth Passageways, Darcy has worked with a variety of youth-serving organizations as both rite of passage practitioner and administrator, as well as a consultant and educator on themes of social justice, ancestral recovery and rites of passage. She holds an M.A. in Environment and Community from Antioch University Seattle. Her passions are dancing (especially under the full moon), making folk dolls, and helping herself and others with racial, gender and class privilege understand their history, reclaim their ancestral traditions and take responsibility for addressing injustices that they have perpetuated. For more on Darcy’s work, see her TedxSnoIsle talk, Tying the Threads of the Past to the Future.
Kruti Parekh (she/her). Kruti Parekh is a Coach for Healing & Justice. She is coaching leaders, healers and justice warriors to improve personal and community outcomes. She has been working synergistically with young people and families in the most marginalized communities in both New York and Los Angeles for the last 20+ years. Her purpose is to raise consciousness and resistance against Stolen Land, Stolen Labor and Stolen Lives. Her goal is to help people bring voice to the things that get caught between their heart and their throat and to transform spaces of harm and violence into solace and serenity. She is a practitioner and educator of Transformative Justice. Kruti’s experience includes working with the Los Angeles Youth Uprising Coalition, Youth Justice Coalition, Youth Passageways, YouthBuild Charter School of California, Sisterhood Rising Leadership Retreat and CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget). Kruti has a Masters Degree in Social Work from Hunter College and a Coaching for Transformation Certification from Leadership That Works.
Sharon Shay Sloan (she/her) is a second-generation community steward committed to nurturing communities and communities of practice. In 2007, she went through her first community-supported rite of passage, met The Ojai Foundation and began working in international conservation. Since that time, she has engaged in the practice and evolution of the field of rites of passage, including with Beyond Boundaries, Wilderness Reflections, Global Passageways, and Youth Passageways. In 2012, she became a council trainer and the founding director of the Indigenous & Community Lands & Seas program for The WILD Foundation. Shay worked to expand youth presence and leadership at Bioneers for 18 years, and, over 20 years, Shay has had the honor of working with, alongside and/or for indigenous peoples from hundreds of nations. She is co-editor of Protecting Wild Nature on Native Lands and co-author of the report “Cross-Cultural Protocols in Rites of Passage: Guiding Principles, Themes and Inquiry.” She currently serves as Co-Director of The Ojai Foundation. When not working, Shay can be found in the ceramics studio, working in the garden, and enjoying her son, Kian.