We invite you to read through our qualifications. VAB is extremely proud of its skilled and devoted staff and the customized programs they accomplish with both adults and youth. Another recent qualification for VAB staff was to receive the Mental Health First Aid for Youth training.
Paula Cheatwood, lifelong outdoorswoman who studied education, psychology and sociology before going on to help develop and run the Adventure Challenge School in Manchester, Connecticut. The school gave inner-city youth a taste of the great outdoors through rock climbing, caving, cross-country skiing, sailing, ropes courses, and other challenges.
Paula is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School. She has summited Mt. McKinley, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Devil’s Tower and spent quite a bit of time backpacking in the Absaroka Mountain Range, Wind River Mountains and Canyonlands. Paula also participated in a mapping expedition of virgin parts in Wind Cave, South Dakota.
Paula now works as a team-development facilitator for companies across the country. (Action Learning Center, Adventure Associates Inc., Adventure Links, Ascend, Ascend Development Group, Grand Dynamics International, InnerQuest, InnerWorks, Outward Bound Professional and Verdun Adventure Bound). She works with youth and adults in an outdoor setting on low and high ropes courses and indoors using initiatives, games and problem-solving activities to encourage conversation amongst the group and increase the possibility of growth, change and productivity.
A few of the clients she has worked with include: Altria (Territory Sales Managers, Taste Department, Human Resources Department, Inner Communication), Clark Construction, Clark Realty Capitol, CVS District Managers and Pharmacy Supervisors, Leadership Washington, Leadership Baltimore, Leadership Philadelphia, Leadership Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, Merrill Lynch, Philip Morris International, State Department (A-100 Class, CS, FSI) The World Bank, US Army, US Postal Service, Wedding Wire.
Paula is certified in First Aid, CPR, AED and has Lifeguard Certification. She has had more than twenty years of experience in facilitating with youth and adult programs on low and high element ropes courses.
Priscilla Craig is a member of Passage Creek Shires and Friends Foundation, which operates the Verdun Equine Program. Priscilla is trained in Natural Lifemanship equine-assisted psychotherapy. She is also qualified to teach basic English and Western riding and all aspects of horse care management. Priscilla has been a summer camp volunteer counselor for the past two years. She owns her own farm where she breeds, trains and shows Shire draft horses. Priscilla is a skilled cart horse driver which she demonstrates at Verdun events. Lastly, Priscilla is an author of a children’s book called The Story of Luke.
Molly Fairhurst has worked with kids in professional outdoor settings for over fifteen years; from teaching sailing, working at an outdoor alternative school to working as the Recreation Director and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at a residential treatment facility for kids. She believes in the power of play and the outdoors, knowing that both offer kids and adults alike the chance to grow in ways they wouldn’t in other settings. Molly has worked professionally with children ranging in age from five years old through adolescence and teenage years. She prefers to let the group dynamics and process dictate much of what is done throughout an activity knowing the real learning and growth that can occur can’t be planned. Molly has experience managing a facility pool, lifeguarding, teaching water safety and basic swimming skills as a Water Safety Instructor. She has been certified as a Wilderness First Responder for over twelve years and has had other extensive trainings in both first aid and CPR through various jobs and organizations.
William Edison Fairhurst is the VAB Challenge Course Manager. Will has been working with children, adolescents and families on multiple levels since 1997. He began his career in Holyoke, Massachusetts at the Center for School Crisis and Assessment where he grew to be the site coordinator of School Transition and Employment Project (STEP). Will transitioned to teaching special education in a behavioral modification setting in the Springfield Public School system for two years prior to moving to Virginia. Will was also a High School Varsity Football coach from 1997-2003. Since moving to Virginia Will has worked in multiple roles and settings. From a large residential facility to smaller group homes in the community Will has held such positions as Director of Residential Services, Trainer, Group Home Manager and Supervisor. Working with individuals and families became Will’s focus and he moved into the field of Community Based Mental Health. Will’s credentials include: Graduate of Westfield State College 1996 BS in Criminal Justice; Red Cross Instructor CPR/AED and First Aid since 2006; Handle With Care Instructor since 2008; Therapeutic Options Instructor since 2006; VAB Ropes Course Qualified Facilitator since 2007.
Carmen Fox worked in Fauquier County Schools for ten years as a paraprofessional when she decided to attend Lord Fairfax where she earned her associates degree in Education. She continued her education at George Mason University working towards a Psychology major, while working full time for Richard Milburn Alternative School in Prince William County working with at-risk individuals. She completed her Bachelor of Science, Counseling in Human Services with a minor in Psychology from Old Dominion University in 2005. After working for two years in the counseling field doing in-home counseling, therapeutic assisting and mentoring, Carmen returned to Fauquier County Schools for the next seven years working as a special needs teacher while earning her teaching certification for K-12 General. Ed/Special Education. During this time she taught individuals with developmental disabilities diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and Autism and incorporated teachings by taking them into the community providing life skills. Carmen also served 5 years as an appointed member of the Social Services Board, Fauquier County. Carmen is currently working with TIME Family Services at Verdun Adventure Bound working with individuals with Autism. She is busy helping her students become active members of a larger community by providing more opportunities to engage in real world life experiences. Carmen lives in Sumerduck, Virginia with her husband and she is busy with her grandmother in her spare time.
Barry Jacobs is a volunteer and adventure facilitator and is experienced working with families and groups. His expertise is in developing creative and innovative programs to support families and groups and then organizes unique training events for professionals and families. Barry has been instrumental in bringing nationally recognized speakers and trainers to the area to provide professional training, for supporting families and community organizations. Barry is trained in Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and uses horses to provide a unique and challenging training that facilitates growth, learning and development in individuals, families and groups. He is very concerned about families with special needs children and is involved in TIME Family Services and Verdun’s weekend adventures for families and individuals. Barry is developing programing for first responders to meet the challenging and demanding needs of (police, fire, Ems, 911 dispatchers, ER hospital staff and other emergency service providers). His special interests include sports psychology, challenge and adventure to improve individual and team performance, stress management and resiliency.
Honore Hastings graduated from the University of Maryland with a General Studies/Physical Education Degree. She taught kindergarten through eighth grade in Montgomery County public and Parochial schools for approximately eight years. Honore changed career paths when she was asked to manage a for-profit equine corporation in Chevy Chase, and then was instrumental in the conversion of that business to a 501(C) (3) nonprofit organization. In 2005, Honore and her husband, Rick, moved to a horse farm in Marshall. She continued her work in the non-profit field and in May of 2013, she was asked to join the Verdun Adventure Bound team as the executive director. She is the proud mother of two grown children: Eric is an Air Force Major and is currently teaching mathematics at the Academy; daughter Erin is a professional horse trainer and rider in Marshall, Virginia.
Dennis O’Neill graduated from Fauquier High School in 1965 and entered the US Army, serving two tours in Vietnam. Upon returning from overseas he worked briefly at Virginia Wire and Fabric before starting a thirty-two year career with C&P Telephone (later Verizon). After retiring from the telephone company he spent six years working for the county of Fauquier as a 911 call taker/dispatcher. In his spare time he enjoyed referring youth and adult co-ed soccer, working with the Fauquier 4H sports shooting club and umpiring Babe Ruth and Apple Valley league baseball. He is now retired and lives in Amissville with his wife Sharon.
Dirk Pitts is an assistant summer camp counselor. He has been with Verdun Adventure Bound for six years; four years as a camper and the last two years as a junior staff member. Dirk is instrumental in supporting team building activities with the campers and is also a skilled maintenance worker. He enjoys working with the children and looks forward to summer programs. Currently Dirk is a Culpeper High School senior and is a high ranking member of the JR ROTC program. Dirk was also recognized last year by Verdun and the United Way as one of Verdun’s highest numbered hour volunteer.
Ashley Shilling is a Certified Equine Assisted Psychotherapist and our Director of Equine Program. With twenty years of horsemanship experience, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with local youth and adults. Ashley is the lead member of the TIME Family Services equine therapeutic team. She works with both the person receiving therapy and the family to create a unique and fulfilling experience to all. In her spare time, Ashley is available to teach horseback riding lessons at Verdun Adventure Bound.
Katie Snyder has worked in the nonprofit industry for over 15 years. Her specialty is program and talent capacity building. Katie has worked and volunteered for American Forest, Sundance Institute, Kimball Art Center, Virginia Gold Cup Association, Saltus Grammer School, United State Ski and Snowboard Association and Salt Lake City Organizing Committee. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Park City Film Series, the Upperville Colt and Horse Show and Verdun Adventure Bound. Katie grew up on farm in Rixeyville, Virginia. She attended high school at Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, Virginia. Her undergraduate degree is a BA in Business Administration from Boston University. She also holds a M.B.A. from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, and a J.D. from University of Richmond. She is currently enrolled at University of Pennsylvania for a M.S. in Organizational Dynamics with concentration in executive coaching and organizational consulting. Her intent is to use her M.S. to help nonprofit leaders and staffs maximize their abilities and resources to advance philanthropic causes.
Mike Timm is the artistic director for the Anne Marie Sheridan Amphitheater for the Performing Arts and the Director for Summer Programs. His college education includes a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction. He taught English & theatre arts in Fairfax County Public Schools for 30 years. He has worked with youth in leadership & character building programs throughout his career. The two most recent organizations in which he served as curriculum specialist and instructor are People to People Student Ambassadors Programs and the Character & Heritage Institute.
Billy Wilken first became a certified trip leader in the state of Maine in the summer of 1985. His introduction to adventurous experience as a tool for adolescent growth was profound and now thirty years later, he has a broad range of certifications: First Aid/CPR, Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue, Whitewater Kayak Instructor, Canoe Instructor, Red Cross Bundle 5 Lifeguard, Top Rope Rock Climbing Site Manager, Ropes/Challenge Course Expert. Billy is also a former NCAA D1 soccer player. You can find him several days out of the week wearing a different kind of cap as a United States Soccer Federation National Coach and Referee. Billy has an Associative Arts degree from Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA and a Bachelor of Science degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
Greg Cronin, aka Moose, is the manager of Philip A. Bolen Regional Park in Leesburg, VA. He is a nationally known speaker, staff trainer, consultant, conference presenter, author, and facilitator with over thirty-five years of high and low ropes experience.
Greg was first introduced to challenge course programs as a wilderness instructor in 1980 and has been active in the field ever since. With extensive knowledge in the industry, Greg has worked all over the country with corporations, government agencies, teams, non-profits, businesses, sports teams, universities, and camps. His energetic and dynamic facilitation style is informative, relevant, and filled with “Moose Nuggets.”
As a corporate trainer, Greg has a unique understanding of what it takes for people in the business community to be successful. All of his initiative scenarios are carefully planned to produce teachable moments which lead to critical outcomes and improved job performance. Each training is conducted with relevant terminology, current corporation issues, and critical transition points.
Since 1979, Greg has been leading outdoor adventure trips including whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, and camping. He actively trains whitewater guides and has personally lead over 3,000 whitewater trips. His backpacking include: over 1,900 miles of the Appalachian Trail, time on the Pacific Crest trail, Long Tail, Tooth of Time Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and the Tuscarora Trail. As a bass tournament fishermen for more than twenty years, Greg is a perennial contender for top honors in the circuit.
Based out of Falls Church, VA, Greg is currently a 2015 master’s candidate at George Mason University and has a Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University.
Greg currently sits on two corporation boards, and is a former member of the American Camp Association’s National Board. Greg is a camp standards visitor, advisor to Operation Respect, and frequent speaker at national conferences.
Greg’s corporate clients include: the State Department, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Washington Nationals, Sprint, DC Public Schools, George Mason University, John’s Hopkins, Travel and Adventure Show, Boy/Girl Scouts of America, River and Trail Outfitters. He has also worked with in the federal sector including the Department of Education.