Cofounder & Executive Director
Nicky Wilks - Cofounder & Executive Director
Born and raised on Vashon Island, Nicky is a product of nature and community. In addition to his primary work as a youth mentor, lead guide and facilitator with Journeymen, his past professional experience includes 12 years coaching youth sports, 5 years in college admissions, 4 years as a human development guide and 3 years teaching high school. He holds a bunch of certifications and has some letters after his name, but would rather tell you something meaningful when you meet in person.
Nicky is deeply committed to the cultivation of transformational environments, wherever and whenever the opportunity may arise, and welcomes the growth that stems from a healthy challenge. He is a champion of social entrepreneurship and regenerative business enterprise, with strong trust in the resilience of natural systems and the power of human connection. His favorite activities include martial arts, archery, adventure motorcycle riding, and re-discovering the magic of life with his three children and his beloved partner Katelyn.
Cofounder & Program Director
Alex Craighead - Cofounder & Program Director
Local to the Pacific Northwest and a Vashon Island native, Alex is a highly enthusiastic & compassionate educator with 10 years of classroom experience. Dedicated to empowering youth, he earned his Masters in Teaching from Seattle University and currently teaches P.E. at Chautauqua Elementary.
With twelve years of experience as a youth sports coach and extensive training as a wilderness rite of passage guide, Alex brings a unique, creative energy to the Journeymen team. Having personally witnessed the many challenges facing young men today, he is highly committed to providing the space and support for adolescent boys to make a healthy and meaningful transition into young adulthood. A few of Alex’s many passions include DJing, world travel, and photography.
Kathy Lefanowicz - Cofounder, Board of Directors and Treasurer
A CPA by training, Kathy has worked in Public Accounting, SEC Reporting and Real Estate Development, and volunteered these skills, frequently acting in a treasurer role for non-profit organizations.
Along with volunteering for co-op preschool, parent organizations, and education foundations, Kathy has also supported sports and drama programs, religious education at her family parish, and was an active Girl Scout and leader for over twenty years.
Appreciating the synergistic benefits of nature, character development and education, Kathy was moved to provide those benefits to youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity to gain those experiences.
When Nicky and Alex presented their vision to Kathy for Journeymen of nature-based mentorship and rites of passage youth development programs, Kathy joined them in founding the Journeymen Institute in 2016.
Erika Carleton - Board of Directors
Erika has been a member of the Vashon community for well over a decade. During that time she has raised her two sons and served as the Development Director at Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust and now at Vashon Center for the Arts.
Already supportive of Journeymen’s work, Erika was inspired to join the Journeymen team when a close friend shared just how transformative her son’s experience with Journeymen had been. Erika brings her considerable fundraising experience and passion for the outdoors with her to the Journeymen Board.
Karen Chachkes - Board of Directors
An Islander since 1992, Karen and a close community of family and friends raised her two sons on Vashon Island. Having seen the transformative power of Journeymen’s mentoring model, she felt called to join the team.
Karen ran a Seattle based niche media group for 15 years publishing print and digital newspapers and magazines. She stepped away to join the team at the Holocaust Center for Humanity where she served as strategic director focused on development, communications, and events.
Today, in addition to supporting the Journeymen mission passionately, Karen spends time in the pottery studio, with family and friends, volunteering, and exploring.
Kevin McMurdo - Board of Directors
A Vashon neighbor since 1997, Kevin has been inspired to support Journeymen’s work by their commitment and approach to helping the youth of Vashon move into adulthood with confidence and empathy.
In addition to his work with Journeymen, Kevin is currently the President of the Vashon Center for the Arts Board of Trustees. Kevin and his wife, Jenny spend time in community service and raise Golden Retrievers.
Patrick Phelan - Board of Directors & Mentor
Journeymen found me at a time of transition in my life. I had recently quit my job, realizing I found my work unfulfilling, and embarked on a quarter-life-crisis road trip around the country. When I came back to the Seattle area and moved out to Vashon, I met with Nicky and Alex, and impulsively signed up to mentor 23 middle-school boys in the forest for five days.
This trip opened my eyes—I felt inspired by the Journeymen community and curriculum, and I learned so much by connecting with these boys. The experience made me realize I wanted to devote all my energy and my career to helping teenage youth deal with the challenging transition into adulthood.
I received a Masters in Psychology and now as a licensed therapist help suicidal teens build the skills they need to live the life they want to live. I continue to volunteer with Journeymen because I’m awe-struck to see the power of adults modeling vulnerability, and the courage and vulnerability of teens to share their authentic selves with us. And because it’s fun to pretend to be a kid in nature again!
Tristan Carbery - Lead Guide & Facilitator
In 2016 my life shifted dramatically both personally and professionally. I moved away from San Diego and back to the PNW to work for a start-up company whose mission is to shift the landscape of healthcare in America towards a system rationalized around cost-effectiveness. Concurrently, I began to take courses in emotional intelligence–workshops to heal emotional traumas–and began attending First Nations Peoples traditional ceremonies. It was around this time that I first crossed paths with my old lacrosse teammates from high school, Alex and Nicky. It had been over a decade since I had seen them and I immediately saw and felt in them something I had only recently discovered in myself: a peaceful, heart- forward presence. I knew without asking them that they had also embarked on their own awakening journeys. Having all crossed a chasm, we stood in Thriftway trading stories of our personal odysseys. As they opened up bout their new venture, Journeymen, I felt a deep calling to offer my support. The following summer I began working with Journeymen as an apprentice/mentor and have continued to be involved as much as I can.
I embrace this work with the Journeymen organization. Being a guide in lighting a path for young men in our community to follow feeds my soul. I will continue to support these men, this organization and their mission, sharing my gifts for as long as I am able.
Duncan Ende - Lead Guide & Mentor
Duncan Ende has had a passion for mentorship since he began coaching youth lacrosse and mentoring for special education classes in high school. After graduating from Vashon high school in 2013 his passion for mentorship, community and being outdoors brought him to the Wilderness Awareness School where he completed a year long outdoor leadership intensive program. He has been a mentor for youth, teen, and adults there for the past two years. The same thread also lead him to connect with Journeymen where he has been a mentor since the first teen Quest in 2017. Recognizing the impact of his own mentors and role models continuously inspires him to share what he has learned with those looking for support and guidance.
Director of Equity & Belonging, Facilitator
Davis is a changemaker, an educator, lifelong student and social justice advocate deeply committed to connection and community. Growing up homeschooled in Duwamish territory, she was able to participate in various programs that taught her civic engagement, environmental justice and intentional relationship building, which later fueled her passion as an Environmental Science major at the University of San Diego. Davis has led in EMPOWER Women of Color retreats, created curriculum for Wilderness Awareness School (most notably their Wild Women of Color program), and started a nature connection preschool in North Seattle called Barefoot. Her roots come from the Hopi and Purepecha people, and also from Northern Scandinavia. When not working at One Village, Davis can be found camping, engaging in community, journaling, cooking, reading, or standing up for what she believes in.
Adrian Ponderosa - Lead Guide & Facilitator
Adrian hails from the occupied territory of the Ohlone peoples of the east bay area, California. He finds deep meaning in connecting to people in soul-territory, discovering the gifts of the humans of these times, and seeking to learn the languages of the more-than-human life with whom we share this planet. He came to the work of Journeymen by following his heart and the song-lines of mystery that led him to this Emerald Isle called Vashon. He aims to orient the youth of today toward a mythopoetic and soul-imbued story of becoming: becoming a full human being, a proper elder-in-training, one who hears the stories under their feet; becoming a fully-embodied spirit in life, dancing through the intricate web of all our relations; becoming a heart-centered, heart-forward being of respect and truth.
Woody - Mentor & Facilitator
Woody has worked in the fields of leadership, education, and training for over 20 years, and has supported individuals, families, and groups as they connect more deeply with themselves and others in a variety of settings. He specializes in working with youth, adults, and diverse populations in a therapeutic counseling setting.
In addition to his work with Journeymen, has extensive background in alternative and experiential education, working with youth as a mentor and vocational teacher, and with adults as a facilitator for leadership and group development.
Patrick - Mentor & Facilitator
I was raised in North Carolina and I now reside in the beautiful PNW with my wife and two daughters. When I was 18 I began the practice of yoga which led me many places including India, Nepal, Bali, Thailand, and Mexico. My passion for yoga transformed into an intense inquiry for what it really means to heal and be healed. The passion to facilitate healing led me to a variety of teachers and practices. As of right now, the most potent medicine I have found is community. I wear many hats and have many skills but ultimately all my work leads to community and healthy relationship between all.
Orion Malone Zick
Orion - facilitator, aspiring therapist and sex educator
Orion Malone Zick is currently pursuing his MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, with a certificate in sex education. Previously working as both an educator and counselor, he then joined Journeymen in 2018 looking to continue this work in a format that more closely aligned with his values. Systemically oriented, Orion believes that today’s youth are longing for spaces of authenticity and stillness. Through an emphasis on creativity, movement and nature, he looks to cultivate opportunities which allow youth to question, connect and grow. As both a facilitator and aspiring therapist, Orion offers this guidance, education and healing through example, striving to remain open, honest and curious as we all continue to learn.
Malik - Guide & Mentor
Malik Banks is an aspiring CEO who is 23 years old and loves to mentor the youth in the Tacoma area. Malik Banks mentors by hosting youth friendly events such as talent shows, basketball tournaments Barbecues and other events of that sort. Malik Banks first started mentoring when he was 16 by taking care of his little brother due to a single parent household. On Malik’s free time he loves to rap and play basketball.
Wren loves supporting families to thrive. When navigating her own challenging and transformative parenting journey, the support and education she received was critical to her family’s well-being. The special needs of her children inspired her into a deep study of child development and parenting practices that support health and maturity in children.
Wren is in private practice as a Parent Coach and Internal Family Systems Practitioner. She also works as a Parent Educator and Program Supervisor at Vashon Youth and Family Services. In this role she facilitates parent circles, teaches classes, and does one-on-one coaching with parents. Wren is certified as a Course Facilitator for the Neufeld Institute, and has been studying for 12 years with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a developmental psychologist. She has also received the Infant Family Associate endorsement by the Washington Association of Infant Mental Health and is working on her practitioner certification through the Internal Family Systems Institute.
Lee Riggs - Food King & Kitchen Lead
My occupation is not that of a cook or chef. Professionally for the past 42 years I have worked as a lighting / electrical technician in stage, movies and television.
I have on the other hand been privileged with cooking for my family and friends for the past 30 years.
Illuman.org: 2015- present
On a more specific cooking note: I lead cook for a mens group called Illuman. They do a 5 day rites of passage. These rites are often the beginning of men speaking their truth about what, trauma, shame, guilt and scars have accumulated over their lives.
I with the help of 6-9 men provide 3 squares a day for 75-140 men. Including the staff needs, I run the kitchen for 7 days. Prior to this time I organize, purchase, and plan all food and kitchen needs. These rites are often in a remote outdoors environment.
My goal has always been to provide good healthy food. We prepare all food and strive to not use anymore processed food than absolutely necessary.
Mission Possible: I also work with a fantastic organization in Vancouver called, Mission Possible. Their main goal is to help people coming out of addiction, homelessness and trauma and ready them for participating in a work place environment again. This act of readiness helps the individuals move back into their lives providing them with the necessary self confidence and normalcy to take on their lives again. Specifically my part is to lead a kitchen once a week for a Saturday morning breakfast, working in the downtown east side of Vancouver, BC. This particular part of Canada has the title of “most addicted and trauma inflicted area in Canada”.
We generally make approx 160 meals every week for those living on the street. In that case I am the sole cook.
Journeymen: I met Journeymen last year and had the pleasure of running the kitchen for them for their Quest. I am excited to be a part of 2 of their camps this summer.
On a separate note: The mens group Illuman works with men from the ages of 26 – 86. Helping these men work through the trauma, shame, guilt and scars that has occurred in their lives.
Journeymen starts the conversation much earlier and offer the space for these young men to clear their heads and speak their truth. I am very excited support with nutrition this process.
Glenn T - teen, brother, student, lifeguard
My name is Glenn (he/him), I am 17, and a running start student at South. I work at the Great Wheel, and as a lifeguard at my local pool. I live off-island but commuted to Vashon for 3 years in middle school where I got involved with Journeymen. Now, as a Junior, I am returning to be a mentor for a camp this Summer.
Brother Fox (Ben)
Brother Fox (Ben Killian) - Facilitator & Guide
I am so grateful to be mentoring and facilitating with Journeymen. I’m a young man, a farmer, a father, and a lover all of Earth’s beauty. My interests range widely and no two days are the same – I play music (5-string banjo), milk cows and help my wife make yogurt and cheese, and am the owner of an equine hoof care practice.
I guide from my heart and advocate meeting life on life’s terms. I work toward my vision of accepting each part of my experience as essential to the whole – no one aspect being more than or less than. I thrive in the depths and wherever darkness and ambiguity come out to complicate our lives. I work with young men to support others in ways I was not as I navigated my own adolescence.
Office & Admin Team
Lola Reed - Office & Communications Manager
Back at the tail end of 2017, when #metoo and #timesup were making headlines, I saw firsthand what society is doing to our young people through the lens of being the mother of a teenage son: that destructive, immature young men were leading the way into a culture of toxic masculinity.
It was the start of journey to find out how we can change outcomes for both our young women and men that led to the discovery of Rites of Passage experiences that Journeymen have created.
Seeing the transformation and support that is wholeheartedly given to my own son, I am honored and delighted to join the Journeymen team and bringing both my heart and experience in youth-focused engagement and social change initiatives to support the Journeymen family.
Max Zuber - Office Wizard
Max currently lives in West Seattle, but rides the ferry over to Vashon every day for school. A backpacking trip in 8th grade led him to Journeymen, and also to a friendship with both Nicky and Alex. Entering highschool, Max chose to take a Marketing class taught by Nicky, and that led to him applying for a Journeymen internship. That internship lasted for a little over a year, and eventually landed Max an official job with Journeymen. Max does bookkeeping, web design, social media, and podcast editing for Journeymen, among other things. In addition to that, Max also participates as a mentor on many of the programs for younger boys, which he thoroughly enjoys. He also likes to perform sleight-of-hand magic, juggle, solve Rubik’s Cubes, and play hackeysack with his friends.
Walter Moller - Elder
As a Navy veteran, German immigrant, father of two sons, with three granddaughters, this Grandpa brings to Journeymen a diverse and eclectic background of over six decades of life experience and unique trainings.
Sixteen years with the Boy Scouts, much of it with advanced adult leader training, has fostered a joy of working with young men, mentoring and encouraging them to blossom into healthy, mature adults. Having grown up in nature as an only child, I’ve come to appreciate the value of healthy relationships with one’s own self and the world around them.
For the past three years, I’ve supported Journeymen as the resident Elder during The Quest by encouraging a deeper relationship of our youth to themselves and Nature around them as they make their own personal Drums.
Professionally, I have a background in working for 20 years as a marine industry Rigger followed by 20 more as a Healthcare Practitioner of Alternative Medicine. Most recently, I’ve begun a new career as an Author writing my first book about Men’s Health.
Personally, my hobbies include storytelling, drawing & painting, woodworking, gardening and hiking. I live in Quilcene with my wife, Rochelle.
Leslie Emery - Elder
Study leading to a PhD in Psychological Mythology focused my research on how modern culture fails to understand the role of mind or psyche in both human and non-human systems. I now work on revealing the links between the spiritual symbolism of a mythic worldview and the radically new scientific one of self-organizing complex systems. This culture changing relationship is outlined on the website www.nextworldview.net
My involvement with Journeymen gives me a rare opportunity to assist young men in comprehending the staggering complexity of their own selves and the chaotic world which they are struggling to navigate.
Mark Timken - Elder & Facilitator
Mark is a nature-based psychotherapist, writer, naturalist, guide, and an agent of cultural evolution—in service of the earth. He is a founder, stakeholder, and elder for the Vashon Wilderness Program. Mark devotes himself to the life of inner transformation and expression in support of wholeness and self-healing.
Jim Burke - Elder
I have lived on Vashon for over forty years with my wife Mary. During this time we purchased a home we raised our family. I spend a lot of time outdoors and have hiked extensively in the region. Together we have created a ceremonial space on our land. As an Elder I wish to bring forward my experiences that may be helpful insights for Journeymen.
Gary Waldron - Elder & Mentor
I have been involved in men’s work for over 20 years through the Mankind Project, Wild at Heart, Boys to Men and now Journeymen. For the past four years I have mentored men in a local prison who have had long incarcerations and are preparing for release. I live in an intentional community that provides transitional housing for homeless folks, recent immigrants and folks who have been incarcerated. I live in Tacoma and play ice hockey for fun.
Tom Craighead - Elder
I am called to support individual Questers, mentors and Journeymen staff in finding and/or following their life path. Through intentional relationships I can listen deeply, ask empowering questions, and advocate for the other person’s values and goals (not my own). I can help discern, articulate and process what may be inside a person. I encourage and offer love. This call has grown out of careers as an ordained minister (Episcopal), a therapist with a focus on family systems, and a hospice chaplain. I have especially been formed and blessed by 36 years of marriage and the joy of parenting two sons.