Jess Parker

Co-Director, Trip Planning

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When I was in third grade, my dad took me on an adventure out West.

We embarked on a 10-day rafting trip down the Grand Canyon with other families from across the country. From hiking down from the rim to the Colorado River to exploring hidden waterfalls nestled at the end of side canyons, I was in constant awe of the natural beauty around me. After returning from that trip, I started to look for outdoor adventures closer to home. I appreciated the joy of immersing myself in the wooded trails in Northern Virginia. As I grew older, I witnessed that a small-group experience in the outdoors fosters incredible personal growth and meaningful connections between people with a wide range of interests and personalities. I feel grateful to be able to craft formative outdoor experiences for students at Overland.

While at Middlebury, I spent the end of my summers leading orientation trips for incoming freshmen. I was always amazed by the bonds that students formed in such a short period of time and students’ subsequent gains in confidence. Those relationships often extended far beyond the days of orientation. At Overland, I take pride in knowing that my work will have a tangible impact on the students and leaders who choose to spend a summer with us.

As I have made the transition from college to the workforce, I have been endlessly thankful for the genuine warmth that emanates from the Overland community. From the moment I first arrived at leader training to my first day as a year-rounder in the office, everyone has welcomed me with sincere compassion. We work as a team to support each other throughout the year in everything that we do. To live, work and play with others in the Overland community in the beautiful Berkshires has been a true gift.