John Powers, Executive Director"Jubilant JP" has been pioneering experiential learning since 1978. He has a B.S. from SUNY ESF in Forest Engineering, a M.S. in Science Education and a M.S. in Counselor Education from Syracuse University. He holds a Level 1 Certification, Level 2 Certification, and Managing an Adventure Program Certification from the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). He presented at the ACCT annual conference in 2013 and has received coverage in newspapers and TV stations. Currently JP serves as Orenda Springs’s Executive Director. He has made it his life’s quest to motivate others to overcome obstacles and achieve amazing feats. He lives by the belief that the greatest indicator of success is not one’s IQ but self-motivation. He seeks to make Orenda Springs a place where people get motivated to be their best.
Allison Ray, Program Director and Lead Facilitator
Ben Richardson, Ropes Course Manager and Lead Facilitator“Benevolent Ben” is a proud Syracuse, NY, native. He graduated from Nottingham High School and went on to receive his Associate Degree from SUNY OCC in Adolescent Education. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY Oswego. He also holds Level 1 & Level 2 certification from the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). Ben has been a facilitator for Orenda Springs since 2010. He first discovered adventure learning while volunteering with a group of Syracuse City students at Orenda. He instantly found a love for working outdoors, a curiosity for ropes, and a passion for helping people. Since then he has pushed and encouraged thousands of participants to be the best versions of themselves they could be. Each day at Orenda Springs presents a different challenge, not only for the participants, but also for the staff. Ben approaches each group with enthusiasm, a sense of humor, and 100% effort. He hopes his high energy level, combined with a persevering spirit, will help to make every individual experience unique and unforgettable, allowing people to realize their true potential and do more than they ever thought they could.
Larry Craft, Board President and Group FacilitatorA long time resident of Marcellus, "Lifeskills Larry" has been a group facilitator at Orenda Springs since 2006. He holds a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Education, and retired from the Syracuse City School District after a 32 year career as a Middle School Social Studies teacher. He has several years of experience as a coach, at various times working with athletes in soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and baseball, ranging from Youth Recreation Leagues to the High School Varsity level in both the Syracuse City School District and at Marcellus High School. Larry also has many years of experience working with "at risk" youth in conjunction with various programs associated with the Syracuse City District.
Lori Tucker, Group Facilitator"Luminous Lori is a a long-time outdoor enthusiast, "Luminous Lori" grew up outside of Syracuse and has made Marcellus her home with her husband and children since 1998. After graduating from Westhill High School, she earned Bachelors degrees in Biology and Psychology followed by a Masters of Education in Counseling at SUNY Brockport. She has worked in elementary school counseling, developmental disabilities, brain and spinal cord injury, and substance abuse counseling. She has always enjoyed facilitating individual and group counseling.
Lou Rosati, Group Facilitator
Chris Manke, Group Facilitator
James Hancock, Group Facilitator
Julie Powers, Group Facilitator and Equine Instructor
Mary Powers, Group Facilitator and Equine InstructorDr. "Marvelous Mary" is a graduate from Cornell University. She spent two years with Teach for America on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and received her M.D. from SUNY Upstate Medical University. She married "Delightful Dennis" and is mother of our youngest staff member, "Jumping John". Currently, she is currently doing her residency in Rochester, NY in the field of Family Medicine.
Olga Powers, Equine Program Director"Original Olga" has made sharing animals with others a part of her life. Born in Australia, Olga brings an international perspective to Orenda Springs. She has a Masters in Special Education from Syracuse University. In addition to being the director of the Equine Program at Orenda Springs, Olga also teaches Special Education in the West Genesee School District. Her passion to embrace diversity has resulted in the many ways Orenda Springs’s serves special needs populations.
Mary Moran, Group Facilitator"Merry Mary" grew up in the North Country where she spent much of her time enjoying the Adirondacks. After receiving her Bachelors at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, she moved to VT to start her career while taking advantage of all Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains have to offer before moving to Marcellus with her husband, Drew, and starting her family. She
Katie Rudy, Group Facilitator"Kind Katie" grew up in the small town of Marcellus. After graduation, she went on to pursue her love of the arts and earned a degree in photography from Onondaga Community College. Over the years, she immersed herself in nature and discovered new passions such as rock and ice climbing, hiking, mountain biking, yoga, kayaking, traveling, etc, which then led to taking wilderness medicine courses through National Outdoor Leadership School based in WY. She started working at Orenda Springs in the spring of 2016. Her favorite element is the Rockhopper Penguin. She enjoys witnessing others find courage within themselves to push through fears and achieve their goals. She regards life as a learning experience and the outdoors as a playground to build on skills, have fun, and find abundant happiness. Out of her many goals, she hopes to conserve natural environments for all future generations. Katie is thrilled to work at Orenda Springs helping others to discover their potential and develop an appreciation for nature through fun and positive experiences.
Kate Moran, Group Facilitator"Kaleidoscopic Kate" is originally from Marcellus, NY, and is a 2013 graduate of Manlius Pebble Hill in DeWitt. She most recently graduated from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania with her B.S. in Psychology and a research focus in Political Psychology. She has been working at Orenda Springs since 2009, and truly believes in the transformative power of experiential learning. In her spare time Kate loves to be outdoors; from skydiving to rock climbing there isn’t much she hasn’t done. One of her favorite things to do is hike, and she has taken on many of the Adirondack High Peaks, hoping one day to make it through all 46.