Jillian was raised in the suburbs of Illinois, just north of Chicago. From an early age, she was drawn to outdoor landscapes as her playground. The woods behind her home, as well as the majestic Lake Michigan, first introduced her to a sense of belonging in the natural world. When the opportunity arose for her to move away from the suburban lifestyle, she set her heart on the Rocky Mountains to become more immersed in an outdoor lifestyle. Her journey led her west, eventually settling in the small mountain town of Nederland, Colorado to attend Naropa University. Naropa blends eastern traditions with western scholarship to create an education which is contemplative, rigorous, and experiential. Her time in the field of Environmental Studies emphasized deepening one’s relationship to herself, her community, and to the Earth. Her experience at Naropa, complimented by the Colorado landscape, strengthened Jillian’s affinity for and commitment to the natural world.
She found Elements through one of her peers, and joined the team after her graduation. Jillian feels privileged for the opportunity to work on the ground, in the field of Wilderness Therapy. Here, she feels we are able to bear witness to the true depth of each individual, without any impositions from the everyday world of society. She feels that the wilderness unveils our most raw and genuine selves, as we experience a sense of disconnection, from the chaos of our everyday lives, to reconnect to who we truly are. Jillian believes strongly, too, in the potential for growth when we are taken to the edge of our comfort zone, something that the wilderness invokes for her each week she re-enters the field.
On her off shifts, you’ll often find Jillian riding her snowboard, cooking, traveling, and enjoying music.