A Richmond native, I have been calling Fredericksburg home for my entire adult life. I came to Fredericksburg in August 1992 to attend Mary Washington College. I fell in love with the city, and my husband, Marcus, so I never left.
We are raising three outdoor-loving kids, Della , Preston, and William. We enjoy spending family time camping, biking, gardening, and hanging out with our friends and extended family. I was recently elected to the Fredericksburg City School Board from Ward 2 and I am a Den Leader for Cub Scout Pack 802.
As a kid growing up near the James River, I have fond memories of canoeing in our dark green Old Town canoe and fishing with my parents and my brothers.
When I was 11 years old, my parents sent me to summer camp. At camp, we practiced our paddling skills went on an overnight paddle / camping trip on the Pamunkey River. It poured rain the entire time! As the smallest kid in our group (and likely the weakest paddler), my camp counselors moved me from canoe to canoe. Armed with a gallon milk jug which had been cut in half, it became my job to bail out the water and then move on to the next boat. We were all soaked and exhausted by the end of the two-day trip, but it is an experience that I will never forget.
I started work here at FOR as the membership coordinator in August. It is an awesome work environment with truly fantastic co-workers. I have never felt so comfortable and so supported in a workplace in such a short time.
In September, barely one month after starting work here, I was invited to join in on a staff paddle day. The river was high enough from all of the rain that we were going to paddle the confluence. I was a bit nervous; the thought of paddling in a single kayak through the rapids in a relatively fast-moving, rocky part of the river with my new co-workers was a bit daunting. My mind was racing: What if I fall out of the boat, or get stuck on the rocks, or lose my paddle, or do something else to embarrass myself somehow? My brand new co-workers were so kind, putting my mind at ease and assuring me that they would keep me safe and that it would be an amazing trip.
The day of the paddle, I woke up to a gray, rainy sky. I tried not to let this dampen my excitement. Luckily, as we put our boats in, the rain stopped. We paddled for just a few minutes and then took a break at the Confluence campsite and took a staff photo. My stomach filled with butterflies as I looked out across the rapids that were just ahead. I made a mental plan of the path I intended to paddle through these rocks, but the river had a different plan for me. I paddled as hard as I could, but just couldn’t get past this one large rock in time. My fears were coming true; I was going to get stuck! I took a deep breath, held on to my paddle and started rocking my weight back and forth. It worked! I was free of the rock, but the rocking motion had turned me sideways and before I knew it I was at the edge of the rapid completely backwards. In the last second, I grabbed a branch, pushed my paddle against the rock and successfully turned the boat around, just in the nick of time. The exhilaration I felt going through those rapids was amazing. For the rest of the trip I was able to relax and enjoy the scenery. We saw a bald eagle fly directly over our heads! It was the best way to connect with nature and my new colleagues all at once. I ended the day, feeling truly grateful that I have had the good fortune to become a part of this organization.