VYCC is fueled by an energetic team of talented individuals.
With backgrounds in education, agriculture, backcountry survival, the Peace Corps, and more, the staff at VYCC holds a skillset as diverse as the youth we mentor.
Farm and Food AmeriCorps VISTA
Ruby was eager to head to the green mountains of Vermont after growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey. She graduated this past May from The College of New Jersey where she studied Sociology and Environmental Studies. She has a growing interest in environmental justice and the ways in which communities have varying access to nutritious foods as well as sustainable food systems.
Ruby spent a semester working with a non-profit organization in Bologna Italy where she helped upkeep urban community and rooftop gardens to provide produce and beauty to an affordable housing district, sparking her interest in horticulture. She started at the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps Farm in June 2017 as a member of the Leadership Development Crew where she fell in love with life on the farm and the mission of the health care share. Now with the program for another year as a VISTA she hopes to develop the health care share and increase farm programming to further fight Vermont’s food insecurity and expand youth food literacy. In her spare time Ruby enjoys hiking, hanging out with her dog and live music!
Dan became the Development Director in late 2017. He is responsible for raising public and private funding through support from individuals, foundations, corporations, government entities, and other organizations. Prior to joining VYCC, he spent 25 years in fundraising for social services, higher education, and medical organizations.
Originally from Connecticut, Dan graduated with a B.A. from Antioch College and an M.S.W. from Washington University. He is passionate about the nonprofit sector and really enjoys helping make great organizations and communities stronger through fundraising.
Being at VYCC has been a very positive experience for Dan. “Seeing so many people come together to address critical needs such as youth development, food insecurity, and environmental stewardship is very rewarding. I am grateful to all the supporters out there who make our important work possible.”
He was also thrilled to come to Vermont. “This truly feels like home, and it’s great to be here.”
802-434-3969 | Dan.Bailey@VYCC.org
Office and Events Coordinator
Laura has a long history with VYCC starting in 1995 as an impressionable 16 year old. She was immediately drawn to the rich community and confidence that came from life on a trail crew. After two summers as a Corps Member, and in 2001 as Assistant Crew Leader, she got her Bachelor’s degree in Printmaking from Maine College of Art. She moved to Chicago to pursue her creative interests, and ended up in floral and event design and also became a certified Yoga instructor and trainer.
Laura found her way back to VYCC as a Crew Leader in 2012. She brings her talent for creative multi- tasking, customer service, and administrative support to her role as Office and Events Coordinator. In her free time she owns her own floral design business, practices bikram yoga, cooks from-scratch meals, and spends as much time outside as possible.
(802) 434.3969, ext. 200 | Laura.Demaria@VYCC.org
Food and Farm Program Director
A Bennington native, Paul studied sustainable agriculture, community development, and education at UVM and Evergreen State College.
Teaching is extremely important to Paul. He believes that his work in agriculture, education, and coaching has taught him exponentially more than he has taught his students. In particular, working with disadvantaged students and coaching high school basketball galvanized Paul’s core values for working with people.
Paul credits his family for instilling a strong work ethic and the importance of “working hard and smart.” Most importantly, his wife Kirsten and their two children are the foundation and driving force for all of Paul’s work.
(802) 434.3969 | Paul.Feenan@VYCC.org
A*C Development VISTA
A Michigan native, Rachel spent her college years traveling, farming and enjoying the breath-taking beauty of Lake Superior. She graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Public Relations, but most of her work focused on sustainability and food systems. She has studied traditional farming techniques in Italy, urban agriculture in Brazil, permaculture in Great Britain and most recently completed a tropical agriculture and media internship in Panama. Rachel strongly believes that communication and cultural understanding are key elements for creating a sustainable future that benefits both people and planet.
After learning about the Health Care Share program, Rachel packed up her bags and moved to Vermont to join the team. As a Development VISTA, her primary role is to support the expansion of the Health Care Share by working with medical partners. She will also support the general efforts and programming of VYCC through fundraising, event planning and engagement efforts.
Rachel is a fan of photography, bluegrass and everything outdoors. This year she hopes to become a proficient paddle-boarder, learn to ski, hike the major mountains and successfully make zucchini bread!
802-434-3969 x 114 | Rachel.Headings@VYCC.org
Health Care Share Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA
Emma grew up in an old farmhouse in Huntington, Vermont and fell in love with the state early on. She graduated from Middlebury College with a joint degree in Environmental Studies and Anthropology, which allowed her to study the connections between people, place, and food. With experiences working on organic vegetable farms throughout Vermont, interning at a non-profit homestead in Vergennes, WWOOFing in Peru, and cooking for others in her college’s Local Food house, her passion for food systems work grew.
Emma first joined the Farm at VYCC in August of 2016 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member working on the Health Care Share program. After an engaging and challenging year on the Farm, she realized the she wasn’t ready to leave and signed up for a second AmeriCorps term as the Health Care Share Coordinator. She is passionate about building and developing relationships with the many different community members who support the program, and most enjoys the ways in which her work allows her to strengthen connections between Vermont agriculture and people from varied backgrounds throughout the state. In her free time, Emma enjoys being in Vermont’s great outdoors, cooking with fresh farm veggies, knitting socks, and summiting Camel’s Hump.
Farm and Food Program Manager
Caelan was raised in the suburbs and city of Detroit, Michigan and grew up swimming in the Great Lakes. She studied Sociology at the University of Michigan, graduating with honors in 2012 with a focus in hunger, children and poverty alleviation. In March of that year, she drove from Detroit to Montpelier, VT to begin two and half years of AmeriCorps VISTA service in the areas of family support, youth development, and nutrition education.
She enjoyed 18 months of that service as a Food Security Coordinator with The Farm at VYCC, a role that simultaneously challenged and fulfilled her. Today her desire to grow young leaders (just like we grow vegetables) is stronger than ever. She is driven to provide Corps Members with daily opportunities to feel confident and literate in the kitchen and in the field, and to learn what it means to work hard on something that matters.
Cae manages field production, crew projects and Venture Semester programming in VYCC’s Food and Farm program.
Breck joined the VYCC team in 2008 and became Executive Director in 2016. Helping every young person learn from the beauty, mystery, and challenges of the natural world is what drives Breck in his work. He finds inspiration in the creativity, resolve, and corps spirit that young people bring to VYCC. That VYCC has a deliberate focus on enrolling traditionally underserved populations is especially compelling.
Prior to VYCC, Breck was an outdoor educator and Director at Keewaydin Camp, a classroom teacher and Dean of Students at a small prep school, and a development professional in higher education. He also spent three fun years adventuring out west and travelling the globe before returning to his east coast roots.
Breck holds degrees from Lawrence University and Saint Michael’s College. Outside of work, he lives in the hills of Huntington, where he and his wife Margaret try to keep up with two daughters. Hockey, mountain biking, apple trees, good books, fresh powder, and the occasional zombie movie are all areas of keen interest.
Conservation Program Coordinator
After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a major in Environmental Policy and Planning, Pilar spent ten glorious months in Massachusetts with Student Conservation Association, teaching environmental education in schools and maintaining trails around the Commonwealth. Living in this intentional, consensus-based community cemented in her mind how awesome and empowering conservation crews are and influenced her to pursue a career in the corps world. Pilar joined VYCC as a Crew Leader in 2015 and since then has moved to Vermont to enjoy all the maple syrup, darn tough socks and the Burlington Bike Path.
Learning how to communicate with a diverse group of humans, including giving and receiving feedback, is important to Pilar. She believes in giving all VYCC participants, including herself, the opportunity to practice and improve their ability to express their thoughts and understand how they affect other members of their team. In her role as Field Assistant, Pilar has taken pride in helping Crew Leaders reach their personal and professional goals with constructive feedback and open, honest communication.
(802) 434.3969, ext. 111 | Pilar.Lopez-gomez@VYCC.org
Marketing and Communications Director
Llu Mulvaney-Stanak has built their career around creating effective and engaging messaging and outreach that informs, inspires, and moves people to action. Over the last fifteen years, Llu has helped dozens of non-profits, advocacy efforts, and individuals harness the power of digital storytelling through social media, video, podcasting, and radio production.
Llu is a life-long Vermonter, graduate of both Castleton University and the University of Vermont, born in Marshfield, raised in Barre, and has lived in Burlington for nearly twenty years. Llu believes in three core digital truths: anyone can and should make their own media; going “viral” comes from practice or silly luck; bad design will be part of the fall of civilization.
Between Llu’s love of dressing up and zombie shows, it is no wonder their first day was 2017’s Halloween.
Pronouns: Please use Llu’s name or they/them pronouns when referring to Llu.
802.434.3969 ext. 100 |llu@VYCC.org
Hapy joined VYCC in 2015 with over 20 years of finance and operations experience managing Small Dog Electronics, an Apple Computer sales and service company he founded with his father. Hapy has degrees from Northwestern University in Philosophy and Economics. He lives with his wife Jessica and many rescued dogs in their house in Fayston.
Hapy is a USA Hockey Ice Hockey referee and competes as a professional “heavy” athlete in the Scottish Games. Any spare time outside of that, he is honing his craft as an artisan blacksmith at his shop in Fayston.
Conservation Program Coordinator
Hans was raised in Maine, but has traveled and worked all throughout the US. His passion for the outdoors has driven him to trail work and conservation time and time again. Continually adding notches to his belt, he has worked for conservation corps in Maine, Montana, Utah, Vermont, and Texas. Hans began his time with VYCC in 2013 leading a roving conservation crew. Since then he has worked for the Vermont State Parks and the Student Conservation Association in their Adirondack Program. In the winters, you can find him at Bolton Valley Ski Resort running the lift operations. He is psyched to be back at the barn and ready to get out in the field. In his time off, he enjoys board games, trivia, a good game of dodgeball, and being in the outdoors.
(802) 434 3969, ext. 135 | Hans.Melhus@VYCC.org
Food & Farm AmeriCorps Project Lead
Bio coming soon!
Conservation Program Director
Patrick joined VYCC in 2016 with project management and program development skills along with logistics and operations experience.
Patrick led trail crews with the Southwest Conservation Corps while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. He pursued a Master’s in Sustainable Communities at Northern Arizona University and launched a composting operation there before starting his own compost business. He then completed a major restoration project on National Forest lands across Northern Arizona.
Patrick is focused on connecting with a diverse network of project partners, and increasing the project capacity of VYCC to expand the organization’s positive environmental and educational impact across the state of Vermont and beyond. He enjoys exploring Vermont’s rolling hills, hardwood forests, mountain bike trails, and many varieties of cheese.
(802) 434.3969, ext. 141 | Patrick.Pfeifer@VYCC.org
Program Services Manager
Bio coming soon!
802-434-3969 x130| Maya.Thompson@VYCC.org
Watershed Partnership Manager
Daniel joined VYCC in 2015 as a Farm Team member. Prior, Daniel worked for the Green Mountain Audubon Center as an educator and sugar maker, and at the Community College of Vermont as an environmental science instructor. Back in the 00s Daniel served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Catskill Outdoor Education Corps and UC Berkeley’s Public Service Center. He also lived on a sailboat, finished grad school, went on a six-month bike ride, found out his Burmese Zodiac animal is the Garuda and, recently, fell in love with kombucha.
Daniel is involved in Vermont’s mountain biking and backcountry skiing scene and does his best to make sure that VYCC’s trails are well used. Daniel lives in Winooski with his wonderful wife, Jen, and a growing number of fruit trees.
(802) 434.3969 ext. 133 |Daniel.Schmidt@VYCC.org
Food and Farm Program Coordinator
After spending the majority of his childhood across the pond in County Wicklow, Ireland, Andrew and his family moved to the US in 1999 to Wayne, Pennsylvania. Andrew studied Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado at Boulder. During college, he developed a passion for community development through food and farming. Andrew quickly realized that he wanted to work in food systems. After graduating, he moved to Vermont.
Eager to become part of Vermont’s thriving sustainable agriculture community, Andrew was instantly drawn to the Food and Farm Program at VYCC. He served as a Crew Leader for the Richmond Community Crew in 2015 and now embraces his role as the Farm’s Program Coordinator.
Andrew is passionate about the Farm’s main project, the Health Care Share, which he finds revolutionary in its own right. He is committed to expanding this important project.
(610) 955.3766 | Andrew.Whitehead@VYCC.org
Community Program Director
John is a native New Englander with 25 years of professional experience in education that includes teaching in Brazil, Qatar, and Thailand, as well as with organizations such as Montshire Museum of Science and Hurricane Island Outward Bound School.
His experiential, environmental, and traditional education philosophies inform his new focus on building VYCC’s presence across Vermont. He believes passionately in the idea of communities investing in their young people, and those young people reinvesting in the health and vibrancy of their own communities.
John loves to spend time romping outdoors with his two daughters, reigniting his desire to learn the bluegrass mandolin, making the perfect BLT, and finding the next great bike ride on the back roads of Vermont.
(802) 434.3969, ext. 131 | John.Woodward@VYCC.org
Thomas founded VYCC in 1986 and led the organization through immense growth over three decades. A former Crew Leader for the Youth Conservation Corps in Young Harris, Georgia, and Camp Director for the Minnesota Conservation Corps, Thomas is recognized nationally for his vision in making VYCC one of the nation’s leading youth leadership, education, and training organizations.
Thomas received the prestigious Sterling College Environmental Leadership Award in 2009. He serves on the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) Board and chairs the Williston Boy Scout Troop Committee.
Thomas holds a Master’s degree in Experiential Education from the University of Mankato. He is the former Vice President of the Board of the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (Corps Network) as well as a past Chair of the Catamount Trail Association, Recycle North Board, Mallets Bay Homeowners Board, and the Western Slopes Business Association. He has also served on the Vermont Environmental Consortium Board as well as many others, and was a founding member of the Vermont Alliance of Non-Profit Organizations (VANPO).
In the summer of 2015, Thomas moved into the role of President Emeritus where he continues to be a tremendous asset to VYCC. He serves as a resource and as a mentor, and is the organization’s greatest champion. He lives in Williston with his wife, Dana Hearn-Hark, and their three children, Eli, Zachary, and Rosie.