administrative team


Scott Hazelrigg


Scott Hazelrigg is President of the Omaha Outward Bound School & NorthStar Foundation. NorthStar partnered with Outward Bound USA in 2010 to create the Omaha Outward Bound School.
Scott’s first Outward Bound course was as a college student in Colorado. An avid skier and hiker, a day on skis or the summit of a 14,000 foot peak are among his favorite days. Putting resources in place to provide high quality, outdoor experiences for urban youth through the Omaha Outward Bound School, at lower altitudes (Omaha, NE is 1,089 feet above sea level) are equally great days for
Scott holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska/College of Law (Lincoln, NE) and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX).
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Ben Hoffman

Ben Hoffman

Director of Programs & Safety

Ben Hoffman grew up in Massachusetts and moved around the world until he found his most recent home in the Midwest. He received a degree in Wildlife Biology with minors in Fisheries and Rangeland Ecology from Colorado State University, which led to his discovery of the environment through recreation and stewardship. He has worked as an outdoor professional for the last 13 years and has worked with Outward Bound for 10 years. Ben has worked at the Omaha Outward Bound School since Fall 2014. He currently resides in Lincoln, Nebraska and owns two active dogs. He is a Volunteer Ski Patroller at Mount Crescent and teaches CPR through Creighton University. Ben also teaches wilderness medicine for the Longleaf Wilderness Medicine Company because he believes in the positive impact that it can have on a person’s life by empowering people to respond in both front and backcountry settings.
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Todd Mercural-Chapman

Director of Operations

Todd is an Omaha native with 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and leadership.  Prior to Outward Bound, he was the Program Director at the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa, and the co-founder and director of the expeditionary nonprofit Paddle for the Presidency where he educated and registered youth voters for the 2004 presidential election while canoeing the entire length of the Mississippi River.  He holds a bachelors degree from Colorado College and Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
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Lucy Puentes

Course Director

Lucy Puentes spent most of her childhood in Hollywood, Florida. Prior to beginning her education she served in the US Navy. She was assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan and toured the world over three different deployments.
Her undergraduate studies were in Anthropology and she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida. Lucy discovered the outdoors during her undergraduate career. She worked at the rope course, was equipment manager and was entrusted with leading her peers on various trips from Ten Thousand Island National Park in the Everglades to the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee. She then began teaching youth at Thompson Island Outward Bound as a Green Ambassador Facilitator. Lucy’s experience allowed her to gain a fellowship under the Diversity and Inclusion Program with NOLS. She has 12 field weeks with NOLS. She ultimately secured a position as the Rations Manager at NOLS Mexico.
Lucy is dedicated to her work, her family, and hopes to continue this path to have an impact on generations to come.


Kyle Anderson


Kyle Anderson was born and raised in Nebraska, and earned his Bachelor of Education in Recreation Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He has served as an assistant instructor for two years at Outward Bound and also works as an outdoor educator at Fontenelle Forest. Kyle is a Wilderness First Responder and Eagle Scout who enjoys climbing, SUP boarding, cooking, fishing, wood and metal working.


Jonathan Rader


Jonathan Rader hails from a small town on the most southern tip of the great State of Washington. He obtained his Bachelors in Environmental Science at Washington State University of Vancouver. While there he worked in the recreation department assisting in planning and leading outdoor trips. He worked as the graduate assistant for the outdoor program while earning his Masters in Recreation Administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he planned, prepped, and lead most of the outdoor trips along with managing the climbing wall. Since graduating Jonathan has been working at a commercial climbing gym in Omaha and at the Omaha Outward Bound School base.


Meryn Smith


Meryn is a Colorado native and an Outward Bound instructor since August 2014. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Western Colorado State University in Gunnison, CO and taught 8th grade math in Colorado for two years before moving to Omaha. Meryn is a certified Wilderness First Responder. As a child she spent much of her time adventuring in the Rocky Mountains. During and after high school she spent 10 summers working as a summer camp counselor doing jobs like working on a high ropes course and rock wall, teaching archery, and working as the assistant camp director.


Dara Storm

Intern Instructor

Though her chief ambition is to live a life of adventure and wanderlust, Dara passes the time between travels by teaching people how to overcome themselves by climbing a rock wall, building trust with teams and practicing mindfulness. A Nebraska native, Dara obtained a degree in Information Technology. She’s a certified geek who ranks geocaching, board games, puzzles, and reading fictitious crime novels a bit too high on her list of fun things to do. Her favorite outdoor activities include camping, hiking, biking and stand-up paddle boarding.


Emily Mitchell

Intern Instructor

Emily returned to Omaha in 2016 after spending the past 15 years in the “windy city” of Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she focused on interdisciplinary studio practices and art therapy. She spent the majority of her time working with Chicago youth and adults facilitating mindful-oriented, expressive art workshops. In her art and in life, she has always been inspired by nature. She grew up regularly vacationing in beautiful Colorado which shaped her passion and longing for that fresh mountain air and natural wonder of the mountains. Following her passion of working with youth, she has taken on a dual role here with Omaha Outward Bound and is an Academic Advisor for NorthStar. She’s passionate about making a difference in students’ lives by being a consistent care-giver, companion, and role-model for the NorthStar gentlemen.

Kwin Kunkle

Howard Kennedy Lead

Kwin may have been voted “Best Dressed and Cleanest Camper” in elementary school, but has always enjoyed digging in the dirt and soaking up the sun! Kwin is an Omaha native with 10 years experience teaching in Omaha Public Schools.  She earned B.S. in Elementary Education from Creighton in 2007 and Masters in Education in 2011.  Kwin is also a kid’s yoga teacher and completed her RYT200 and RCYT in 2013, as well as training in the Mindful Schools curriculum in 2015.  Working with Omaha Outward Bound School, she strives to create a learning environment where kids can be part of a team, build the confidence to try new things, and explore their own strengths.  She is responsible for developing the curriculum and leading the implementation for the Howard Kennedy partnership.


Robert Gibbons

Howard Kennedy Facilitator

Robert is a native of San Francisco, California, where he grew up exploring the California Coast and Sierra Nevada Ranges. After spending time working for the United Nations in Tanzania, Robert returned to the West Coast where he graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in American Studies, focusing his studies on the relationship between people, time, and place. For the past three years Robert has worked as an educator in the Bay Area, concentrating on experiential and project-based learning endeavors in both the urban and outdoor environments. Robert has also worked as an Outdoor Educator for the National Park Service in the Marin Headlands and received his wilderness medicine certification in the Fall of 2016. As a new addition to the Omaha Outward Bound Team, Robert is thrilled to join an accomplished group of educators and staff. He looks forward to exploring Nebraska and is excited to immerse himself in a new community this summer.

Board of Directors

Erin Murnan, Bank of the West – Chair
Barney Marvin, AcquireWeb, Inc. – Vice Chair
Scott Hazelrigg, NorthStar Foundation – President
Lt. John Sokolik, Omaha Police Department – Safety Chair
Susan Christopherson, Omaha Public Schools
Lisa Dale, Educational Consultant
Sarah McGowan, JD, Community Volunteer
Jeanie Jones, Community Volunteer
Dr. Euclid deSouza, Adult & Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology, P.C.
Sal Issaka, Omaha Housing Authority
Stuart Lundgren, Turnpost, Inc.
Travis Voss, Cox Communications
Julius Agonor, HDR, Inc.


We are always looking to expand our instructor pool. If you are interested in working for Outward Bound as a program facilitator, please contact us at


As a leading organization in the field of experiential education, our instructors are accomplished experiential outdoor educators with extensive experience and training in technical and facilitation skills. Our community and administrative staff are passionate about our mission and are focused on supporting the mission of the school in the communities we serve. We value and seek a diverse range of people who are sincerely interested in the growth and development of others on a personal, group, and larger societal level.


We are seeking educators with leadership experience at other outdoor organizations or in public service. Qualities we are in search of include: character, empathy, commitment, excellence, integrity, and charisma. We need educators who are compassionate and articulate and who can convert the Outward Bound experience into a life lesson. Previous experience in facilitating group dynamics is desired, especially experience working with adolescents and diverse urban populations. Communication skills including active listening, giving, and receiving feedback and clearly conveying expectations are important skills for instructors. Passion for social justice, confidence and humor are vital to the success of our staff.


Omaha Outward Bound School delivers programming through a variety of unique technical skills and diverse course areas. Our school has a specific set of technical skills required. Technical skills areas include: general outdoor, canoeing, rock climbing, and challenge course facilitation. Competence in one or more of these areas is required for an instructor position. A general comfort in the outdoors and remote areas is also required for all wilderness instructor positions. Most importantly, we are looking to build on a basic foundation in outdoor judgment: the ability to manage safety and risk under challenging circumstances./H5>


Outward Bound is committed to equal opportunity for its employment, without discrimination on the basis of race, color creed, national or ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, marital or parental status, status with respect for public assistance, or veteran’s status. Our staff come from all walks of life with a vast array of backgrounds, talents and experience, and are united by a sincere interest in growth and development of others on a personal, group, and larger societal level. Outward Bound staff are trained to identify, assess, and approach risk as a learning tool to be managed, but not eliminated, with the goal of providing Outward Bound students with the opportunity to gain insights and perspectives into their own and their group’s capabilities that are unavailable anywhere else. Our employees are the heart and soul of our organization. Whether you’re leading a group on a wilderness expedition, working with urban youth in their community, or creating a feeling of adventure in the classroom, your job is to help students see the possibility in themselves and the world around them. Outward Bound employees inspire, serve, and lead. We believe we are in the business of helping to create a better world. Whether you work directly with students or behind the scenes in an office, everything we do touches the student experience. Those passionate for exploration and education should apply.


  • 18 years or older
  • Current drivers license and clean driving record
  • Sufficiently physically fit in order to participate in all course activities and to perform in any necessary emergency situation
  • Able and willing to dedicate to the program; the schedule varies and full availability is an absolute requirement
  • Wilderness First Responder certification considered a plus
  • Background clearance including the following are required: FBI and Nebraska criminal clearance, National Sex Offender Registry clearance