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Environmental Leadership Staff and Instructors

DJ Owens lives, breathes and bleeds Mo-Ranch, and has done so since his first day at Mo in 2009. He is an Oklahoma transplant, and is so glad that he gets to call Mo his home! DJ knows almost every inch of this property due to his widespread exposure to Mo-Ranch throughout the years.

DJ previously worked at Mo for 8 years in both our summer camp and outdoor education ministry departments, and he has extensive experience scheduling and organizing programs within these departments.

As the manager of our outdoor education ministry, he enjoys being an ambassador and representation of Mo-Ranch; he truly loves Mo’s capability to amaze and change the lives of our guests.

“My vision for the environmental leadership program is to continue our focus on the personal growth of the children that partake in our program, team building and teaching environmental education.” 

DJ appreciates that his job role allows him to put every ounce of his training and life skills into helping guests and co-workers obtain the best possible experience from their time spent here. DJ enjoys seeing the smiling faces of his co-workers anytime he steps into a building and relishes in the excitement of guests as they arrive on the ranch.

From 2017 until now, DJ took a brief hiatus from Mo-Ranch to pursue a career in the golf world and even worked on his PGA membership to become a head golf professional. Mo-Ranch beckoned DJ back, and he jumped at the opportunity to return to a place that hosts people from all over the world and enables them to learn, relax, play and pray in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

DJ grew up playing golf and various other sports, and he still loves to follow many college and professional level sports. He only really has one favorite team though—GO RED SOX! In his free time, DJ enjoys golfing and traveling. He loves visiting the northeast United States, especially Boston, due to the rich history and pride he feels in those places.

Stephen attended North Idaho College and received degrees in history and outdoor leadership. He is also a National Outdoor Leadership School, Australia alumni.

Previously, Stephen managed a zip line course in Indiana for two years and was certified as a white-water kayaking instructor in Idaho. Since he joined Mo in 2015, Stephen has worked as a lead counselor for our Teen Day Camp and as a field instructor for our environmental leadership program. He currently serves as a lead field instructor.

Stephen loves the sense of community at Mo and enjoys working with people from all different walks of life. He enjoys being able to share his love and passion for the outdoors with our visiting students.

“When students visit Mo-Ranch, they are able to escape their typical routines and explore and learn in a different, interactive setting. I thoroughly enjoy working with all of our various student groups and enabling them to see the world in a different light. They are truly able to leave after their outdoor education experience and apply their newfound knowledge and skill sets into their everyday lives.” 

Stephen views Mo as his giant playground, and you can frequently see him hitting up the kayaks or hiking along the trails. He is a comic book, video game and movie fanatic, and he self-admittingly agrees that he probably owns more DVDs than the average human.

Billy Abbate has had a passion for Mo-Ranch for 15 years.

“Through camp, I learned the importance of learning alongside children and the unique prospective and mindset the children bring to each activity,” he said.

Billy started attending Mo-Ranch Summer Camp when he was 10-years-old. Then, as soon as he turned 19, he signed up to be a summer camp counselor.

“I ended up working camp every summer until I graduated college,” Billy said.

Now, Billy is working at Mo-Ranch as a lead field instructor for the Environmental Leadership Program.

For Billy, who studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder and has a degree in psychology with an emphasis on education, the job matches his two passions — the great outdoors and teaching.

“I love being surrounded by nature and having the platform to share my enthusiasm of nature to a new generation,” he said. “Mo-Ranch ELP is special because it allows children to unplug and rediscover the importance of nature through challenges meant to show them what it really means to be a leader.”

Even when he’s not at work, Billy can be found out in nature. He enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, archery and kayaking. He’s a fan of the San Antonio Spurs and can also play a variety of instruments, including the drums and piano.

Field Instructors

The Environmental Leadership Program is staffed by a group of professional, caring adults from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Field Instructors go through a rigorous selection process that includes interviews, references, criminal background checks and a drug screening. All staff participate in an extensive training program that focuses on communication and teaching skills, child behavior management, age level expectations, risk management and child abuse prevention. Staff receive specialized training and/or certifications in CPR, First Aid, Lifeguarding, Ropes Course Facilitation, Canoeing and Archery.

If you are ready to apply or are looking for additional information about job openings at Mo-Ranch click here to visit our jobs page.

 

 

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