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Owner & Executive Director

People often ask Jalynn why she left her job as a classroom teacher with the Toronto District School Board to start an outdoor education company. The truth is that when she looked back on her life, her greatest lessons came from her time at camp, immersed in the wilderness. In this day and age, Jalynn feels strongly that time outdoors, away from screens and other distractions is critical when it comes to helping young people create a strong, value-driven foundation for their lives. 

ALIVE Outdoors was started as a canoe expedition company focused on personal leadership development in 2000. Since then it has grown into an outdoor and experiential education company that works with approximately 5500 young people from over 20 independent schools annually.  Through her tenure as Executive Director, Jalynn has developed strong relationships with school administrators, teachers, and board members within the independent school sector. Jalynn brings with her a demonstrated history of working in the primary/secondary education industry, and is devoted to helping schools deepen their experiential education curriculum (scope & sequence development), environmental education, service expeditions and mentorship programs. Under Jalynn’s guidance, ALIVE Outdoors strives to help young people deepen their sense of self-efficacy, self-awareness and self-compassion, as well as enhancing community, building leadership skills and other key life competencies.

Jalynn uses her diverse skillset in experiential program development to help guide schools through their individualized process of building meaningful experiential programming. Jalynn actively consults with schools on program development, risk management, and scope and sequence planning both nationally and internationally.  She has recently completed a Certificate in Positive Psychology through the Flourishing Center, based out of New York City. While much of ALIVE’s programming is already currently rooted in many positive psychology principles, the goal is to continue to expand this element of ALIVE Outdoors’ curriculum.

Jalynn deeply believes in the work that she does with ALIVE Outdoors. She feels that these experiences help people tap into their essence—whether it’s about learning to listen, trust, communicate, respect, cooperate, problem solve, work as a team member, or enhance their vision of their own potential. It really is about nurturing connections—with oneself, with others and with nature.

When Jal is not working on ALIVE, you can find her paddling, listening to good tunes, reading and walking her yellow lab Maddie. She loves to travel and has climbed, hiked and explored her way through Nepal, Thailand, New Zealand, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, The Kingdom of Bhutan and name a few foreign destinations. She also has a deep passion for Canada's incredible landscape and waterways, and especially loves the French River. She feels that her work with ALIVE is a privilege and she is committed to ensuring that every team member and every participant feels like they are valued, supported and cared for.  Jalynn can be reached at: 

Links on Jalynn/ALIVE Outdoors:


SAM DEAR  Associate DirectorSAM DEAR

Sam has been involved professionally with outdoor education for over a decade. Starting her career at seventeen as a counsellor at YMCA Wanakita , she has worked for a variety of organizations including the Nor-West Outdoor Center, Paddlefoot, Outward Bound and ALIVE. Sam has also been a field instructor for outdoor education courses at both Lakehead and Brock University.

Sam earned an Honours Degree in Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism and BA in Geography from Lakehead University in 2005. Following volunteer and travel experiences in Haiti, Southern China and Tibet she became increasingly interested in issues related to international development. To fuel this interest Sam returned to school to earn a post-graduate certificate in International Project Management from Humber College in Toronto.

Most recently Sam had been involved with the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University as a graduate student, teaching assistant, guest lecturer and field instructor. She was also responsible for co-developing and instructing an international field experience in rural Cuba for Brock University students. As a result of this experience, Sam has become increasingly interested in outdoor experiential education and play as tools for international collaboration.

Sam’s philosophy of education is grounded in her belief that all people should be empowered to realize their personal strengths and to understand how these strengths can contribute to being an active, engaged and inspired citizen of both the local and global community. She believes that play and learning outside offers an ideal environment in which to empower learners of all ages to realize this potential.

Sam believes that ALIVE offers an exciting environment where she can continue to learn, foster her true passion and contribute to the process of inspiring people of all ages to find and follow their own passion.  When Sam isn’t working you can find her hanging out with good friends, telemark skiing, sea kayaking, road biking, rock climbing and spending time with her golden retriever Titan.   Sam can be reached at:


DR. RYAN HOWARD Director of Research, Risk and InnovationDR. RYAN HOWARD
Director Research, Risk & Innovation

Adjunct Professor, Brock University, Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies

Throughout his career, Ryan has shown dedication to advancing the practices of outdoor education through both his field based practices and his time conducting and disseminating research in experiential education. Ryan holds bachelor degrees in Outdoor Recreation and Geography from Lakehead University. He has a Master’s degree from Brock University which focused on commercial risk management and government regulations within the outdoor industry. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Health Science, also from Brock University, and is currently completing the requirements for his Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designation through the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) and the Global Risk Management Institute (GRMI).

Ryan comes to ALIVE Outdoors after working in higher education for the past eight years, he has lectured at Brock University, was a faculty member at the University of Northern British Columbia, and most recently was a tenure track faculty member in the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Lakehead University. Ryan started in outdoor education as a canoe tripper, white water canoe, kayak, and raft guide, a swift water rescue instructor, and operations director with various companies in Ontario and Quebec.

Highlights from Ryan’s professional background in the fields of outdoor and experiential education includes: publishing research in numerous national and internationally recognized journals, and books; sharing research and workshops on risk management and experiential education at over 50 scholarly conferences and symposia; conducting government sponsored research with school boards; and consulting for Environment Canada on developing their risk management practices. He actively contributes to a number of outdoor and experiential education associations and continues to be a reviewer for numerous education and outdoor recreation journals.

Ryan’s role with ALIVE is multi-faceted. He allows us to offer risk consulting, outcome and longitudinal research for those schools who are interested in looking to assess the value and impact of their experiential programs. As well, Ryan is spearheading some new initiatives that aim to help us continue to follow our mission of creating engaging opportunities for young people to thrive.

Ryan Howard can be reached at:


Program Coordinator

Matt exudes bottomless positive energy, a thoughtful understanding of self, and a commitment toward boosting the values found within experiential education programming. Each of these characteristics empowers Matt to make positive additions to all the programs he touches as a Program Coordinator at ALIVE Outdoors. Matt brings with him a depth of experience working in both regional and international experiential programming that stemmed from many of his early life experiences outdoors.

In addition to previously working with ALIVE Outdoors as an Instructor, Matt has worked with the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, Wendigo Lake expeditions, and Me to We. Matt earned his diploma in Outdoor Adventure and Business from Algonquin College which helped him to expand his understanding of the philosophy and practice of experiential education and outdoor business principles.

Most recently Matt has taken his practice internationally leading service learning and tourism trips in Kenya, Tanzania, and India. During this time, Matt focused on helping students build cross-cultural relationships and fostered the development of critical consciousness as a key priority within international service learning. In addition to these experiences, Matt has worked regionally with vulnerable student populations that have helped foster his interest in evaluating and measuring the longitudinal impacts of intentional outdoor programming. We are excited to have Matt share his dedication for creating progressive and relevant experiential programming that leverages both the power of the outdoors and the importance of positive community relationships.

Matt found his deep connection with the outdoors at a young age through his love of nature. Matt’s early experiences in the outdoors continue to direct his targets for student growth and guide his strong belief that meaningful and purposeful experiential programming does have a lasting impact on a number of key student growth areas. When Matt’s not in the office he enjoys spending time playing percussion instruments, backcountry canoe tripping, snowboarding, volunteering, and engaging in recreational sports. He loves cooking and hosting groups of friends and family, sharing stories, and laughing. Matt is always planning his next adventure somewhere around the globe.

Matt can be reached at:


Director of Administration

Camping and outdoor education have always held a central role in Mo’s life. Even after moving away from the industry to begin a new career, she finds herself (happily) back here again. Mo’s time at camp growing up and as a camp counsellor is unparalleled in terms of being formative and fundamental in helping her find her place in the world. Mo began her career at 17 as a camp counsellor at Camp Ekon, and has since spent time working at YMCA Wanakita and at a variety of camps through her contracts with ALIVE.

Mo earned her Honours Bachelor of Medical Science from UWO in 2006, and continued to pursue coursework in Neuroscience and Fine Arts before deciding to move away from studies to see what the work world had to offer. She began an internship with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, and has since been promoted to a full-time role as Coordinator, Guest Experience. Her variety of interests leave Mo looking forward to what the future will bring, and she is excited to explore each new opportunity as it presents itself.

When she discovered ALIVE in 2006, Mo was instantly captivated by the work that they do, and the values that they hold. By combining what is already a positive outdoor experience with the leadership development programs that ALIVE has created, participants gain an extraordinary understanding of their strengths and how to engage with their peers and the world around them. She feels very strongly that ALIVE helps youth transform into the best version of themselves – something that is remarkable in the few short days that they spend at these camps.  Mo feels lucky to have been part of ALIVE for so many years, and is enthusiastic about her role on the team. Believe it or not, she enjoys the administrative work that many others shy away from!

When Mo isn’t working, you can find her reading, drawing/painting, scoping out the best food in Toronto, trying her hand at a new recipe, or hanging out near moving water. Mo loves to travel, and has spent time backpacking in Central America and volunteering in South Africa. Mo is thankful to be a member of a team whose work she believes in so deeply. Mo can be reached at:


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