Jett remembers fondly their kinship with the natural world as a young child and adolescent, following the creek through the woods behind their home in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. They remember magical times spent with their maternal Grandmother snorkeling amongst the mangroves and exploring upclose the tiny communities along the beach in the Florida Keys. At the age of 30, longing to reconnect with the magical rhythms of nature, Jett immersed themselves in a week-long transformative experience with Outward Bound, backpacking in Sequoia & Kings Canyon, CA. Re-membering this natural kinship altered their life trajectory and offered them a different future than the one their angsty 20’s had promised.
So when Jett heard the call to move west, they did just that. They packed up their life and drove southwest towards the desert. They set themselves up to pursue outdoor education as a student at Prescott College and as an instructor with Outward Bound. But, within a short six months, life initiated them into another threshold experience, that of grief and loss. Jett’s big sister & only sibling died suddenly in a car crash, survived by her five year old son. Jett sought comfort in the canyons, high desert and big rivers of the Colorado Plateau- the only places that could hold the fear, tears and survivor’s guilt they carried. In time, they found belonging and the ground beneath them in a small rural community called Moab, UT.
There they spent nine years in the desert, healing and developing their soulcraft through their work with Outward Bound (ages 14 and up), Open Sky Wilderness Therapy (ages 14-17), and Moab Pride Festival. They continued their transformative learning process by apprenticing with Joanna Macy through The Work that Reconnects and participating in their first fasting experience with Bill Plotkin’s work at Animas Valley Institute. In time Jett accomplished their goal and original intention for going West. They received their undergraduate degree from Prescott College through the distance learning track, which allowed them to develop their own curriculum working within their community with a focus on service learning. They graduated with honors in Ecopsychology & Communications.
Another crisis/opportunity came at the age of 44 with Jett’s initiation into early menopause. Feeling the “clock ticking”, Jett pursued a journey to the lush rainforests and volcanic terrain of the Big Island Hawaii where they worked for Pacific Quest Horticultural Therapy. While on the island, Jett guided dozens of students through their own Rite of Passage, called Huli Kai; meaning to search the edge.
Hawaii was also a time of deep preparation as Jett planned and then took off on their own Rite of Passage, diving into liminal space as a nomadic traveller. Learning by doing has always served Jett and the experience of travelling by sea across the Atlantic on a 50 ft. sailboat helped develop their sense of resiliency and reunited their soul with trust. Once back from their travels, Jett was gifted with the embodiment practices of Melissa Michaels & Golden Bridge. They found home, again and again, in the stories their soma told them. During this time, from 2016 through 2018, no matter their physical location in the world, Jett was honored to serve both on the Board of OUT There Adventures, an organization dedicated to bringing nature-based programs to queer youth, as well as a Youth Passageways Ambassador, helping to regenerate healthy passages into mature adulthood for today’s youth.
Jett facilitated their own reincorporation and strengthened their relationship with Rite of Passage Journeys (ROPJ) by participating in Restoring Youth Rites of Passage in 2018. This was a powerful catalyzing initiatory experience through an immersive, wilderness-based rite of passage framework, and it included Jett’s second three-day solo fast. Jett then came back to ROPJ later that summer to support with the preparation and return of the first Queer Mountain Quest, serving as witness and older.
Jett rejoined their community of embodied rites of passage practitioners in Boulder, CO. last summer at Golden Bridge’s Youth on Fire Training. And in autumn they joined Youth Passageways, in partnership with All Nations Gathering Center on Pine Ridge Reservation for a gathering of relationship building, truth-telling, healing, and exploring an alliance to support and uplift indigenous youth. They also had the privilege of designing and guiding Umatilla Quest, a 10 Day nature-based rite of passage for age 23 +, with a fellow participant of Journey’s Restoring Youth Rites of Passage. Recently they have also been welcomed into the community of Radical Faeries, a magical culture of queers celebrating life through spirituality and ritual in nature.
Currently Jett is serving on the Stewardship Council of Youth Passageways. They are devoted to bringing visibility to Rites Of Passage initiatory experiences & to validating the hero’s journey as an invaluable map for navigating life's challenges. Jett is committed to offering these teachings to organizations working with the LGBT2sQIA community, as well as bringing queer & trans focused experiences to those organizations already familiar with the ROP framework.
Jett has used this framework personally, believing that intentional ROP spaces can support us in addressing the inherent uncertainty and struggle associated with coming of age and can shepherd us into healthy adulthood at any age. The space to explore and continue developing identity during these confusing times can be especially impactful for those of us from marginalized and vulnerable communities, such as the queer, transgender and gender diverse community. It is specifically important to Jett to make ROP experiences accessible to queer and trans people of color, by working with QTPOC guides, promoting programs in communities of color, decolonizing outdoor curriculum, and deconstructing white supremacy step by step.
Jett is extremely excited to be partnering with Youth Passageways once more this summer and resonates powerfully with YP’s mission to “revitalize rites of passage as an integral part of holistic human development and to gain wider visibility for both time-tested and innovative rite of passage ideas, methods and practices” (https://youthpassageways.org/about-us/).
Jett identifies as a white, trans/genderqueer of matrilineal & patrilineal European descent, currently residing on Ohlone territory, in El Cerrito, California. As a 47-year-old embodied adult & older who lives in liminal spaces and has crossed many thresholds, Jett has been initiated into deep renewal of trust, authenticity and development of life-affirming boundaries and self-love. This healing process through lived experiences is in large part blessed by their witnessing and supporting the youth of our times’s fierce determination to be visible through language and expression, gifting Jett the courage to be and do the same. Feeling it is their duty to care for them and to serve as a reflection of possibility, Jett continuously lives into being the ancestor of their wildest dreams.
Jett is thrilled for the opportunity to support you, with our co-guides and Ancient ones: the Old-growth forests of cedar and fir, the rocky headlands and sandy beaches, and the star-studded skies. Looking forward to exploring our birthright and reigniting our fires of play, curiosity and wonder in kinship with nature; to have our true nature reflected back to us again and again.
In addition to guiding Rite of Passage Journey’s Queer Wilderness Quest this year, Jett is working as the production manager for OUT of Site SOMA, a performances-driven queer ancestry tour on the streets of San Francisco, CA., co-facilitating a Youth Passageways on-line event called Queering Rites of Passage and supporting their partner in the first Divine Siblinghood: Queer & Trans Quest with Golden Bridge in Boulder, CO. They do their best to chronicle their experiences on their website and story-blog Queer Odyssey.
CHECK OUT THE CALENDAR TO SEE WHAT I’M UP TO & see you OUT there!