Program Staff

Meet the talented crew of Youth Leadership Adventures staff!

Neal Smeltzer
Youth Leadership Manager
Born in Vermont, Neal grew up with a love for wandering around the local woods, lakes and mountains. While attending Colorado College, he realized his love for education. Combining these passions, Neal worked for a number of nonprofits and completed a master’s degree in Outdoor Education at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to arriving in the North Cascades, he instructed dogsledding expeditions for Outward Bound across the frozen lakes of northern Minnesota. Neal enjoys backcountry skiing, paddling and exploring any new area he can find on a map. He acknowledges how his privilege has enabled access to the outdoors, and through this work is committed to promoting equity and justice as they relate to outdoor places

Kate Little
Youth Leadership Coordinator
Kate grew up on the Kitsap Peninsula before heading east to earn degrees in Environmental Studies and English at Oberlin College in Ohio. After graduation, Kate accepted a two-year Shansi Fellowship and moved to Madurai, India. There she worked with college students in an International Studies center, worked on her conversational Tamil and hiked in the Nilgiris. One pandemic evacuation and several seasonal jobs later, Kate made the move back to Washington in 2021 and enjoyed getting to know the Skagit Valley in all its seasons as Learning Center Manager. In 2023, Kate is transitioning to a role in one of her favorite Institute programs: Youth Leadership Adventures! In her free time you can usually find her biking around upriver, knitting up a sweater or swimming in the Skagit.

Eva Araujo
Youth Leadership Specialist
Eva grew up hiking and exploring near Snoqualmie Pass, which sparked an interest in the environment and conservation work. Sharing learning outdoors has been a passion for her since she first got to dive into it in an equestrian environment. At Western Washington University, while studying Environmental Science and Spanish, she further developed her love for environmental work with local communities in WWU's LEAD program. She joined the Institute in 2024 and is excited to be involved in the Youth Leadership Adventures program, since she passionately believes in the transformative nature of environmental education.