Adam has a Masters in Business Administration from the Monterey (Middleberry) Institute of International Studies and a BA in Modern Literary Studies from UC Santa Cruz. He has traveled widely and is a lifelong learner. He teaches daily yoga classes in the Ashtanga Mysore tradition at the Ojai Yoga Shala, which he began with his partner Alana Mitnick in 2016. He shares council in California State Prisons and guides workshops in Ojai, at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, and at organizations in the US and abroad.
I was initiated into the world of mystery, wildness, and community as a high school senior visiting The Ojai Foundation in 2000 on a rites-of-passage trip. Since 2011, I have courted this mystery as a council trainer, wilderness guide, and steward of TOF’s work in Southern California and beyond. This place has allowed tremendous growth and positive transformation for me and so many others, and it’s an honor to serve this world-changing organization.
Ani began facilitating outdoor educational experiences in 1999 with the Santa Barbara Middle School, helping to run their mountain biking and backpacking adventures. In 2004 she moved to New Zealand and continued to follow her passion of working with youth using one of the best teachers there is: mother nature. There she ran an outdoor program for 2 years taking students on multi-day backpacking, surfing, and hiking adventures. Returning in 2006, she began facilitating ropes courses/team building through the Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation and Camp Whittier. In 2007 she joined the youth team at The Ojai Foundation, bringing the wonderful, transformative tool of council into her life.
At TOF I use council and the ropes course to facilitate corporate/youth group team building and high school Rites of Passage programs. As a certified Council Trainer, I am excited to bring council to schools, the corporate world, and to prisons. My passion lies in fostering greater self-awareness and growth in a joyful and experiential way. One of my strongest held priorities is to follow my heart, including doing work that I love. I found that work at The Ojai Foundation where I’m able to make a positive difference in the world.
Patrick Talbot has in-joyed a long term relationship with the Ojai Foundation since 1989, weaving in as a corporate trainer, council practitioner, youth facilitator, ropes course manager and mentor to upcoming “agents of change”. He has developed several council-based programs for off site in-service trainings such as Heal the Healers and the Human Factor series of staff development workshops. Presently, he is also creating collaborations in offering a Rite of Passage program for elders as he explores his own transition from age-ing to sage-ing with intention and purpose. Pat’s love of Ceremony and native wisdom, deepens his commitment and use of council with heArt work in drawing forward participant’s heart felt expressions.
I bring in my love and enthusiasm to enliven participants and lift them to new levels of success. I act as a pioneer in creating transformational seminars that introduce Nature as “the Teacher” and Soulful journeys as “the Lesson”. I aim to enhance individuals’ physical and emotional potential by integrating experiential activities with counseling. I have found that engaging clients with the oneness of all life through wilderness experiences challenges automatic thoughts and behavior patterns, while bringing about personal awakenings and "aha" moments. When not working with the Ojai Foundation, you can often find me Celebrating Life and paddling to the flow of Earth’s rhythms or creating heArt Circles on the beach.
Irasha has been connected to The Ojai Foundation since its beginning in 1975. She has made her home in Ojai and has been a naturalist ever since, working with projects such as M.E.S.A., Naturalists at Large, Camp Whittier, Forest Hills, Taft garden, and Wolf. She has worked as a substitute teacher for the Oak Grove School since the early 80s. Through her work as an educator and a naturalist, she has designed many programs over the years, all starting and ending with council. Her most powerful experiences are with “at risk youth” and “newly released prisoners.” She looks forward to deepening her practice with others already on this path.
The magic of the land calls me, and I love riding on the back of the Dragon... I've been here since the beginning when we were Human Dimensions West, our original name. I carry the voice of the original founder, Luke Gatto. He was the man with the vision that we are still following. In the late 70s, Uncle Wallace, Grandfather Tumamait, Grandfather Samu, Gabu, an African Elder, and my Godmother Vani told me to stay here as a steward on this land and put that before everything else. So I have. I sneak up here when I'm not on program and walk the land alone. I'm familiar with all the beings and spirits that play and live on the property. This is one of my power places. My job is very fulfilling and I love it.
Michele has been a council facilitator and has been leading rites of passage retreats for adolescents since 2006. She has worked in education for over 15 years and has facilitated council circles in schools throughout the Los Angeles area and beyond, ranging from working with parenting teens, pregnant teens, and girls in foster care to working with college freshmen at an international performing arts college. Working through a trauma-informed lens, she incorporates art, mindfulness and somatic based practices to facilitate the growth of people’s well-being. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona earning a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies. She combined Psychology, Communication, and Sociology to study human behavior through different social science perspectives. She is a SoulCollage® facilitator, has a regular yoga and meditation practice, and has been dancing for over 25 years.
I am passionate about education, health, well being and the journey of life. I have been a part of The Ojai Foundation since 2006. My heart and soul align with the principles and vision that The Ojai Foundation practices. As a facilitator for rites of passage retreats, it is an honor to hold space for others as they journey on their life’s path. Guiding in loving kindness, I gently allow people to show up as they are and cultivate a sense of compassion for all that arises.