Interview with Field Mentor Stormie Romero
Our growing community is full of women who are devoted to helping more young women learn, grow, and discover themselves through outdoor adventure. We caught up with Stormie Romero, Program Coordinator at Wild Whatcom, to learn more about how she became a Woman Who Leads.
Tell us about your role at Wild Whatcom – what’s a typical day as Mentor and Coordinator?
I wear two sets of boots at Wild Whatcom. The first is as the Program Coordinator for Girls Explorer Club and the second is that of a Field Mentor. Though different in their day-to-day functions, these two roles share the same heart.
As a Program Coordinator, I often feel like that quote from Harold and Maude, that ‘the Earth is my body, my head is in the Stars.’ My mind’s eye is zoomed out, focused on expansive, far-reaching programmatic goals: the whys and hows of things. But my hands and feet are on the ground, fully emerged in the gritty logistics. This is a beautiful way of saying that I do a lot of work on the computer. I create and update curriculum, communicate with parents and service providers, schedule the mentoring staff and the group outings, and zip around a lot in meticulously color-coded spreadsheets.
Serving as a Field Mentor also requires a mental balance of big-picture design and on-the-ground presence of mind. It is a Mentor’s responsibility to see an Explorers Club group as both a cohesive entity that will adventure together from 2nd through 8th grade and a collective of individual girls with personalized needs. As a Mentor, I am always asking myself when should I step up in order to model collaborative decision-making or safe tool use, and when I should step back to create space for youth voice or participant-led exploration.
How did you get involved in women’s outdoor education?
I learned early in life that indoor employment did not suit me. When I was 20, I began working at an organic farm in upstate New York. Eventually, I found myself managing an organic farm-to-table farmstead outside of Philadelphia. I worked there every day, in every season, from sunup to sundown. My soul was bright with love and connection for the soil, the plants, and the bees. But at 25, my back was sore, my feet were stiff, and my hands were basically rocks. So when I moved to Washington state, I knew that it was time to chart a different course. I wanted to find another avenue of employment that filled my soul. I found Wild Whatcom’s website while driving across the country and interviewed for a position as a Girls Explorers Club Mentor the day after I arrived in Bellingham.
I didn’t get that first position that I applied for but I did eventually became a Mentor for Wild Whatcom’s after-school program. From there, I watched, learned, and slowly moved from Field Mentor to Program Coordinator. Through my work with Wild Whatcom, I became familiar with the mountains, forests, creeks, birds, and cycles of the land. Now, rather than growing and providing food for my community, I help foster young girls’ love for each other and their connection with their natural community.
Read the full interview here.