PLAYOUT FOUNDATION BOARD 2020-2021
Nonprofit-PlayOUT Foundation Director & Forest School Substitute Teacher
I grew up outside in backyards and neighborhood parks in California. To this day, I feel most at home when I am outside. In 2006, my family and I relocated to the Pacific Northwest, and I immediately fell in love with the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the region. My heart feels full with the abundance of outdoor spaces available here for exploration and play.
Being a teacher in my own school was my dream from the time I was 8 years old. In my mind’s eye, I saw a classroom with brightly colored posters, children in desks, and a chalkboard at my back as I lectured.
Much later, as an adult, the idea that a classroom could be different took root in my imagination. Taking away the walls, the desks, and the dusty chalkboard erasers felt suddenly expansive, and I could envision the exciting possibilities of connecting children with the natural environment as a pathway to facilitating the learning of important life skills. This idea was the seed that grew into Camp Roots.
The first Camp Roots was the culmination of two years of study in the master of arts in education at Antioch University. The school and community have grown each year, welcoming more children and families outside to learn and play. I truly believe that the outdoors offer boundless gifts to us all, and I feel blessed to share the dream of my outdoor school with so many.
I wear many hats in this world. I am a courageous advocate for nature. I am a dreamer, a leader, and an action taker. I am a wife and the mother of six children. I earned a M.A. in Education, with an emphasis on 21st century skills, growth mindset, and constructivist teaching methodology and practices, from Antioch University. I received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz and an A.A in Liberal Arts from Cabrillo College. I am a certified Fight the Fear self-defense instructor, as well as a certified Mindful School mindfulness instructor.
I have dedicated the past 32 years of my life to working with children of all ages in a variety of settings. I have been a camp counselor, a nanny, a soccer and a t-ball coach, a preschool owner and teacher, a teaching assistant, a reading resource instructor, a sewing club teacher, a hiking club leader, a photographer, a family wellness consultant, and a mother.
It is my deepest joy and pleasure to share myself with the Camp Roots community.
Master Teacher: Forest Roots & Wild Roots
Director/Lead Teacher: Camp Roots Summer Camp
I grew up on a small island in the south Puget Sound. Our family was one of many in our close-knit community that homeschooled. The woods and beaches on the island were my favorite places to spend my time, and I was given the freedom to explore and discover all aspects of nature throughout my childhood, beginning a lifelong love for all things outdoors. When I was 14 years old, my family of 6 became a licensed foster care family and I transitioned from homeschooling to public high school. I experienced first hand the power of nurture and love in a child's life. I spent nights awake with drug-exposed infants experiencing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome as a teenager and watched children from the ages 0-12 be moved through the foster care system. These experiences defined me as I became an adult; witnessing first hand the power of love, a safe environment and consistency can have on any life, but particularly that of children. In addition to this, I learned how powerful the developing mind of a child is. For 15 years I have worked with children and families from all walks of life, in numerous capacities. I am the Adoption Coordinator for a puppy rescue out of Seattle, and spend a great deal of time with precious pups. I am currently working on a BS in Human Development and Families Studies through Penn State's World Campus and I am Forest School Canada Trained.
Director/Lead Teacher: Camp PlayOUT Summer Camp
Educator, Mentor, Coach, Liaison and Student Advisor.
Students are at the center of everything Fernell does personally and professionally. As we continue 2020, she enters her 38th year of teaching and coaching in the Northshore School District. Fernell has taught Physical and Health Education in over 12 schools, currently Arrowhead Elementary. Fernell Co-leads their Equity and Diversity team, serves as a Community Liaison and coaches many team sports.
In the community her leadership is felt throughout Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville. Fernell started a mentorship program for Black youth (Let’s BGINN) to help start and support the Black Student Unions in the Northshore Schools. As a Trustee member of the Kenmore Community Club, she started the (KCYC) Kenmore Community Youth Council which will help highlight and support youth and the arts. Fernell is the Assistant Director of the non-profit organization The PlayOUT Foundation which is dedicated to creating outdoor play and learning environments for children of all ages that cultivate mindfulness, stewardship, and connection with nature, community, and self. Many organizations invite Fernell to share her story of racial isolation and lead discussions about Race, Restorative Justice and Racial Healing Circles.
Fernell and her family are longtime residents of the Kenmore community and she continues to share her experience and expertise with young people, and all the activities that help to build community, foster education and understanding while bringing the FUN for families and folks of all ages, ethnicities, races, cultures, genders and abilities!