Our Team


  • All TeamWorks crew leaders and staff have previous experience working with youth in the outdoor
  • All crew leaders attend an extensive 10 day training prior to working with crews

The Administrative Team

Ariel Gustafson

Out of School Program Director

Ariel has been working with TeamWorks since 2016, starting as a crew leader. Ariel has eight years of experience as program director for youth programming. She spent three years as a field instructor, running experiential educational programs with a focus on the environment in Central and South America. Ariel is fluent in Spanish and has an M.A. in Latino Studies with a concentration in cross-cultural education.

Email me: Ariel@teensinc.org

Melissa Elbert

TeamWorks Program Director

Melissa grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and did not discover her passion for the outdoors until her junior year of college.  While studying psychology at Denison University, she had the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand, where she was first exposed to the world of mountains, backpacking, and the glory of being immersed in nature. After this life changing experience in NZ, Melissa spent the next 9 years of her life leading teen and young adult crews in different Conservation Corps, working on adult trail crews, guiding backpacking and camping trips all over the US, and exploring the world with nothing but a backpack and a pair of trail runners. 

Through these life experiences she discovered her passion for working on public lands with youth from all walks of life, and is thrilled by the opportunity to introduce young people to nature.  Melissa spent her first summer with TeamWorks as a supervisor in 2017, spent 2 summers as the Program Manager and is so excited to share and expand her knowledge this year as the PD!

Email me: Melissa@teensinc.org

Collin Olson

TeamWorks Program Manager

Hi there! My name is Collin Olson. Growing up in Minnesota, I fostered my love for the outdoors by going on trips to the Boundary Waters with my family. I then moved to Colorado to go to the University of Denver. While here, I continued in my outdoor pursuits by exploring the Rocky Mountains for school and during my free time. Upon graduating, I made my way to a few far corners of the world, teaching and guiding along my way. I have now come back to beautiful Colorado and hope to keep spending my time working and playing in our spectacular backyard. These days, you can find me adventuring with my dog Oki and my wife Rayna, continually searching for and listening to new music, and trying to find new recipes to try out in the kitchen.

Email me: Collin@teensinc.org

Meet Our Rockstar Team
of Crew Leaders:


Tom Keras

Tom grew up in Massachusetts and spent most of his youth playing sports and hanging out with friends all over New England. After a cross country trip in 2015, the natural world took on a new meaning for him. Today, you will find Tom on your local hiking and biking trails, fishing any fishable rivers or lakes, backpacking on public land, or smelling Ponderosa Pines! Dedicated to community and the natural world, Tom has spent the last three years of his professional career working with Montana State Parks and the Maryland Park Service. He most recently served as a Maryland Conservation Corps Crew Leader for nearly two years and is eager to use his experiences to help those around him!

Teska Hapig-Ward

Teska grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains in northern California. She has always loved spending time outside hiking, swimming, biking, and kayaking, as well as exploring new ecosystems and learning about the impacts of climate change. While leading backcountry trips throughout college, she developed a passion for helping young adults discover and gain access to the outdoors. Teska is beyond excited to join the TeamWorks community this summer and explore the Front Range!

Julia Kusel

I grew up in a tiny town in Northern California where I learned to love the mountains. I went to college on the coast and studied Psychology and Spanish. A few years ago I found myself in Nederland working with Teamworks and am back for another summer of trail work and wonderful humans. Some things I enjoy most in this world include laughter, exploring, learning, connecting with people, dancing, and sleeping under the stars.

Sara Hansen

Hi! I’m Sara (she/her). I recently moved to Denver by way of Sparta, WI, a semester in Cambodia, and Portland, OR. In May 2020, I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and Science & Environmental Studies from Reed College. Last summer, I helped design and build a children’s nature playground with Zenger Farm, while also building out a camper van with my partner. I love all things outdoors (except snakes, but I’m trying to work on this), and am especially excited to hike and climb in the Front Range! Three things I’m passionate about are community placemaking, environmental justice, and ube ice cream.

Jenna Lilly

Hey y’all! My name is Jenna, and I am so excited to be a crew leader this summer with TeamWorks. I grew up in sunny South Florida, but went to school in central New York, and have lived in 5 other states besides. Since graduating with a degree in Environmental Geography, I have been working in outdoor and environmental education on land and at sea. My jobs have taken me sailing across the Atlantic on a tall ship, to being on a chainsaw crew removing invasive tree species, and more recently, honing my skills at a local bakery. When I’m not working, I enjoy playing video games, talking with friends, and reading or journaling. I am stoked to get to know, work alongside, and help my crew grow this summer while traversing the beautiful mountains of Colorado!

Ursula Cruzalegui

SHE/HER Ursula Cruzalegui is a 39 years old Peruvian native and has lived in Colorado since 2008. Her frlaiends call her Uchi (“oo-chee”) She has a bachelor degree in Architecture and has 10 years of experience growing into a community organizer. She deeply cares about social justice, healthy environments and sustainability. She is a freelance designer & artist. Uchi co-founded Scraps-to-Soil in 2011, a Clear Creek non-profit with a mission is to empower sustainable lifestyles and continues to be an active volunteer. She has also helped form a newly created grassroots program called Clear Creek Community Connectors – C4, which is a group of neighbors helping other neighbors connect with existing local resources and support each other during COVID-19 times. Uchi is passionate about sharing important information, educating her peers & community, identifying issues and looking for solutions to them. She is a caring & responsible person, open to new experiences and excited to learn new things. She is not scared to take on a challenge and is always looking to continue to grow, make meaningful connections and empower others around her.

Sarah Puckett

Sarah fell in love with the outdoors in high school where her parents would take her to waterfalls and swimming holes in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Since graduating, she has spent the last several years traveling and working in outdoor recreation and education in North Carolina, Washington, Idaho, and Virginia. Sarah loves working on teams where she gets to meet new people, learn new skills, share stories, and achieve a common goal. She loves to spend her free time riding her bikes in the mountains, cooking, and listening to music. She is PUMPED to join an awesome crew this summer and learn from them.

Ian Thompson

Hello, my name is Ian! I grew up in North Carolina, but I have spent some quality time in South America, Arizona, and Oregon for the past few years. During which I have developed a huge passion for conservation and getting people into the outdoors. Overall, I look for any excuse to get outside whether its trail running, climbing, or just about anything that lets me play in the dirt. I love working outside, and I look forward to joining crews to improve our public lands this summer!

Ben Montgomery

Ben is recent graduate from Colorado State University where he studied sociology. He is very passionate about the environment and is excited to be with TeamWorks working to make it a better place for everyone. In his free time Ben enjoys riding his bike, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and watching movies. One thing most people don’t know about Ben is his ability to juggle.

Calvin Eckert

Hi my name is Calvin and I’ve been involved with TeamWorks for the last 3 summers in every position from a regular crew member all the way to the crew leader I am today. Other than my appreciation of the great outdoors, I also like to spend time watching sports and going offroading in my Jeep, so basically I enjoy any way I can get back to nature. And feel free to ask me anything, I’m an open book.

Tayla Parlee

I’m a CO native with a craving for extreme adventures

Maggie Hofmann

Maggie grew up in Denver Colorado and spent all of her free time exploring the nearby Rocky mountains. In the summer she found new hiking trails and lakes to explore. In the winters she spent weekends on the ski lift. She left the great state of Colorado to pursue a degree in Global Studies and Sustainability from Boise State University but is excited to be back. She recognizes the importance of appreciating, maintaining and protecting the environment and is excited to help develop that appreciation for nature as a crew leader.

Grace Gordon-McGlone

Grace (she/her) grew up in Idaho Springs, Colorado. She has always had a passion for the outdoors and loves exploring the natural spaces close to home. She goes to Indiana University and studies natural resource management and psychology. Grace has spent her education researching conservation and the ways in which we can mutually benefit with the outdoors. She is beyond excited to help TeamWorks this summer connecting Colorado youth to nature and promoting environmental stewardship in the Front Range.

Ian Kelly

Ian grew up in Michigan and spent his free time exploring forests filled with frogs, turtles, and dragonflies. He studied economics and environmental science at Davidson College, and used summers to work for and study socially and environmentally conscious businesses. Since school, he’s followed passions and curiosities around the world. Whether through ski instructing, wildland firefighting, or guiding backpacking trips, Ian is learning all he can and trying to contribute to a greener future.


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