Northeast Passage Staff
Jill Gravink, M.S., CTRS/L
Founder and Executive Director
Education: B.S. in Leisure Management & Tourism: Therapeutic Recreation Option from UNH, M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Jill oversees all NEP operations including strategic planning, budget and program development. She also serves as the primary liaison to the University of New Hampshire.
Area(s) of Expertise: Entrepreneurial Therapeutic Recreation services, Licensure in Therapeutic Recreation, Health Promotion for individuals living with disabilities
Jill grew up on a dairy farm. There were 16 cousins and they were together a lot. Two of her cousins had muscular dystrophy. Their wheelchairs were never a problem, they were just part of the adventure. “How do we get Chris and Corey to the top of a tree or bottom of the pool, the lake, the woods or the perfect hiding place?” Looking back now, she can see the origin of Northeast Passage.
Really good days have in common: best friends, dogs, sunshine and soft serve ice cream
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
David Lee, M.S., CTRS/L
Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy: Therapeutic Recreation from UNH, M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Contracting services with local organizations, overseeing the adaptive cycling program, trainings and all cycling events, oversees adaptive water ski program and all adaptive equipment.
Area(s) of Expertise: Adaptive Equipment, Cycling, Waterskiing, and Outdoor Access, Consulting
David is an active person who likes to be involved in as much as possible. He enjoys spending time on the lake with his family, water skiing at sun-up as often as possible, sailing with a strong wind, fishing at sunset, mountain biking, soccer, woodworking, and working around the yard. If something else fun is going on, he’ll be there too, with the family in tow!
Crystal Skahan, M.S., CTRS/L, CBIS
Recreation Program Coordinator
Education: B.S. in Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services: Therapeutic Recreation and Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato, M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Coordinator of all Recreational Sports programs
Area(s) of Expertise: Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS), American Canoe Association (ACA) Certifications: Adaptive Paddling Equipment Instructor (APE-I) and Adaptive Paddling Workshop Instructor (APW-I), and Introduction to Coastal Kayaking Instructor-Level 1, Power Soccer Coach, Certified Nordic skiing guide for individuals with visual impairments through Ski for Light, Sexuality & Disability
Crystal enjoys spending time with her family, and playing outdoors (i.e. cycling, jogging, hiking, swimming, Nordic skiing, etc). She manages her stress levels through physical activity and needs to sweat often! She is a voracious reader of youth fiction vampire series because they are quick reads, easy to get into, and most importantly nonacademic. Crystal recycles, composts, crochets, has a weakness for her own homemade starchy foods like biscuits and pie (the other reason she prefers high levels of activity), and would prefer to cancel her family’s television subscription to spend more time playing board games, but hasn’t convinced her spouse to go along with that one quite yet…
Matt Frye, M.S., CTRS/L
School Based Program Coordinator
Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy: Therapeutic Recreation from UNH, M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from UNH.
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Coordinator of youth-based therapeutic interventions and programming
Area(s) of Expertise: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Disability, Alternative and Augmentative Communication, Therapeutic Recreation in Schools
Matt is a twelve year old boy trapped in the body of a grownup. He has earned several illustrious titles including “Hunter Hero” for his skills in Big Buck Hunter and multiple Golden Tee Achievement Awards. He is also an avid outdoorsman and can often be found on the shores of a stream wearing a shirt, tie, and waders. Matt believes that everyone should take time each day to play the way they did when they were children.
“Fun is good!” – Dr. Seuss
Education: B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from St. Michael’s College, M.A. in Liberal Studies – Sport Marketing Concentration from UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Oversees all external relations, event manager Three Notch Century, coordinates office chaos.
Area(s) of Expertise: Event management, grant writing, media relations
Keely is addicted to reality TV (the more Bravo and E! the better). She grew up sailing on the coast of Maine (that makes her outdoorsy, right?) and she enjoys pretending she’s a runner (she has a Runner’s World subscription to prove it). She loves a good spinning class, lounging on the beach, music she can dance to and spending time with family.
Cathy Thompson, CTRS/L
Community/Home Based Coordinator
Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy: Therapeutic Recreation and Outdoor Education from UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Specialist in Recreational Therapy programs (school and home based), Adaptive Nordic Ski Coach
Area of Expertise: Nordic skiing and athlete development, mental health and group facilitation
In Cathy’s perfect world, there would be a huge cross country ski center located 10 minutes outside of Durham. On a perfect day, it would be 20 degrees with over 80k of perfectly groomed ski trails and all the time in the world to ski them. She is a goofball who sings made up songs to her animals and anyone else who happens to be around and enjoys spontaneous foolishness. She has worked a commercial fishing job in Alaska each summer since she was 16 and built her own house. She works hard, plays hard, and is committed to living with purpose and integrity… and if she could just figure out which pocket she left the keys in and where she left her sunglasses… she’d be all set.
Program Specialist – Outreach & Program Support
Education: Ongoing saga
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Similarity Awareness programming, Quad Rugby coach, oversees Court Sports and Wheelchair Tennis at UNH
Area of Expertise: Certified Quad Rugby Referee, Power Soccer Referee
Chandler is an avid New England sports fan, occasionally you can see him cursing said teams and hiding in the corner mumbling bitter nothings. He enjoys friends and family and will do most anything in social settings. Chandler is a BBQ expert and pie maker, just ask him. He is content just sitting on a porch with a cold beverage and solid conversation or having a whiffle ball battle with his younger brother. Chandler believes true freedom is living without regret or excuses.
Philip Brekke, M.S., CTRS/L
Education: B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Texas, M.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from Clemson University.
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Specialist in Recreational Therapy for both school and home-based programs
Area(s) of expertise: Group Facilitation, Health Promotion, Adaptive Paddlesports
Philip enjoys spending time reading about outdoor adventurers from the comfort of his favorite chair. He also loves spending time outdoors doing anything or nothing, such as staring off into the horizon. He also appreciates traveling, grilling various cuts of meat in adverse weather, and laughing at his own unique wit. Philip thrives on lazy Sundays spent hanging out with his wife, Jane.
“Don’t be denied” – Neil Young
Bill Stewart, ATC, CSCS, PES
Competitive Sports Coordinator
Education: B.S. in Athletic Training from the Department of Kinesiology at UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Provides oversight for all operations of the Competitive Sports Program
Area(s) of Expertise: Certified Athletic Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, USA Hockey Certified Level 3 Coach, Rehab 3 Center for Athletes Director
Bill is a passionate sports fan (Patriots, Bruins, UNH, or virtually anything competitive!) that is happiest watching or coaching his children, Addison and Colby. He enjoys nice dinners out with his wife (he secretly aspires to be a food critic), family time on Pleasant Lake in Maine, cooking, landscaping in the yard, and reading a good book that will turn his head off at night.
Program Specialist – Sled Hockey & Strength and Conditioning
Education: B.S. in Kinesiology (Athletic Management) from UNH
Primary Responsibility at NEP: Adult Sled Hockey Head Coach, he oversees competitive athlete strength and conditioning and athlete sport specific training and skills. He is also the sled hockey player representative to USA Hockey and the NEP Office Linebacker.*
Area(s) of Expertise: Sled Hockey, Physical Health and Fitness
Taylor is a two-time member of the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team (Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010) and a long-time participant of Northeast Passage. He LOVES being on the ice and coaching hockey. During the summer months, you can find him on the golf course. If there is trouble in the office, Taylor is quick to manage the problem with a swift chop block*.