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Northeast Passage Staff

Jill Gravink, M.S., CTRS/L
Founder and Executive Director

Jill Gravink

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
Associate Director

David Lee

Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy: Therapeutic Recreation from UNH, M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from UNH

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Oversees all Adaptive Sports programs and 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 Director


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 Director

Matt Frye

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


Keely Ames
Operations & Marketing Director

Keely Ames

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 Director

Cathy Thompson

Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy: Therapeutic Recreation and Outdoor Education from UNH

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Coordinator for Home Based Recreational Therapy program,  therapist in School Based program, 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.


Bill Stewart, ATC, CSCS, PES
Competitive Sports Program Coordinator

Education: B.S. in Athletic Training from the Department of Kinesiology from UNH

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Coordinator of all Competitive Sports programs.

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.


Jess Amato, CTRS/L
Program Specialist

Education: B.S. in Recreation Management with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Arizona State University.

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Specialist in Recreation Therapy and Recreational Sport Programs.

Area of Expertise: Program development, youth programming, Adaptive Sports & Recreation

Jess, originally from New York, has traveled all over. Her life goal is to see as much of the world as possible. Aside from travel, she enjoys rock climbing, cycling, snowboarding and yoga. She loves spending her quiet time watching TV, spending time with her dog and nothing calms her mind like cleaning and organizing anything and everything! Jess will try anything once, even when fear causes her to cry the entire time.


Philip Brekke, M.S., CTRS/L
Program Specialist

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


Chandler Bullard
Program Specialist – Outreach & Program Support

chandler bullard

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.


Cam Forys, CTRS/L
Program Specialist

cam edited2 

Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy Therapeutic Recreation from UNH.

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Specialist in Adaptive Sports & Recreation program.

Area(s) of expertise: Adaptive Sports & Recreation

Cam is an avid snowboarder and basketball player (<3 Celtics). He enjoys hanging with friends and family, whether it be outside grilling and playing lawn games or parked on the couch watching the game or playing cards. Cam is always down to try something new, especially new food and new activities.

“YOLO” -Drake


Matt McGilvray
Program Specialist


Education: B.S. in Sports Management from Johnson & Wales University

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Specialist in Competitive Sports program.

Area(s) of expertise: Coaching, Strength & Conditioning, USA Hockey Level 4 Certified Coach

Matt is a sports junkie (hockey in particular). He is a member of the Johnson & Wales Athletics Hall of Fame and dabbled in what some would consider professional hockey for 1 year. Now he sticks to coaching athletes and taking co-ed softball way too seriously. Matt enjoys spending his free time with his wife eating ice cream and hanging out on Merrymeeting Lake.


Reilly Murphy
Administrative Assistant


Education: B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College in New York.

Primary Responsibilities at NEP: Any and all administrative matters. Coordinating agendas, rentals, and vehicles.

A native New Hampshireite, Reilly has an uncommon amount of love for the state’s seasonal displays of beauty. She enjoys each season more than the previous and consciously misses them when out of state. After three years living in Peru, she has too many wool scarfs and pictures but a huge appreciation for the simpler things in life.  She also has a passion (not necessarily skill) for trivia and is a dedicated Jeopardy viewer.  When that’s not on, she enjoys getting as many hugs from her niece and nephew as possible and teaching them that eggs are better with ketchup.


Tony Jackson
Power Soccer Coordinator


Education: B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and German from Arizona State University; M.A. in German Studies from Arizona State University.

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Power Soccer Program Coordinator in Competitive Sports program.

Area(s) of expertise: Power Soccer coach and athlete, sharp wit and biting sarcasm

Tony is a desert rat from Arizona that has made his way across the country and ended up in New England. In between, there were stops in North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, South Korea, Virginia, and Minnesota. He loves his Arizona State Sun Devils sports teams with an unhealthy, undying devotion. He is also a huge fan of European soccer. In addition to his role at Northeast Passage, he also serves on the executive board for the US Power Soccer Association. In his free time, Tony loves to expand the size of his music collection, find a good restaurant to enjoy, and travel to far away lands.


Nate Loomis
Development Assistant


Education: B.A. in English from the University of New Hampshire

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Assisting with all aspects of fundraising including sponsorship coordination, donor stewardship, grant writing & annual fund development.

Nate has been an active participant in Northeast Passage programs since 1998 and a member of the NEP Wildcats Wheelchair Rugby Team since 2007. When he is not fulfilling his deeply rooted need to crash his wheelchair into things, Nate is most at peace floating far offshore in search of the elusive bluefin tuna. Every winter Nate threatens to defect back to his homeland of Bermuda to escape the cold and snow but the beautiful landscape and warm people of coastal NH always reel him back in.


Amanda Zedon, CTRS/L
Program Specialist

Education: B.S. in Recreation Management & Policy: Therapeutic Recreation from UNH

Primary Responsibility at NEP: Program Specialist in both Recreational Sports and Therapeutic Recreation in schools

Area of Expertise: Adaptive sports and recreation, program development and group facilitation.

Amanda enjoys pretty much anything outdoors—hiking, playing various lawn games with family and friends, playing slow pitch softball, and lounging on the beach are a few of her favorite things. Amanda believes that summer should be filled with as many country concerts as possible and the winter should be spent playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate. When the weather is not ideal for outdoor activities, Amanda can be found watching reality TV shows and browsing Pinterest for her next DIY project.

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