2013 Trip Leaders
Every year we have outstanding Trip Leaders in charge of each of our expeditions. They are fun and energetic, and they always do a great job caring for the youth on our trips. Many have served as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint, and all of them love working with youth and serving others. Read below to learn more about them:
Sara Sonntag: Belize 1, Fiji West 2
Sara grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the oldest of four. She graduated in 2012 from BYU with a B.A. in Political Science, and is now pursuing her MPA from ASU. Sara also served an LDS mission in Detroit, Michigan and there learned the power of service in developing a love for and testimony of Jesus Christ.
Peter Olson: Belize 1, 2
Peter says, "My parents are wise. My siblings are verbal and thoughtful. My nieces and nephews (including the one I’m holding in the picture) are short, growing, and increasingly self-aware. I am the tallest. My parents grew up in Salt Lake and live in New York. My siblings live throughout the US, though all attended or are attending BYU. My nieces and nephews live where my siblings live. I am currently finishing my senior year at Harvard in Cambridge, MA, but will start an economics research job in New York this summer.
"My parents are a homemaker and a professor, respectively. My siblings are a cartoon marketer, a business PhD student, an opera singer, lawyers, law professors, an English major, husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, and a prospective art student. (Some of those designations were overlapping.) My nieces and nephews are occupationally cute. I am an applied math student, focusing on economics.
"This is my first time as a trip leader, but I’ve spent some time in Belize before and love the people, and know that as we put our hearts into this, the chance we have to serve them and serve with them will become tremendously meaningful to us."
Carly Jo Porter: Belize 2, 3
Carly is from Mesa, AZ and comes from a crazy, fun, energetic, and very musical family. She and three of her siblings attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where she graduated last August with a degree in Music Education. Carly is currently teaching music full-time at private Catholic school in Cambridge, MA.
Since graduating High School Carly has done a lot of traveling and can't seem to get enough of it! After living in China for two semesters (teaching English) and volunteering in leprosy colonies in India, she decided to serve a mission. She was called to serve in the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. In between traveling and teaching she probably would be found reading a book, making a yummy dessert, editing photos, running, or killing her friends at nerts...Working with the youth is something the Carly has always loved. Her experience as an EFY counselor and as a missionary has prepared her well for the HEFY experience. She cannot wait to get to know the people in Belize and join the youth in some fun adventures! In her words, "there is absolutely no better use of your time or more opportunity for growth then there is while serving- the youth going to Belize are going to learn just that!"
Bryce Jurgensmeir: Belize 3
Bryce says, "Growing up in 'small-town' Idaho was never a dull moment being the fifth of seven kids. I grew up loving sports and music! After serving in the best mission ever (Oklahoma Tulsa Mission), I returned to BYU to not make the basketball team but to study exercise science and business. Now that I’m graduated, when I’m not at work you’ll find me rock climbing, playing my guitar, or trying to master the sport of kite-boarding.
I realized how much I need and love service from my mission. I also developed a love for traveling when I helped start a charity in Kenya, Africa a couple years ago. I find that I’m closest to Heavenly Father when I’m serving others to the best of my ability. I’m also a part-time Seminary teacher and love being with the coolest age group in the world. Belize has no idea how awesome it will be after our influence this summer!"
Sally Stanton: Bolivia 1, DR 1, Fiji West 3
Sally has been the Executive Director for HEFY for the past year and half, and as part of her role she sets up projects in HEFY's new locations. She will lead the first expedition to HEFY's most recently added locations: the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, as well as the third Fiji West expedition. She is ecstatic for all the HEFY projects, and thrilled to be able to join three different groups.
Sally loves to travel and has been all over the world, from Africa to the Arctic North. She graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in Government and studied abroad in Mexico and Chile. She served a Spanish-speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Independence, Missouri. Last year she was married to her wonderful and amazing husband, Sam Clayton.
HEFY has changed Sally's life in many ways and she is amazed at how talented, smart and spiritually strong the youth in Church are today.
Ryan Thomas: Bolivia 1
Ryan is stoked for the Bolivia expedition this summer. He is passionate about life and never stops moving. His friends often find him planning and carrying out epic adventures-taking advantage of the rivers and mountains of the West. After an ideal year at BYU-Hawaii, he was called to serve a Spanish speaking mission in Independence Missouri. After two years of rewarding work, he entered BYU majoring in Business Strategy, and is currently preparing for medical school.
"If you want the light of Christ, serve His children, love everybody, and embrace each day with an enthusiastic welcome. Bolivia this summer is going to rock!"
Nathan Larson: Bolivia 2Born and raised in the wild desert of Arizona, Nathan came into this world with a purpose in mind. His many opportunities to gain experiences with cultures, societies, and people from all over the world have helped him to understand and appreciate others. One great experience was being able to serve the people in Paraguay as a missionary. Some of the greatest moments in his life have been while serving others and learning from them.
Service is love. This is because “charity is the pure love of Christ”, and charity is the act of serving others. Thus pure love, the love we wish to give back to Christ, can be done through service. We all have special abilities and talents to serve those around us, we just cannot be afraid or hesitate to use them.
This is Nathan's second year with HEFY, and he thinks Bolivia is going to be an amazing experience, with lots of laughs, smiles, and learning. That’s the great thing about life, the more you put in, the more you get out (doesn’t follow the laws of matter)! “I cannot wait to put all I can into these weeks and have a blast while serving the people of Bolivia!”
Brett Anderson: Bolivia 2
Brett says "I’ve traveled a lot and lived in some cool places. I lived in Greece when I was a kid and served a mission in Northern Spain. I have also visited the Philippines and Mexico, and love to see and experience new cultures. I’m on the BYU International Folk Dance Team and toured Utah with them last summer. I’m studying Civil Engineering right now at BYU and taking some pretty awesome Highway Design and water resources classes, but I don’t want to be an Engineer right after graduation because I want to be a pilot in the US Air Force. I’ve spent almost 4 years in the demanding ROTC program, and was accepted into the professional program- which means I’ll be a Lieutenant in the Air Force a few days after graduation. I’ve been looking forward to that my whole life, so I’m pretty excited for it to happen. I love to read, play guitar, hang out with my friends, and help those around me to stay positive and love life. I’ve found everyone can make a difference, and I’m really excited to join HEFY this summer.
Shawn Moore: Bolivia 3
Shawn served his mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia and is thrilled to be taking you all to his old mission stomping grounds.
Shawn’s mission to Bolivia was a life-changing experience, which is why he decided to become involved with HEFY. He loves helping youth have similar experiences, by building their testimonies through service to others. Shawn is actually the previous Director of HEFY and couldn’t resist the opportunity to lead another group of incredible youth on an HEFY trip. Not only that, but he gets to do it with his beautiful wife! (She’ll probably be the first to tell you that she’s the Trip Leader and Shawn is the Assistant.)
Shawn holds a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise from the University of Utah (though he still bleeds blue). Shawn has lived and/or worked in eight different countries and has built a career in leadership development. He currently works for a decision management solutions company in San Francisco with clients ranging from the NFL to the Joint Chiefs and NASA. Even with cool clients like this, nothing beats spending 2 ½ weeks in a third-world country with 25 teenagers. (Just ask Mary, that’s where he took her on their honeymoon!)
Mary Moore: Bolivia 3
Mary first made her way abroad as an elementary school teacher, after graduating from BYU, and quickly fell in love with the people and culture (which you'll find is easy to do!).
Andrew Navarro: Dominican Republic 1, 2 & Peru 3
Bryan Clark: DR 2,3
Bryan is from a rambunctious family of 9 kids, and he himself is a triplet with his 2 other sisters. Family has always been his passion, which includes 10 (soon to be 12) nieces and nephews. Bryan grew up in beautiful Upstate New York and then moved to Utah during his teenage years where he and his family have since lived. He served a mission for the Church in Uruguay, where he gained a great love for Jesus Christ, the Spanish language and Latin culture. Since his mission he’s majored in Exercise Science at BYU, where he will soon graduate and plans on then pursuing a degree in the medical field. He enjoys training for marathons, swimming, cooking, playing the piano, singing and most of all sharing the gospel.“I believe we all have a chance at making a great difference in the world. The greatest truth I’ve ever experienced is that ‘In Christ, we can do all things’. The gospel is joyful, so let’s share that happiness with others.”
Allison King: Ecuador 1
Allison was born in Gainesville, Florida and is the 3rd of five children. She is accustomed to getting to know new people and places as she grew up in the military, home-moving every 2-4 years. Allison loves to travel, learn about new cultures, and try new foods. She served a Spanish speaking mission in Cordoba, Argentina and has provided service as a Speech/Language Pathologist in Mexico and Nicaragua. After serving a mission, Allison graduated with a B.A. in Communication Disorders at BYU and then earned a M.S. at the University of Utah in Speech/Language Pathology. Although Allison attended the U and BYU, she remains a Cougar Fan. Go Cougs!
Currently Allison is working as a Speech Language Pathologist with preschoolers with multiple disabilities in Salt Lake City. She also evaluates Spanish language students in the district. When Allison is not traveling or working, she enjoys attending BYU sporting events, running, reading, hiking, and cooking. She is very excited for her second year as a HEFY Trip Leader in Ecuador! She believes that following the example of the Savior, by looking outside of yourself, is what brings true happiness.
Crystal Trejo: Ecuador 1 and 2
Crystal says: "I am graduating this year from Harvard College with a degree in Government. I have spent the past four years in Boston/Cambridge and in this time have seen more of the US than I'd ever imagined, from swimming in Walden Pond and interviewing video gamers at an Indianapolis Convention, to surfing in San Diego, snowshoeing in Woodstock, NH, and visiting George Washington's home in VA. After I graduate, I will be road-tripping with my family (4 amazing sisters and a brother, plus goodly parents) back to Tucson, AZ, stopping at the church history sites on the way.
Julia Hess: Ecuador 2,3Julia says "Hey ya'll. I'm so excited to be a trip leader this year! I served a mission in Lima, Peru and I have been home for about a year now. My favorite thing to do is travel and I am always up for an exciting adventure. I love quoting "What about Bob" and my favorite food is chocolate milk. I also love laughing, staying up late, and playing any kind of sport. I currently am studying social work and in my free time enjoy playing the piano, designing, baking, and wake-boarding."
Kyra Tarbell Miller: Fiji East 1, Ecuador 3
Kyra has a penchant for vintage clothing, scarves, marching bands, ultramarathons, vegetables, scrabble, bright colors, late night bike rides, and laying on warm rocks. She was born in the Land of Enchantment where she learned to catch lizards, play soccer, throw a good party and cook like her mother. She went to BYU in hopes of being an astronaut but decided to settle on getting her degree in Humanities Secondary Education and International Development. Her summers were spent around the world trying to figure out how to grow the perfect mango and build bridges.
She attempted to settle herself for a bit in Denver as she pursued her Masters in Public Administration, but that only lasted long enough to get her degree and start a career before getting married and setting off on another kind of adventure. She is currently figuring out what it is like to be a Canadian, while she teaches yoga and works with kids with disabilities. She loves to see individual's intelligence, tender actions and facial emotions. She loves her husband, she loves service, she loves the gospel and can't wait to get this hard workin party started.
Max Orton: Fiji East 1,2,3Max says: "My name is Max. I am currently studying film and business at BYU. I love riding my bicycle really fast, mixing music, and, if there is time left over, I love to take naps. I like to cook food and I am the owner and founder of an international sports league. 4 years ago I got home from serving a mission to the great Australia Sydney North mission. I loved every minute of my mission and being able to serve people and share my testimony. Working hard and serving people makes me super happy. HEFY is the best opportunity to gain that joy and meet amazing people from different parts of the world. I love it."
Scott Huish: Fiji East 2
Scott grew up in Mesa, Arizona in a family of 9 children and has always been active in music, sports, education, and service. Scott served a mission in France and recently completed graduate studies at the University of Oxford- both absolutely ‘charming’ experiences. Additional travels have taken Scott to most parts of the world as he has enjoyed big cities as well as remote and rural towns that are often overlooked. But regardless of location it is the people that matter.
Scott is an entrepreneur and enjoys organizing, growing, and motivating others.
Kristina Helland: Fiji East 3
Kristina graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations. (She is a diehard UTE fan!) She immediately began to work with people as an Event Planner and Account Executive for a public relations firm. During her career she has enjoyed meeting and working with people from all over making lasting business relationships.
She did a study abroad in Europe traveling around to London, Paris, Scotland and Ireland. She also served a mission in Copenhagen Denmark where she not only taught the Danes but people from China, the Philippians, India, Australia, Africa, Iceland and Greenland. She loves learning about all cultures and immersing herself in experiences with new people.
Kristina is constantly in the outdoors of Utah camping, hiking, wakeboarding, snowboarding, running and climbing with her husband and poochie. She is always up for an adventure or learning something new. In her free time she enjoys playing the violin and teaching yoga to all levels and ages.
Dave Chalk: Tonga 1 & Fiji West 1,2
Dave Chalk grew up in San Diego. While growing up he went to sports camps, EFY, and even went to surf camp with Kevin Costner’s daughter. After playing water polo, swim team, and volleyball in high school, Dave moved on to BYU. Dave served a mission in Salt Lake City and then graduated BYU with a degree in communications. Dave is currently working on a Master’s degree in Mass Communication.
This is Dave’s second summer with HEFY and he is ecstatic to be able to be a Trip Leader again. Dave is passionate about the HEFY program and the difference it makes in the participants, those we serve, and even the Trip Leaders’ lives.
Dave's hobbies include cooking, baking, and traveling to eat delicious food. He is also a big supporter of Couchsurfing, concerts, baseball, and his newest endeavor is attempting to learn the banjo. Dave is also a big nerd and loves debate, academic research, social media consulting, and eventually plans on earning a PhD.
Anya Salden: Fiji West 1
Hi, my name is Anya and this will be my first adventure with HEFY! I'm so excited - you have no idea! 1) I love the polynesian cultures, 2) I love to travel, and 3) I love to do random service stuff, so having the opportunity to satisfy all of those loves in one trip - what more could a girl ask for? Oh, but the icing on the cake is the opportunity to be with the youth of the church and experience the greatness of the next generation!
I grew up in Watsonville, California - home of the best strawberries in the world and Martinelli's Apple Cider. I am the youngest of 4 children. My siblings are all married and have children. Therefore, I am the proud auntie of 13 nieces and nephews! I graduated from UC Davis with a BS degree in Exercise Science, then lived in the Netherlands for a while, and then received another BS degree from MCPHS (it's in Boston) in Radiologic Sciences. Which brings me to another one of my favorite things, x-rays. I am currently working as an x-ray technician for an orthopedic clinic in Santa Cruz, California and I love it! When I'm not telling my patients random parts of my life story while taking their x-rays, I might be: reading, watching a movie, getting into the music (listening, singing, dancing, playing, or a combination of those), biking, swimming, crocheting, or laughing. I also enjoy eating anything made with cheese, playing sports, learning new things, experiencing different cultures, and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Josh Cox: Peru 1
Joshua is eager to journey to Peru and help the local people. He served a mission in Brazil, and then returned home to Utah to complete a bachelor's degree in Marriage and family Studies at BYU. He is the tenth of twelve children and is the happy uncle of 40 nieces and nephews.
Most of his hobbies are somehow tied to music and sports. He is grateful for the training he has had, and in turn looks for opportunities to share what he's learned. This is Josh's second year with HEFY and he is thrilled to work with the youth again and share many incredible spiritual experiences with them in Peru."I can't imagine a better way to spend the summer. There's no substitute for the good feeling you get when you reach out and serve someone who really needs your help."
Ryan Bruce: Peru 1,2, Tonga 3
Ryan says, "I’m Ryan, I’m from the Seattle area. I absolutely love adventuring. I truly enjoy all that is mother nature; hiking, kayaking, skiing, camping, sailing, caving, swimming, cliff jumping, cycling, traveling, and anything else that gets me out into this beautiful world we live on. I served my mission a few years ago in northern Guatemala and it was phenomenal. I’m about to graduate with my bachelor’s (April 12th this year!!!) and have been studying exercise physiology. I love the human body and am constantly amazed at what an amazing creation it is. Just about every summer since I’ve been home from my mission I’ve spent doing EFY back in Seattle, and have loved every waking moment of it; I’ve done 18 total sessions as a counselor!!! I love working with youth, getting to know them and their individual lives, goals, hopes, and spirits. I look forward to meeting so many new and wonderful people and I’m truly elated to be able to partake in such a great adventure with them!"
Brittany Morrill: Peru 2,3
As a child of an Air Force dad, I was born in Japan and have lived in or traveled to at least 10 other countries. I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Photography and Peace and Justice Studies. I love climbing, any activity involving any body of water, adventures in general, playing the ukulele, making new friends, zipping around town on my scooter, and eating good food. I have been told I have the gift of laughter, so be ready to have fun if you’re on a trip with me. I have been leading student powered humanitarian trips to Mexico for about two years and have seen the joy that comes from serving others. I served a mission with the Hispanic people living on the border towns in Texas and am really looking forward to being among and serving some of the most loving people on earth. The best way to grow closer to the Savior is by serving his children. I am so ready to focus all of my energy into making Peru an incredible experience and am so excited to learn and grow with you all!
Elizabeth Harwood: Tonga 1,2
Elizabeth says, "Hi, I'm Elizabeth (or Liz)! I currently live the great city of New York but grew up in Southeast Georgia (sorry guys no accent!) I've always been fascinated by different cultures, countries and people so when I went to college I sought a degree in International Affairs from the University of Georgia in Athens (Go Bulldogs!). My favorite thing to do during my summers in college was to be an EFY counselor in the Southeast and Northeast. I found I had an absolute passion for working with the youth, and loved every minute of it! After college I had the incredible opportunity to work for President Carter's international non-profit organization in Atlanta, combining my love for international work and service. It was during that time I felt prompted to serve full-time, by going on a mission. That one decision has drastically changed my life more than any other! I was called to serve in the Utah Provo Mission as well as the St. George Temple Visitor Center and loved it. It was on my mission where I also realized that I was happiest while serving and working with people one-on-one.
I'm attending Columbia University and studying social work, hoping to one day become a clinical mental health counselor for teens and young adults. This is my first summer working HEFY, but I already know what an amazing and life-changing experience it will be. If you are one of my expeditions get ready to work hard, play hard and have a blast! :) See you on the other side of the world!
Catherine Stevens: Tonga 2,3Catherine says, "Hi my name is Catherine, but everyone calls me Cousin. I love to travel and have been and lived in some incredible places. I served a mission in the Independence Missouri mission, and while I was at BYU Idaho I did the Jerusalem Center Program and lived in Jerusalem for five months. I currently work for the Post Office in the middle of the night- its awesome. I love to serve people- I went on a humanitarian trip a couple of years ago to Thailand and got to work with rehabilitating elephants, it was definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done! I am really looking forward to going to Tonga this summer and I can't wait to continue to serve others!"