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Mountain Alliance staff and students gather after a backpacking trip in Pisgah National Forest. More backpacking and other adventures are planned for the spring semester. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2013-01-07 14:25:14
Last modified: 2013-01-07 14:25:14

Mountain Alliance to host spring kickoff

by Staff Reports

Mountain Alliance is preparing for its spring semester of outdoor adventure and community service programs, to be guided by a new interim executive director.

The nonprofit organization has provided programs for high school students for 22 years.

The group had a busy fall and organized 53 outings, which concluded with 107 student members. The after school and weekend trips are divided between outdoor adventures and community service outings including backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, caving, preparing meals at the Hospitality House, trail building and more.

Mountain Alliance staff and members are looking forward to building on the momentum from the fall with a new calendar of exciting opportunities for young people to get outside and explore the world around them while building a positive community of peers and mentors.

Shelly Robinson will be transitioning during the spring 2013 semester into the interim executive director job while Todd Nolt is on sabbatical. Robinson, an Appalachian State graduate in recreation management, began volunteering with Mountain Alliance in 2007 by helping with after school and weekend trips. That same year, she jumped on the opportunity to lead the Rolling Academy, a two-week leadership expedition that is held each summer.

“After the Rolling Academy, I was hooked!” Robinson said.

Robinson’s most recent role has been the Mountain Alliance’s program coordinator where she has worked for the last three years, planning the student calendar, leading trips and mentoring staff and students.

“I am excited to take on this new role and serve the students of Watauga County in a different capacity,” she said. “Through working for The Mountain Alliance, I have learned that we have an expansive network of support that I know will help and support the Mountain Alliance through this transition. My goal is to continue to promote and expand Mountain Alliance as a learning environment, where all students feel welcome and are free to be themselves. We are gearing up for the spring semester and are proud to offer a brand new calendar of exciting trips including alternative spring breaks, Youth Service Day and many outdoor adventures.”

The Mountain Alliance spring kick-off will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Watauga High School media center. Students will be provided with the spring calendar of events, permission slips and details for upcoming trips. Mountain Alliance is open to all high school-age youth in Watauga County, and all programs are free to students.

To learn more about Mountain Alliance or to contribute and get involved, visit