It was back in 2001 when Jen Frickey first made the trek down here to Colorado — and eventually Eagle Rock — from her home in Canada. She was barely unpacked before she got right to work, serving as an intern in our Human Performance Center (HPC) as well as a Ponderosa houseparent.
Jen was later promoted to instructional specialist for the HPC and transferred her newly acquired house-parenting skills to a stint at Lodgepole. Then she left us in 2008 to return to Canada.
In the ensuing years, Jen and her husband, Jimmy, worked at Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County (Pembroke, Ontario). After helping that organization investigate and create alternative high school options for teens in their care, Jen spent another two years coordinating its education and training foster parents. She says she had the opportunity to “take advantage of the Canadian health care system” and enjoy some time off when each of her children were born.
Jen’s back at her Eagle Rock home now, and we thought we’d catch everybody up on her current happenings:
Eagle Rock: What do you do here at Eagle Rock?
Jen: As director of curriculum, I get to work with the leadership team and oversee the learning experience of our students. I work with the instructional team to develop innovative and engaging learning opportunities, and critically examine how our curriculum aligns with the five expectations. In my work, I strive to ensure that we’re graduating empowered and energized young people ready to make a difference in the world. I love that my job gives me the opportunity to work with both staff and students who are passionate about creating change.
Eagle Rock: Where did you receive your education?
Jen: I earned my master’s degree in educational leadership through Walden University in 2006, and did most of my previous studies through Queen’s University (Canada) where I received my B.Ed, B.P.H.E and B.A in 2000.
Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?
Jen: After leading wilderness trips in Canada, I wanted to go into teaching, but I also wanted the deeper connection and meaningful interactions that outdoor experiences with teens offered. After I received my teaching degree, I came out to Colorado to get some ideas from schools in Denver. A subsequent two-hour tour of Eagle Rock turned into a two-day visit, which turned into eight years of working at Eagle Rock! I fell in love with the fact that every member of the community was choosing to be here. I respected that Honda had made this commitment to American society with local implications and national goals. It was really the conversations that made me want to be a part of a community that valued learning in a diversity of ways, growth for both staff and students, and a school that explicitly saw its role in creating a better society and empowered graduates to be a part of that world.
Eagle Rock: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Jen: My family keeps me laughing and reminds of what a fun world we live in. Dylan (3) and Alex (1) are hilarious, and we love to go on hikes and explore, bake treats, swim, and explore Eagle Rock’s campus here in Estes Park. When I’m not “being a mom,” I love cycling and running, and have great fun experimenting with new recipes, using the vegetables from our CSA (community supported agriculture) basket each week.
Eagle Rock: What reality TV should you be on and why would you win or be kicked off?
Jen: Really? I have to admit I’m not that up on reality TV shows, but I think I’d do pretty well on The Amazing Race. I think that with Philbert (Eagle Rock’s director of students) as a partner, we’d really tear it up! You know what, though? Even with all that great travel and problem solving, I think we’d eventually be kicked off because we’d think too much about how the other teams were doing and if we could help them out or get to know them better.
Eagle Rock: What’s your all-time favorite Eagle Rock success story?
Jen: Some of my favorite memories of my years teaching at Eagle Rock revolve around the pool. When I think back to the number of students who arrived at Eagle Rock not knowing how to swim or being really uncomfortable in the pool, I love thinking of all the time we ended up being in the water together. To me, the pool has been a snapshot of a student’s larger Eagle Rock experience. There were a number of students who arrived at Eagle Rock as “non-swimmers” and left as certified lifeguards. Being able to teach at a school that values the whole learner, personal growth, physical challenge and academic success – that’s what makes Eagle Rock powerful.
Eagle Rock: What’s one thing not many people know about you?
Jen: I have a deep love of iPhoto and custom books it allows you to create. I could check out for hours of editing photos and putting them together into memory books. It’s like zoning out into an entirely other world where no one needs my attention!