Board Members 

Patricia Weil Coates, President
The seed for the Umbrella Project was planted when Patricia was unable to find any grief programs for young people about the ages of her two children, then 17 and 22, when her husband, their dad, passed away in 2015. She was inspired to found the Umbrella Project after seeing how much daughter Eliane’s Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2016 helped in her grieving and healing process.

Patricia is a long-time communications and meetings professional, editor, and journalist, primarily in the aviation, travel and environmental sectors. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Frederick Magazine and numerous other publications. A pilot, she is a former executive at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and currently contributes to publications of the National Business Aviation Association. She loves to swim, cycle and hike, and has hiked Scotland’s Rob Roy Way with Eliane.

 

Linda Beckman, Chair, Wellness Committee
Linda is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Linganore Counseling and Wellness in New Market, MD. She has over 35 years of experience working with children, teen and adult clients dealing with grief, mental health and addiction issues. As a former grief counselor at both the Hospice of Frederick County and Washington County, MD, she has worked extensively with grieving clients who have lost loved ones, including losses from drug overdose, suicide, cancer, and more. Linda spent 14 years being involved with Camp Jamie, an overnight weekend grief camp for children 6-14 years old, as a volunteer “big buddy” and then a staff therapist. She also helped found a day grief camp for children and teens ages 6-17.

Linda has a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from McDaniel College and a Master’s degree in Thanatology, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, from Hood College. Linda became involved with the Umbrella Project because of her belief that hiking in nature can help young adults learn coping strategies, build confidence, and improve self-esteem, which are all tools needed for a healthy grief journey. Linda lost her brother Michael to a car accident when he was 19 and she was 25 and believes that she would have been supported by a program like the Umbrella Project if it had been available. In addition to her duties as Secretary, she is chairperson of the Wellness committee.

Regina Clark, Chair, Trip Committee
Regina has been a Registered Nurse for 39 years, and currently works part-time at the medically-supervised gym of the Frederick Health Hospital. She is CPR and ACLS certified and has her Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness First Aid certifications as well. She has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail as well as the Long Trail in New England, and is an ultra-runner, including 100-milers. She is an avid cyclist, fitness instructor, and certified yoga instructor.

Julie Christiansen, Secretary
Julie is the VP of Human Resources at Flying Dog Brewery and super proud mom of five (okay, four incredible humans and one amazing Golden Retriever). A firm believer that people cross your path for a reason, a friend connected her with the Umbrella Project and the mission resonated so deeply. Julie lost her sister when she was 20 and after many years of powering through life, has found peace, acceptance and fulfillment in exploring and hiking outdoors. Julie is certified in Outdoor Wilderness First Aid, has worn out countless pairs of hiking boots through miles and miles of adventures, and is preparing to section hike the Appalachian Trail.

Kasey Enright
Kasey took part in the 2021 inaugural Umbrella Project hike as a participant following the passing of his mother from cancer in 2020. Kasey graduated from Bridgewater College in 2019. He is a lifelong nature lover and hiker. Besides hiking, Kasey has a passion for photography and is an avid equestrian. 

Kaili van Waveren

Kaili is a grief counselor, trauma professional, and thanatologist. She is currently the Hospice Bereavement Care Supervisor for Frederick Health in Frederick, MD, and has worked with people confronting terminal illness and grieving a variety of losses. Kaili also runs Camp Jamie – a camp and support program for grieving children and adolescents.

Once an unapologetic couch potato and city slicker, Kaili is now an avid marathoner and backpacker; and can often be found in the woods. She was drawn to the Umbrella Project because it was her own painful experience grieving a beloved friend’s suicide that taught her that being active outdoors allowed her to “be” with her grief in a way that otherwise often felt intolerable.

Other Team Members 

Eliane Coates
Eliane received her Master’s degree in the Clinical Mental Health Program at Hood College and is a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC). She counseled students at Mount St. Mary’s University during her graduate studies and worked for several years in the camping department at REI. She attended UNC Asheville in North Carolina for her undergraduate degree, which is where her love for hiking began. In 2016, Eliane completed an entire thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine and remains an avid hiker. Eliane is excited about the Umbrella Project so she can further share her passion for hiking and the Appalachian Trail with others.

Mackenzie Fritz
Mackenzie is a crisis specialist at the Mental Health Association of Frederick County, MD. She helps individuals find a solution to the crisis they are facing, such as loss/grief, safety concerns in the home, and more. She enjoys helping others by giving them the tools and resources that help improve their well-being. Mackenzie earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Hood College. Since childhood, she was taught the importance and value of volunteering and helping others in the community.  When she is not volunteering, she loves to travel and do photography, as well as spending quality time with her family. She strongly believes in the mission and need for the Umbrella Project, and serves as the chairperson of the Community Outreach subcommittee.

Eve Taglang
Eve is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. She has been practicing psychotherapy at Linganore Counseling and Wellness, LLC in New Market, MD since 2014. She was instantly intrigued when she learned about the Umbrella Project because she fell in love with backpacking in 1976 and has taken some challenging and meaningful trips since that time. Eve worked with the Frederick County Health Department’s adolescent substance abuse program for four years and worked on Child Protective Services investigations and forensic interviews with the Department of Social Services in Frederick. She recently retired from the Department after working with children with sexual behavior problems.

Alex Smith
Alex is a life-long outdoorsman with worldwide backpacking experience, including the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, Patagonia, the Alps, New Zealand, the volcanoes of Central America and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. His educational experience includes teaching elementary school science for two years in Nicaragua as a Peace Corps volunteer and leading three-week long educational backpacking trips at Philmont Scout Ranch, which focuses on conservation and leadership skills. He also worked as an Outward Bound Instructor, leading students aged 12–16 on multi-day backpacking, canoeing and sea kayaking trips, teaching outdoor skills and a curriculum based on leadership, compassion, teamwork, empathy and grit. He is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, which includes CPR certification, and is a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He currently works for the DC Department of Transportation.

Travis Smith
Travis Smith
In 2018 Travis experienced rapid life changes when he lost his father, endured a divorce and sold nearly everything including a house and two businesses. Looking for space to grieve, he thru hiked the Appalachian Trail southbound in 2019.  In 2020 he hiked a section of the Southwest Coast Path in Cornwall, completed the southern loop of the Benton MacKaye Trail and became a northbound end-to-ender of Vermont’s Long Trail. This year, he plans to summit all 48 4,000 foot peaks in New Hampshire. He is a lifetime member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and is certified in Wilderness First Aid. Travis earned his MBA from Vanderbilt University and has one hiking-themed tattoo. His on-trail snack of choice is Swedish Fish. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @northboundtravis

Glenn Gordon
Glenn is retired from the U.S. Postal Service and more recently from Shepherd’s Spring Retreat Center as program director and events coordinator, where he was responsible for the oversight of summer camps, Elderhostel, Road Scholar programming and other special events. His experience includes week-long youth wilderness camps and Appalachian Trail hiking with Elderhostel participants. He has volunteered with the Boy Scouts as an assistant scoutmaster. One of the highlights of working with the Boy Scouts was their two-week backpacking trip at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He has a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management.

Betsy Maymon
Betsy is owner and principal of the graphic design firm B Maymon Design. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, she worked as a graphic designer in design firms and corporate communications before opening her own company. Betsy has worked over the years for a wide range of clients, including Smithsonian Journeys, Academic Travel Abroad, and Meritus Health, western Maryland’s largest regional hospital. She is proud to have created the Umbrella Project’s logo, website and marketing materials and believes strongly in the mission and need for the Umbrella Project.

Jeanne Russell
Jeanne is a trained Life Coach and founder of Wholistic Growth, LLC. She provides services to individuals and families in areas such as: health and wellbeing, grieving and loss, spirituality and growth, life changes, and personal/professional relationships. Prior to coaching Jeanne enjoyed a career in Marketing/Public Relations, mostly in the not-for-profit human service field. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Maryland, and has enjoyed over 30 years volunteering in her community. An outdoor enthusiast, Jeanne has hiked sections of the AT in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Most memorable hike for her was completing the entire circuit of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Jeanne believes we all have shared life stories that connect us, on a special level, to The Umbrella’s Project’s mission.

Dottie Rust
Dottie works part-time as an ASL interpreter for the Frederick County (MD) Public Schools and is a retired teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick. She has section-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and last year hiked the Long Trail in Vermont. She has summited 64 of the 67 peaks in New England that are above 4,000 feet, with the goal of summiting the last three this year. Some of her other activities include swimming, cycling, weight lifting and canoe camping. She is a volunteer with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry, WV and has presented at the ATC’s annual Flip Flop Festival about how to dehydrate food for hiking. She is certified in Wilderness First Aid.