Rebekah A. Meyer

Executive Director

Originally from Washington State, Becky  joined Youth Odyssey in 2006, and has been the Executive Director since 2009.  She holds degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Education with an emphasis on Community Involvement.  After graduating she joined the US Peace Corps and served in the Philippines for three years where she advocated for proper Coastal Resource Management and obtained a taste for Nonprofit Management. 

Upon returning stateside she transitioned into the Wilderness Therapy and Adventure Experience fields in the Texas Hill Country.  Though she enjoyed her position, she yearned to be challenged and stretched even more. This lead to obtaining her first position at Youth Odyssey, and she has never been “bored” since. Becky is a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi – class 46, a Lifegroup leader at Real Life Corpus Christi, and business member of Leadership Team Development. 

She loves to drink coffee with friends old and new, garden, and has been recreating and leading adventure trips since her university years.  Her passion is to help the youth and young professionals of today to become productive citizens of our community; by realizing their full potential and revealing the inner-strength needed to navigate their lives.

Rick Nelson

Program Director

Rick, growing up in Waco, Texas, fell in love with Baylor University at a young age and, because of his love for the University, attended undergraduate there and received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Management in May 2013. Shortly after graduating, Rick spent 15 months in the Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range in Colorado working at Horn Creek Camp. It was there where Rick found his love for working with youth in camping environments. When not working, Rick hiked and camped in the Rockies and the Ozarks, explored the Spanish Caves on Marble Mountain, white water rafted the Arkansas River, and recreationally rock climbed throughout parts of Colorado. From there, Rick started working at the Sky Ranch in Texas as a part of the School Programs Department. During his time at Sky Ranch, Rick taught outdoor education programs primarily to 4th and 6th grade students from public and private schools. Another one of his roles was to present on behalf of Sky Ranch to teachers and administrators in Northeastern Texas about tools to more effectively engage with students in the classroom. Along with this, Sky Ranch has a partnership with Dallas Baptist University Ministry School, where Rick was apart of their Master’s Program. Rick  graduated with a Masters in Christian Education, concentrating on leading nonprofits, in May of 2017. Rick has experience as a Level 1 High Ropes course facilitator through Adventure Experiences Inc., and is First Aid and CPR certified through Emergency First Response. With his combined knowledge of education and outdoor experiences, Rick is excited to share it all with the participants in our Youth Odyssey programs.

Edward Flores

Program Facilitator

Eddie was born and raised in Austin, Texas. As a child he and his family went camping in the hill country often and he created some of his most fond memories on these trips. Eddie is also a baseball fan and has 16 years of playing the game under his belt. When he graduated high school, he started school at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. While attended school, Eddie worked at Dick’s Sporting Goods as a sales associate in the Hunting and Fishing departments. He also worked for 21st Century after school programs at South Park Middle School. In May 2018, Eddie graduated from Texas A&M Corpus Christi with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and is working toward becoming certified to teach K-12 PE. He is also CPR and First-Aid certified. In his free time, Eddie likes to go fishing, kayaking, hanging out at the beach with his furry friend Dakota and exploring everything this beautiful coastal city has to offer.

MaKena Smith

Program Facilitator

Growing up in Austin, Texas Kena quickly fell in love with the outdoors. She spent most of her childhood at summer camps, backpacking, hiking, camping, kayaking, and more! Kena quickly took to the sport of rock climbing when she was 15 years old. She has recreationally and competitively climbed ever since. Throughout her residency in the Austin area, Kena created several non-profit organizations to benefit animal shelters in her community and has spent a substantial amount of time volunteering for youth developmental programs. Kena also plays several musical instruments and is attending Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi as a Music Therapy Major. She is also AED and First-Aid certified. Although Kena never likes to miss an adventure, in her free time she loves taking her dogs to the beach and being with her family.

Janna Pate

Program Facilitator

Janna has returned to Texas after a decade of work-life adventures, from teaching in the public schools of New York City to working in mental healthcare in Seattle, and from guiding students in horticulture therapy activities in Hawai’i to leading garden education programs in Salt Lake City, with as much outdoor exploration as possible along the way. Janna holds her BA in philosophy and English and her MA in creative writing from Texas Christian University, as well as her MS in special education from Pace University. She is W-EMT and lifeguard certified.

Janna joins Youth Odyssey in the hopes of teaching the next generation that healthy people make a healthy planet. She is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and creative, mindful living. Outside of work, Janna can be found engaged in running, swimming, biking, surfing, gardening, cooking, volunteering with local environmental stewardship organizations, writing poetry, learning to play the guitar, practicing alto saxophone, spending quality time with her partner, playing games with family and friends, and singing enthusiastically to her cats.

Kim Cox


Kim owns his own private practice here in Corpus Christi and is involved in Maya Research Program and Shumla Archaeological Research and Educational Center. He works to fund his many hobbies that include rock climbing, mountaineering, and Texas rock interpretation. He recently co-authored The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos. in 1997, Kim co-founded Youth Odyssey with the purpose of providing at risk kids with the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities and team building. The objective was to remove them from their environments and use the greater environmental experience as an education tool. Recent studies at the time had shown that exposing kids to challenging situations and the outdoors had a tremendously positive effect on them, and there were no programs in Corpus Christi to provide that sort of experience.

James Gourley

Board Member

James was introduced to Youth Odyssey by his father in law, William “Dusty” Durrill in 2001. They were building and doing improvements on The River Ranch which is owned and operated by the Devary Durrill Foundation. Their focus was on youth groups and Youth Odyssey was a perfect fit. James has been involved as a Board Member and Volunteer ever since. His daughters McKinna and Riley became active participants in the programs and have gone on to achieve mentor and volunteer status. They continue to work during the summer programs teaching SCUBA diving and first aid/CPR. They also volunteer in the living local summer camps with equestrian programs and fishing at the River Ranch. “Many of the kids have come back year after year and it is so rewarding to watch them grow and become so much more confident in themselves. I am so proud to be part of this program that is so beneficial to so many kids that may never get to experience the kind of outdoor leadership education Youth Odyssey provides. Youth Odyssey truly opens minds and broadens horizons!!”

Polly Harris

Board Member

Polly Harris is a retired school teacher of 26 years who was also an assistant principal for 7 years but, she hasn’t actually retired just yet. Raised in Corpus Christi, Polly now owns her own insurance agency. In addition to running her own company, Polly is constantly doing something for one organization or another. At any given time she is serving on multiple boards for all types of philanthropic purposes. Luckily, one of those boards is Youth Odyssey’s. Anyone who knows her, knows that Polly has “one speed, and it’s Go” but the community is a better place for it. She lives on 7 acres wither husband Alex and loves her horses and grand kids immensely.

Ralph Silva

Board Member

Dr. Rafael Silva is a School Leadership Executive Director for the Corpus Christi Independent School District. Rafael Silva works with principals, teachers, staff, parents and the community to help ensure the success of all students.

He attended Corpus Christi State University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. He received his Masters of Science degree from Texas A & M University. Dr. Silva completed the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in December 2008. He also serves an adjunct professor at TAMUCC teaching at the graduate level working with teachers seeking their administrative certification.

Dr. Silva has been on the board for Youth Odyssey for 4 years. He has worked with the youth in our city in many roles such as teacher, assistant principal, principal, and School Executive Director. Youth Odyssey has helped build leadership attributes in many of the youth in our community. Establishing leadership Skills helps the students improve their self-esteem and do well academically.

Courtney Schroeder

Board Member

Courtney graduated from NYU in 2008 and chose to return to her hometown of Corpus Christi, TX to serve the community she calls home. She worked her way up through a medical practice management career before making the move to Charlie’s Place Recovery Center in October of 2015 where she took on a new role as Human Resource Manager. In recognition of her service to the agency, she was awarded CBSHRMS “Young H/R Professional” of the year during her first year on the job. Currently the Chief Operating Officer, Courtney brings her knowledge in healthcare management to Charlie’s Place while continuing to serve the needs of patients, staff, and the community alike.

Courtney in a Leadership Corpus Christi Alumnus (XLVI), a graduate of Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence, a wife, a mother, and proud to serve Youth Odyssey.

Burak Ersoy

Board Member

Burak pursues two separate careers simultaneously. On one hand, he is a Business Clinical Analyst at Driscoll Children’s Hospital where he serves to improve the health of children in South Texas. On the other hand, he is the co-owner of the Frame Entertainment where he has entertainment business at heart.

Burak is originally from Turkey. He came to Corpus Christi in 2010 and has never left this beautiful community since. He attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) where he received his Master of Science degree in Computer Science. In addition, Burak is a proud member of Rotary Club of Corpus Christi and he also serves in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program.

As a former faculty at TAMUCC, Burak volunteered in so many youth leadership events in Corpus Christi and nearby cities. He ran summer camps, did presentations at schools and conferences, developed projects, and trained future generations of South Texas. As one of the newest members of the Youth Odyssey Board, he is very excited to continue positively impacting lives of the young adults.

Aaron Guevara

Board Member

I am a father to four beautiful boys, twelve and under, and husband to one incredible super woman wife. Over the past 13 years I have had the privilege to work alongside influential leaders and successful business owners, inheriting a variety of skills and expertise. 

Along with being a residential/commercial broker, as well as a property manager I have held positions with amazing organizations within the Coastal Bend community, serving as a marketing, communications & social media strategist, not to forget owning and managing a start-up restaurant, Takeaway Gourmet, which finally got the best of me. 

Education: Associates in Applied Science, Business Management with a Marketing Specialization from Del Mar College. Licensed Texas Real Estate Agent/Broker. CCIM Commercial RE Accredited Volunteer/Awards: I spend most of my free time these days with my boys and family, running from soccer practice to baseball practice, then back to track practice. I have recently taken an interest with Rotary, the Downtown Management District, and enjoy volunteering at our local church, New Life Church. In 2009, I was the recipient of the CC Under 40 Award.

Mark Silva

Board Member

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