Rebekah A. Meyer
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.
Emily was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She gained her love for experiential education and facilitation through a challenge course in Oklahoma. Emily got her bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Leadership Ministry at John Brown University. For three summers in college, she worked for the Excursions Program at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado Springs. In her college years, Emily enjoyed climbing, biking and hiking all over Northwest Arkansas and Colorado.
Emily spent the last two years getting her masters degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership through Wheaton College. During the masters program, Emily was the Wilderness Tripping Coordinator at HoneyRock, Wheaton College’s Outdoor Center for Leadership Development. While in Wisconsin, she loved getting to cross country and downhill ski. Emily is also a Wilderness First Responder and PCIA Top Rope Instructor certified.
In her free time, Emily loves to be with people. She enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and volleyball whenever she gets the chance.
Program Facilitator / Ropes Course Manager
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.
Isabella was raised in San Antonio Texas. While in high school Isabella found a passion in athletic training which brought her to Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. In 2019 Isabella graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and has a certification in CPR/First-Aid. During college Isabella participated in junior achievement where she realized working with youth was a path she wanted to continue and develop. While growing up Isabella spent a vast sum of time in Rockport with her family fishing and playing on the beach. Isabella’s family always travels together to places like Tennessee where she enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors. In Isabella’s down time she enjoys reading, crocheting, and playing basketball.
With two dogs and one cat, Isabella has also learned the benefits of animals. And how they can greatly impact people’s lives via animals therapy and companionship.
Amanda is from Thackerville, Oklahoma. She grew up on her parent’s land in the countryside, hiking, camping, and climbing trees with her five brothers. This is where she really found her love for adventure. After high school, Amanda went off to college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational and Strategic Communications with a minor in Art. While there, she had the chance to invest in and serve her local youth group. A little later she started traveling to different countries through university programs and fell in love with the diversity of the many different cultures. Amanda also developed a new program called the American Family and Friend program for international students. It has grown and helped many adjust to life in the U.S. After graduating in Fall 2016, she moved to Western China and lived there for almost two years. She worked as an intern for an adventure company and led tour groups and backpacking trips in the foothills of the Himalayas. She also studied language and culture while there and made many connections with locals. During her time, she learned that adventure activities provide a unique opportunity to overcome different challenges and bring growth.
In her free time, Amanda enjoys hanging out with friends, traveling, cooking, playing ping pong, rock climbing, and finding new fun experiences in the area. She is passionate about being a part of the community and giving back.
Ryan was raised here in Corpus Christi, Texas. He grew up with a love of playing outdoors and going to the beach with his four brothers. After high school, Ryan went on to attend Texas A&M University to study Finance. He loved using his weekends to escape to the surrounding outdoor areas in and around College Station. During his time in college, Ryan volunteered with Save Our Streets Ministries in Bryan, TX, which provided a safe place for at risk teens to learn and grow through activities and studies. After graduating in 2017, Ryan went on to live in China for two years where he spent most of his time working with expat youth students and local college students in his city. This time included occasional trips to the mountain areas surrounding the city, where he really enjoyed hiking, camping, and meeting locals along the way. Some hobbies of his include; basketball, disc golf, guitar, and all things outdoors.
Summer Facilitator / Contract Facilitator
Julie grew up in the small town of Burleson, TX just outside of Fort Worth. Both sides of her family instilled hard work and manual labor and the result was always worth the work! Her grandfather has a ranch near Springtown, TX and her other grandparents own land in Possum Kingdom lake. Julie was always on the land and helping maintain or build sandbag walls, dig paths, mow fields, cut down trees and pave ways. After a hard days work she and her family would sit back and enjoy either the sunset, fire, night fishing or a jump in the lake! This seeded a forever blossoming, grounding love for the outdoors. Today she loves everything nature, her most favorite part of nature is sunrise and sunset she also loves fishing, being on the water, wake boarding, camping, enjoying the beach, playing soccer with her dogs, to simply driving around. Currently, Julie is pursuing a degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Management and minor in Marketing, she plans to graduate in December 2020; and has a certification in CPR/First-Aid. Julie’s career goals have always been to impact as many lives possible in a positive constructive way. She plans to help youth and college athletes in their journeys and ensure their fair treatment from the best staff possible.
Summer Facilitator / Contract Facilitator
Tevin was born in Cincinnati Ohio. Growing up he moved around to parts of Maryland, Indiana and now Texas. This is where he developed his love of exploration and nature. This passion continues today as he works with the youth in the community, teaching many sustainable life practices including cooking, gardening, survival skills, nutrition, environmental awareness and more! He has many ongoing programs within the community helping the youth broaden their experiences. He is currently working with both Corpus Christi Montessori school and Grow Local South Texas in a joint effort to educate youth on what it takes to run a business that allows them to sell the food they grow in their gardens and other crafted goods at the Downtown Farmers market. Tevin has completed certifications for becoming a Natural leader, Plant-based cooking and CPR/First aid. As he continues to learn, develop and hone his skill set from herbology to primitive skills, Tevin instills these practices while educating his family and friends about the importance of learning and preservation of these skills!
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.
Board Vice Chairman
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.
Emily is a native Corpus Christian and has two wonderful young children. She followed in her grandmother’s footsteps and has been a residential REALTOR in the Coastal Bend since 2010 and is a top producing agent at her company. She loves the outdoors and grew up raising cattle on the weekends at her parent’s ranch on Lake Corpus Christi. Her true passion in life is traveling, learning different cultures and meeting new people.
Emily stays active in many philanthropic activities in the community. She has chaired on the fundraiser for the Art Museum of Corpus Christi. She was also a member of the Corpus Christi ELKS lodge for several years where their community support focused on local foster children and veterans. She and her family also put on a yearly toiletry drive for Metro Ministries. Emily is excited to join the board at Youth Odyssey and use her love for life, the outdoors and children to make a positive impact on Corpus Christi’s at risk youth.
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 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 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.
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 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.
Jason was born and raised in Houston, Texas where he began his career in the mortgage industry. He later expanded his growth to Corpus Christi, Texas in 2008 where he branded and built a new office and with that a new market. He has been in the mortgage industry for 16 years and has excelled within his career as a Regional Producing Manager with one of the top mortgage lenders in the nation. He has received numerous awards within his career such as: Certified TREC instructor, Certified Lending Tree Loan Officer 2005, Top Loan Officer 2005-Present, Top Branch with Circle of Excellence 2010-2013, and not only survived, but thrived during the mortgage bust.
Jason is happily married to his beautiful wife, Sarah, and they have 2 sons and a daughter. When not helping families achieve the home ownership dream, you can bet Jason and his family are outdoors hunting, fishing, camping, skiing, or just lounging around.
Crispin Mendez Jr.
Crispin Mendez Jr.
He is a lifelong resident of Corpus Christi having graduated from Mary Carroll High School in 1987. Crispin has been in Law Enforcement since April 1993 spending 10 years at the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office. Currently he is employed by CCPD and has served in the Patrol Division, and Gang Unit. In 2009 he moved into CID working with the Family Violence Unit, Crimes Against Children Unit, Auto Theft, and presently Robbery/Homicide.
Crispin has been involved with youth for the past 18 years coaching Baseball and Football. He enjoys working with them and watching them become young adults and productive citizens.
He is married with three kids, two in middle school and his oldest son (22) is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps.