Bernie Rupe


With over 25 years of experience working with at-risk teens, Bernie is the guiding star of Chicago Voyagers. Since taking over the Trips for Kids Fox Valley chapter in 2008, he continues to remain active in leading programs, and is determined to ensure that all Chicago teens have an opportunity to explore the outdoors and themselves.  

Pam Aliabadi

Development Director

Pam is passionate about making a difference. She has worked for a variety of nonprofits such as organizations that help people facing cancer, the arts, and those that assist with young adults with developmental disabilities. As a Chicago Northside resident, she strongly believes in the Chicago Voyager’s mission.


Bess McGeorge

PROGRAM manager - lpc

Bess has worked as a camp counselor, a camp director, and even a wilderness therapist — all stemming from her positive experience spending time in the outdoors as a kid. She has a degree in Recreation Education and a Masters in Counseling.

Rudy Ruderman

Program Leader

Rudy is a licensed massage therapist who teaches Tai Chi and holds a B.F.A. from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. While he is pursuing his Masters degree in Social work, he loves to spend time in nature.

Chelsea Pinzon

Program Leader

Chelsea is always finding a reason to be outdoors. She snowboards, rock climbs, and hikes — plus you can always find her in Colorado climbing a fourteener mountainside.

Bob Faber

Volunteer Coordinator & Program Leader

For Bob, canoeing is his primary passion. He is also an avid cyclist (riding well over a thousand miles a year), a cross country skier, and swimmer.

Matt Caron &                Carrie Gammonley

Program LeaderS

Matt is a Sports Marketing Business owner who wants to see his passion for cycling and his business resources used for a greater cause.

Carrie is an avid cyclist and an outdoor enthusiast who has volunteered with the Girl and Boy Scouts of America. Her favorite part is taking teens on mountain biking trips.




Daniel Flores

Program Assistant

Daniel started as a participant and became a volunteer. He enjoys the freedom of the outdoors, watching others overcome challenges, and seeing them feel a sense of achievement.

Joel Wallen

Program Leader

Joel’s life mission is to provide growth opportunities for at-risk, urban teens since he is also a beneficiary of such experiences as a teen.He believe those experiences made him the person he is today.

Kaitlin McBane

Program leader

As a youth care worker at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Katilin is passionate about youth development, even when it’s challenging. She discovered her love of the outdoors while attending Camp Tecumseh as a child.

Juan Ramirez

Program Assistant

Juan has been involved with Chicago Voyagers for over 7 years. He started as a participant and grew into a program assistant. He now has a love of the outdoors as well as helping youth develop a growth mindset.

Bernie Rupe

Executive Director
Chicago Voyagers

Bernie is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). He has 25 years experience working with at-risk youth.

Duke Smaroff

Board Chair
Partner, RSM US

Duke has been with McGladrey for over 20 years and is passionate about mentoring young individuals professionally and personally.

Juan Ascencio

Board Vice Chair
Teacher, Chicago Public Schools

Juan currently works for Chicago Public Schools and Christopher House. He has been working in the field for 17 years and understands the impact Chicago Voyagers have on the teens we serve.

Carl Hurdlik

Board Secretary
Community Engagement Specialist, Chicago Public Schools

Carl has spent his entire career working in or with Chicago Public Schools; teaching health education and implementing violence prevention curricula.

Britton Lombardi

Board Member
Director of Strategy and Finance at OptionsHouse

Britton is responsible for growth-stage technology companies’ financial planning and analysis. As a lifelong participant in team sports and adventure activities, she strongly believes in their positive impact.

Ian Kasper

Board Member
Principal, Kasper Law Office

Ian is a practicing attorney who focuses on adult and juvenile criminal defense and also Principal Auctioneer at Lot14 Auctions. He has been involved in after-school programs and summer camps for urban and at-risk youth since 1984.

Randy Pfeifer

Board Member
Vice President, Development, Cleversafe, Inc

Randy is a senior engineering executive leading the development of complete real-time communication systems. He has a long relationship with the Boy Scouts of America where he has served as Scout Master and High Adventure Coordinator.

Jorge De Leon

Board Member
Social Worker, Addison Trail High School

As a Chicago native and social worker, Jorge is a Chicago Voyagers founder and strongly believes in reaching out to youth who have not experienced the outdoors.

Ernie Sadera

Board Member
Outdoor Enthusiast

Ernie is retired and enjoys spending his free time backpacking, paddling, fly fishing, and skiing. He came to Chicago Voyagers to share his passion of the outdoors and to mentor youth.

John Huston

Polar Explorer

John is a professional polar explorer and veteran of the first American North Pole unsupported expedition. He wholeheartedly believes in supporting at-risk youth and the power of outdoor education.