Meet the CAT Team
Andrea Knepper, LCSW, founded Chicago Adventure Therapy in 2006 and has been the director since then. She has a broad range of clinical expertise, as well as sea kayaking and wilderness guiding experience. Andrea earned her BA from Oberlin College in 1995 and has been in social services since then. She earned her M.S.W. from Loyola University in 2002. During her career, she has worked closely with teens and their families at Turning Point Community Mental Health Center as both a case manager and therapist, at Volunteers of America as a therapist, and at Open Door Shelter, where she helped coordinate daily operations.
Chicago Adventure Therapy is in the process of hiring a new Clinical Director.
Program Director & Volunteer Coordinator
Laura is a seasoned outdoor program manager and instructor with experience directing international wilderness schools as well as guiding in both mountain and coastal settings. She is driven by a desire to create lasting connections between people, the outdoors, and their communities.
Laura earned a BS in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences with an Outdoor Education Specialist certificate. Since then she has logged sixteen years of guiding adventure activities in six countries. As an instructor for the DYS Wilderness Challenge Program, she led youth involved with the court system on 31-day wilderness expeditions. Then she began her love affair with Latin America as the Program Director for Exposure Adventure Program in the Dominican Republic. She also spent two years as the Program Director for Costa Rica Outward Bound. Recently Laura was a part of the REI Chicago Outdoor School team.
Laura is a certified Wilderness First Responder, SCUBA Diver, and CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor. She is a Level 2 UKCC Paddlesports Coach and holds a British Canoeing Three Star Award in Sea Kayak, Canoe, and Whitewater Kayak. Outside of CAT, you can find Laura running, playing soccer, and trying to find ways to make the Chicago weather warmer.
Program Staff / Gear Coordinator
Zorbari holds a British Canoeing Three Star Award and in 2012 was the youngest Level 1 UKCC Paddlesports Coach in North America. Zorbari graduated from Howard University in May 2017.
Tiara began as a youth participant with CAT during the summer of 2015. Despite hating kayaking the first day and swearing she would never do it again, Tiara went on to earn her British Canoeing Two Star Award and in 2016 took the title of North American’s youngest Level 1 UKCC Paddlesports Coach from Zorbari (see above). Tiara was a Youth Intern with CAT in the summer of 2017 and is now a part of our program staff.
Chicago Adventure Therapy Board of Directors
Beth is always willing to step up to whatever challenge presents itself as a Board Member, whether scheduling meetings for a group of very busy people, designing a new fundraising campaign, or volunteering to serve on a committee. Beth works at Rotary International. As a Regional Grant Officer, she reviews grant applications that request funding anywhere from $30,000-$200,000 for conducting service projects in the Caribbean and Latin America. By night, she is the founder and editor-in-chief of Go Girl, an online magazine and community for women travelers. Currently, Beth is studying for her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, with focuses on entrepreneurship/innovation and social enterprise. Beth believes that the natural world is good for the soul, and she is also a huge fan of the social, developmental and cognitive growth that occurs with team sports. She rowed crew for nearly six years and coached high school rowing for two years, and has seen first-hand how rowing can bring a diverse group of teens together. She’d love for kids in the Chicago area to get that same experience, especially considering the fact that outdoor sports often aren’t cheap! When not rowing, she enjoys a good kayak or hike in the woods!
Robert brings tremendous enthusiasm coupled with practical, no-nonsense financial knowledge and project management skills to CAT. Robert jumped head first into the details of cash flow and budgets, and also into the big picture of financial strategy. Robert does Strategy and Corporate Development for U.S. Cellular. As most people involved with CAT, Robert has a deep love of the outdoors. He has personally received many therapeutic benefits from outdoor activity, and gets really excited about creating similar opportunities for youth that otherwise do not have the means to do so. He is an alumnus of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Robert’s favorite outdoor sport is running. His morning runs are his solace and strength. He also loves hiking/backpacking, camping and beach volleyball.
Christopher brings a unique combination of skills to CAT. He has a passion for the outdoors, an understanding of how outdoor experiences can be transformative, experience leading and creating outdoor programs, and a degree in Park and Recreation Administration. Christopher’s outdoor background and experience is matched, even surpassed, by his deep and varied experience and leadership in the field of youth development, working as front-line staff, supervisor and program manager in a variety of settings including transitional living programs, residential treatment, alternative education and youth centers. Currently Christopher works as a Site Director at Lawrence Hall Youth Services. His favorite outdoor sport is swimming.