Chris Qualls
Director of Educational Programs
Backcountry and Environmental Educator
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
ACA Level IV Whitewater Canoe Instructor
Chinese Proficiency

Chris Qualls, the director of JWA’s educational programs, has more than 15 years of experience teaching outdoor and environmental education and is currently completing his Middle School Math and Science Teaching Qualification through the state of Florida in the U.S.A. His passion for outdoor education began at the age of 20 when he began working with Passages Outdoor Adventure Camp in Richmond, Virginia. For the next six years, Chris worked as the site director for the whitewater kayaking program and as a rock climbing instructor and logistics coordinator.

While in University, Chris developed his skill and passion for backpacking and kayaking through countless trips in the Appalachian Mountains and whitewater runs down the Ocoee River. Over the past 15 years, Chris has traveled through more than 30 countries pursuing various outdoor adventures. Chris has backpacked such places as North Carolina’s Black Mountains, Death Valley National Park, the Karakoram Mountain Range in Northern Pakistan, and has visited the base-camp of Mt. Everest. He has kayaked world-class rivers such as the White Nile in Uganda, the Upper Gauley in West Virginia, the Rio Pacuare in Costa Rica, and the Nam Ngum in Laos.

In 2009, before working at Journey Wilderness Adventures, Chris studied under Montreat College’s Outdoor Education department. During his time at Montreat, he studied educational program development, leadership development, group dynamics and ropes course facilitation. He also obtained medical certification as a Wilderness First Responder through the Wilderness Medicine Institute and his whitewater canoe instructor’s certification through the American Canoe and Kayak Association, all of which he still holds today. In the summer of 2009, Chris also worked for CLIMBE, Montreat College’s Center for Learning and Investigating Mountain Backcountry Ecosystems, as a backpack, canoe, and rock-climbing instructor on week-long adventures focused on ecology and science field work. Chris and his wife, and two small children live in Beijing.

Carol Yard
Curriculum Manager
Backcountry and Environmental Educator
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
ACCT Level II Challenge Course Practitioner
MA Education

Carol learned to play in the outdoors as a child growing up in rural Pennsylvania. Since then, she hasn’t stopped, and her love for nature and outdoor education grows stronger every day. She got her first taste of leading adventure experiences at Camp Jumonville in Pennsylvania, and later enjoyed leading extended backpacking trips in the North Cascades of Washington. She has also led trips and trained wilderness instructors for HoneyRock Camp in Northern Wisconsin, Die Hoekie Camp in South Africa, George Fox University and Multnomah University in Oregon.

Carol holds an MA degree in Education & Outdoor Leadership from Wheaton College and a BS degree in Biology from Grove City College. She has also served as a board member of the CAA. Carol is a certified Wilderness First Responder, a Level II Challenge Course Facilitator, and is a survivor of two poisonous spider bites. She has pursued outdoor adventures in wild places on several continents, including Patagonia, South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, North and Central America, Europe, and now China. She is passionate about using the outdoor environment to positively develop people and build authentic community.

Rob Petz
Logistics Manager
Backcountry Educator
Chinese Proficiency

Rob grew up in the state of Florida. Living near a state park, he grew to love the outdoors and gained much of his outdoor experience from the Florida waters and trails. As a youth, his life was transformed during a backpacking trip to Florida’s Suwannee River. Later on, Rob became a youth leader and led many youth trips into the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Florida islands camping, and other hiking trails within Florida.

A favorite experience of living near a state park was taking his kayak out with a few guys and spending a couple days and nights out in the wild experiencing real nature. Rob also gained experience hiking the Colorado Rockies and Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountain range. As a former wrestling state champion and division 1 wrestler, he is passionate about goal setting and overcoming obstacles. Rob loves to see people taken out of their comfort zone and given the opportunity to overcome obstacles.

A special note from Rob: “This summer is going to be awesome. Give yourself the opportunity to experience pristine nature in one of the world’s most beautiful places. Many times in my life I have had significant experiences in the wild and because of this, I am passionate to see others enter the beauty, grandeur and quietness of the wilderness.”

Joy Petz
Logistics Assistant Manager
Backcountry Food Specialist
Chinese Proficiency

Joy graduated from the University of South Florida receiving a Master’s degree in Violin Performance. Joy has performed the violin in many countries and is currently involved in the music scene of Beijing where she lives with her husband and three children. She is an avid runner and has competed in several races.

She grew up in a family of campers and has continued the tradition within her own family. Joy has also assisted her husband Rob in leading outdoor youth trips. Joy is responsible for our AMAZING backcountry menu!

Ben and Rose Cubbage
Backcountry and Environmental Educator
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
Chinese Proficiency

Ben has a Bachelors of Science in Environment Science and has used his degree to teach organic agriculture and sustainable development in the bush of Ghana and Liberia. In 2008 after Ben and Rose met in Africa they returned to America and got married. On their honeymoon they backpacked 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. Six months of trekking 20 miles a day lead them through 700 miles of desert, over the tallest point in the 48 United States in the Sierra Nevadas, across rainforests, and through California, Oregon, and Washington states.

Ben has also thru hiked the 2,150 mile long Appalachian Trail on America’s east coast and, previous to meeting Rose, worked for two years for the Appalachian Mountain Club in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as a backpacking guide and naturalist.The next year in 2009 they took their love for the outdoors back to the Sierras where they attended an intensive 6 month outdoor school to learn to be guides in rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, ropes course work, and group facilitation. There they were also certified as Wilderness First Responders (WFRs) and have since trained others in WFR medical skills over the past few years. Afterward, they spent the summer using their skills guiding trips for both youth and adults.

Since that time, Ben and Rose have brought their experience and passion for the outdoors to western China. They have traveled and hiked extensively all over China from 18,000 feet around Everest Base Camp to the jungles of Hainan Island in the most southern point of China. Now they are both studying Mandarin Chinese and are excited to combine their love of culture with their love for people to help others discover their own potential.

Maggie Hoppe
Backcountry and Environmental Educator
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
MA Wilderness Leadership Candidate

Maggie interest in the outdoors started early with horseback rides through the country side of Nebraska. Growing up on a farm, she learned to cook with her family from their garden, to cultivate her imagination and to love reading. In the summers, her family went canoeing and she spent time paddling on expeditionary trips at Manito-Wish YMCA Camp in the boundary waters, the Quetico and Northern Saskatchewan, Canada.

While in college, she led canoeing trips for Manito-Wish and then backpacking trips for HoneyRock Camp in Wisconsin. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and English before beginning her work at Gallup as a Talent Consultant. Maggie’s work with Gallup over the last eight years has taken her from Nebraska to Singapore and finally Sydney, Australia where she consults with hiring managers about potential employees, teaches about strength development and employee selection, and coaches leaders on their personal strengths to position themselves and their teams for increased employee engagement.

Maggie is juggling school alongside of her consulting work as she pursues a Master’s Degree in Wilderness Leadership in Denver, Colorado. Working with JWA for the summer combines three of her passions – using the outdoors as a classroom, interacting cross-culturally, and helping people grow! Since her life was transformed by extended time in the wilderness, Maggie is excited to spend the summer facilitating personal reflection where people can challenge themselves in new ways through adventure.

Gabe Kee
Backcountry Educator
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
Chinese Proficiency

Gabe loves the outdoors in whatever form he can find it. He grew up on farms of Kansas, the creeks of Georgia, and the lakes and islands of Florida before moving to China in 2008. Since moving to China, Gabe has lived Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, and Jilin and loves the people and culture of China. Growing up in Florida, Gabe loves the water and the sports that come with it. His idea of camping used to be going to the various islands sprinkled in the Gulf of Mexico and fishing for dinner. Gabe enjoys cycling, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, elephant riding, trekking and simply exploring whenever and wherever he gets the chance. Gabe has wandered the wildernesses of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Thailand, Costa Rica, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Shaanxi, Yunnan, etc. and looks forward to sharing his travels and experiences with people on the trail.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with JWA where I can combine my love for China and people with my love for the outdoors. I look forward to the many unique wilderness adventures that lie ahead!”

Travel Services

Cathy is our travel agent who can help you with all of your train and plane bookings. If you need help with a ticket give her a call or email her at:


Phone: 187 0103 3802

Sing Travel has an extensive network for booking tickets within China and around Asia. If you’d like to learn about tours in China or to Malaysia, and Australia, they have some great ones!