Meet The Team

"Unity is Strength... Where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." 
​~Mattie J.T. Stepanek

We are committed to act with unconditional positive regard toward each student; maintaining a caring relationship built on respect, compassion and genuine concern for students' physical and emotional welfare.  

Executive Director

As the Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Randy Dowd leads the organization’s mission to strengthen youth, families, and the community by promoting positive learning through the integration of meaningful connections and experiential education.  ​​​​​​​

Prior to Onward & Upward, Randy spent over a decade in other youth-serving capacities including counseling troubled youth and families and providing outdoor environmental education. Many years of social work and teaching taught him that, in order to be successful, most youth need exposure to more than just traditional academic subjects in school.  They need experiential opportunities that are designed to strengthen, inspire, empower, and connect. 

To create a solution for this gap in education, after receiving a BA in Psychology and MA in Therapeutic Adventure Programming, Randy completed the Doctor of Pyschology (Psy.D.) in Counseling Psychology program at Alaska Pacific University, where he focused his research and dissertation on developing a positive childhood behavioral health and development curriculum.  He also holds a Challenge Course Manager/Facilitator certification recognized by the Association for Challenge Course Technology, Wilderness First Responder, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. 

With help from an amazing, passionate, and committed board of directors, he founded Onward & Upward with the aim of fundamentally improving, advocating for, and promoting interventions that foster positive youth development and wellbeing.  Randy is married with two young boys and enjoys spending time with family and friends doing anything and everything outside
Randy Dowd​, Psy.D.​​
(907) 953-5360

Program Director

Amanda has over 15 years of experience coaching and inspiring others to further improve the quality of their health and wellbeing.  She has worked in the fitness industry as a USA Swimming swim coach, American Council on Exercise personal trainer and group fitness instructor.  She has also worked in mental health as a wilderness guide/behavioral health technician, activity therapist and as a yoga therapist.  ​​​​

Her Bachelor of Arts is in Outdoor Studies in which she focused on the therapeutic benefits of outdoor recreation.  For her Masters of Arts Program she studied holistic health, and her thesis was on developing holistic teaching methods; fully supporting others along their own unique path of personal growth.    ​

Amanda is an avid outdoor recreation enthusiast and passionate about health and wellness. She holds professional certifications in both of these fields:

  • Adventure Based Counseling through Project Adventure
  • Level 1 Challenge Course Facilitator through the Association of Challenge Course Technology
  • Risk Management Training with the National Outdoor Leadership School
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Training
  • Ayurveda (Holistic Health) Practitioner​ with the National Ayurveda Medical Association
  • E-500 Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance
  • Swift Water Rescue Technician 
  • Avalanche Assessment and Rescue, Level 1 and 2 
  • Basic Archery Instructor
Amanda Montavon, M.A.
(907) 982-4144

Field Instructor/Guide

Joshua was born and raised in the mitten state of Wisconsin. His first memories are of frequent hunting, camping, fishing and hiking trips with his parents.  At 17, Joshua was determined to see the world, and set off on a three month expedition in Baja Mexico learning how to be a professional in the outdoors through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).  Following his NOLS course he took a road trip up to Alaska to continue his education in Outdoor Leadership.​

Joshua's greatest passions are being in the outdoors and helping others, and so it was an easy decision to study Outdoor Studies and Psychology at Alaska Pacific University.  He graduated with a B.A. in May of 2015, and moved to  Utah to work as a guide and mentor in a  wilderness therapy program.   Missing Alaska, he came back in 2016 and continued working in his field as a recreational therapist. He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science for Outdoor and Evironmental Edcuation.  He assists Onward & Upward in program and curriculum development along instructing courses.  He loves getting outdoors with students and sharing his love for wellbeing, nature and adventure

Along with his formal education Joshua also holds certifications for:
  • Leave No Trace Master Educator
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • E-200 Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance 
  • Avalanche Assessment and Rescue Level 1
  • Interpretive Guide
  • Snowmobile and Boaters’ Safety 
Joshua Wilson, B.A.

Board of Directors

Onward and Upward is fortunate to have a passionate and  dedicated group of volunteers serving on our board of directors.