My Story

My first job out of college was a backpacking instructor in a wilderness therapy program. I’d grown up loving to play in the outdoors, but it was through this lens that I learned to combine the transformational power of challenge and reflection with the outdoors to help others develop their sense of self, create community, and become stewards of our natural world. Through my years in the industry, I have been an Associate Program Director, Course Director, and Lead Instructor at a handful of programs including North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS), where I developed its first-ever LGBTQ+ Affinity Space course. Here at Warren Wilson, I continue to help future outdoor leaders develop their technical skills while encouraging and embracing the unique gifts of underrepresented peoples in the outdoors.


  • B.A. in Child, Adult, and Family Services- Iowa State University
  • Wilderness First Responder- NOLS Wilderness Medicine
  • Single Pitch Instructor- American Mountain Guide Association
  • SARTECH II- National Association for Search and Rescue

Research Interests

  • Transgender Resilience
  • Health and Wellness

Courses Taught

  • ODL 2270- Top Rope Climbing Site Management
  • ODL 1250- Introduction to Rock Climbing
  • ODL 3220- Challenge Course Facilitation and Management

Crews and Other Activities

  • Outdoor Leadership Assistant Crew Supervisor
  • Challenge Course Manager

Contact Eli Mills

(828) 771-5636
Mitchell B
CPO 6154
PO Box 9000
Asheville, NC 28815-9000