Jes Ward

Jes Ward

Executive Director


Denver, CO USA

Perfect means getting to where you want to be, not to where everyone else says you should be.


By Roadtrip Nation

Jes Ward


My road in life has been direct.
Jes’ mother was a teen mom who struggled to raise six children.
Realizing they needed to forge a better path for their younger siblings, Jes moved in with their grandmother.
Chose to do a year of AmeriCorps instead of going directly to college.
Ended up working for an organization called PeaceJam for 13 years.
The job started to feel too corporate, and Jes wanted to get back to their hometown of Denver, Colorado, and work directly with students.
Took a job at CityWILD, a Denver nonprofit that "uses the lens of nature to teach leadership and self-empowerment."
One of the activities CityWILD does with at-risk youth is whitewater rafting; they teach kids to "scout rapids," both in the water and in their lives.
Believes one of the best things about nature is that it isn't about perfection—it's about the appreciation of diversity.
Keep following my journey


Executive Director

I direct our youth development programs where we bring outdoor experiential education to a broad, inclusive audience.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

I build infrastructure necessary to help cityWILD achieve their mission of engaging diverse youth in personal development, community engagement, and connection to the outdoors. I use the lens of the outdoors and nature to teach leadership skills and self-empowerment.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Volunteer and help out your community whenever you can.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I can't do it. I'm not perfect."

Challenges I Overcame

Drugs / Addiction
First-Generation College Student

Interviewed By

Ready to Rise

Ready to Rise

Confronting systemic barriers to success