We’re big on enjoying life and making a difference together in little and large ways. Our Ambassador Program celebrates our individual versions of “doing good”– from community impact, stewarding land, valuing time with friends and loved ones, education… the list goes on.
Greg Morrissey, owner of Mountain Goat Movement, is passionate about getting young people out of their comfort zone and into new surroundings. His love for adventure and education inspired him to lead nature-based opportunities for students through Mountain Goat Movement.
We sat down with Greg to talk about teaching, learning, and the outdoor adventures in between.
Toad: Thanks for chatting with us, Greg! Let’s start with Mountain Goat Movement (MGM). How did MGM come to be and what do you hope students take away from their adventures?
Greg: I taught high school literature at an all-boys school in Jersey City, right across from the World Trade Center in Manhattan. In an urban area like that, the great outdoors are often an afterthought. My love of all things adventure inspired me to start the school’s outdoor education program. Over the course of 10 years, I had the great joy of bringing young people on meaningful domestic and international adventures while utilizing communities like the Explorers Club and the American Alpine Club to connect my students to inspiring explorers, scientists, and storytellers.
I made the tough decision to leave my teaching career in 2022 to formalize my work as an organization: Mountain Goat Movement. We are dedicated to providing transformative adventures for young people while connecting them to brands, explorers, storytellers, and athletes. From teaching students how to camp to climbing Kilimanjaro, there is no shortage of places to explore nor is there a limit to the amount of interesting, inspiring people who we meet along the way. MGM functions as the experiential learning arm for schools and communities while imparting lessons and experiences that supplement the classroom environment.
I hope that students discover an infectious curiosity and love for nature and the planet. Perhaps, more importantly, I hope they learn about themselves.
Toad: Mountain Goat Movement sounds like an incredible way to engage youth with adventures outside. What is your favorite part about working with youth?
Greg: I hope to pay forward what my parents, Scouts, and dedicated mentors gave to me: a lust for life and a deep appreciation for relationships, nature, and movement. I hope to curate environments for students to find joy and meaning on trips and events with MGM so that lessons learned can translate to their everyday lives.
Every day is a gift, and I enjoy seeing students smile, laugh, and appreciate life for what it is: a gift. Hopefully I can continue to curate experiences that are lifegiving.
Toad: On a personal note, how did you begin adventuring outside?
Greg: I was fortunate enough to grow up with parents who encouraged me to live a life outdoors, as inspired by family adventures and years in the Scouts. The summer going into my freshman year of high school, I embarked on a multi-day hiking trek in Philmont, New Mexico with my Boy Scout troop and my dad – that experience changed everything for me and inspired me to discover various avenues to experience nature, especially through human-powered adventures.
As an adult now, I love ski touring, surfing, mountain climbing, bikepacking, conservation projects – anything that allows me to engage with the festival of life that constantly unfolds in the great outdoors.
Toad: Can you share a bit more about how a connection with nature and human-powered activities have impacted your own life?
Greg: Humankind is inextricably linked to nature regardless of where we live. Every time I immerse myself in nature, I am reminded of the fragility, beauty, and oneness of life.
We are never divorced from nature, even if it does not seem ubiquitous in our daily, urban lives. Time outside gives all of us a chance to participate in ecosystems that allow us to breathe, eat, play, and live. Activities outside inspire gratitude, humility, curiosity, courage, and health – plus they can be really fun.
Toad: And speaking of outdoor activities that are really fun… Tell us about a favorite “personal project” adventure you’ve taken.
Greg: I have been fortunate enough to complete some really rewarding projects, such as cycling from Canada to Mexico, wild camping across Ireland, surfing the longest wave in the world, and more.
Most recently, I traveled to Greece to discover family roots while navigating the country via ski touring, hiking, kayaking, and canyoneering. I met extended family (by inquiring with strangers on the streets) on the island of Ithaca – Greek hero Odysseus’ home, an epic that I have taught to students which depicts the Hero’s Journey. My Greek grandfather was my hero, and this project honored what I care about most: family, adventure, and storytelling. Alongside talented filmmakers, we are making a documentary about the experience which comes out soon!
Toad: That sounds incredible and we’re excited to see the documentary. Relatedly, what have your students taught you on adventures?
Greg: My students have taught me patience and resilience. Most recently, I learned every word to “Who Loves You” by Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons because one of my students belted out the song daily over the course of our 15-day Hudson River Expedition from NY to NJ. I think I learned patience from him too, haha!
Toad: Last two questions, rapid-fire style. What does “doing good” mean to you?
Greg: Doing Good means being a person for and with others.
Toad: And finish this sentence for us: "every day I aspire to…"
Greg: Every day I aspire to “burn my boats” – a motto that I have adopted to remind myself to fully commit to my family, friends, work, and passions – no plan b – just unwavering commitment.