Guiding the Guides: The Unique Role of the Master Guide

By:  Clementine Wilson, Adolescent Field Manager & Jody St. Joseph, Adolescent Program Director

This three part series focuses on the Master Guide position and the significance of this special role at Pacific Quest. The first entry looks at the role itself and highlights Master Guide Nikki Robinson. Check back next week to meet another team member and their focus within this role! 


Clementine Wilson, Adolescent Field Manager

The Master Guide role at Pacific Quest is a pathway for Program Guides to develop into dynamic leaders and mentors in the field. There’s a belief in mentoring and rites of passage work that “you can only take someone as far as you’ve been willing to go yourself.” All guides at PQ begin their journey as Apprentices, learning the trade of guide work in our unique environment from those who are seasoned and experienced. Master Guides have worked with the widest variety of student profiles and therefore have developed a comprehensive skill set in order to work safely and effectively with the students in our care.  In their extensive time in the field, they have uncovered joy and passion, faced challenges, navigated growth edges, earned respect, built confidence, and have now come full circle to give back to their peers.

Master Guides are an extension of the Field Management team.  They teach and coach their peers through role modeling, open authentic communication, direct leadership, and the feedback loop. With this, they aim to hold a safe and empowering container for our guides to learn and grow.  In addition to collaborating with various departments and being highly respected among peers, the Master Guides at PQ currently have a cumulative total of over 1,000 days in the field.

Each Master Guide has identified a niche they are focusing on in their role. Nikki Robinson has an especially keen eye for safety and risk management in the early phases of the program.  She  holds the big picture of structure and boundaries and is committed to supporting and mentoring Program Guides in this area. Alyson Alde is focused on ensuring our curriculum is being taught with creativity and passion, mentoring guides on lesson planning and dynamic teaching. Nick Olson is our land engagement guide, focusing on working with teams to further incorporate horticulture therapy into activities, and working with guides to increase experiential learning via the garden.

Meet Nikki Robinson

Guiding the Guides: The Unique Role of the Master Guide at PQ

Nikki working with a student in the garden

Master Guide Nikki Robinson graduated from Naropa University with a BA in Contemplative Psychology. She is captivated by human behavior and as a result applied to Pacific Quest to pursue her passions.  Nikki started as a Program Guide at Pacific Quest two years ago and found a passion for holding boundaries and providing a consistent safe space for students.

Now, as a Master Guide, Nikki brings her extensive experience to mentor, train and support the Program Guide team.  She comments, “I’ve worked as a guide for two years and have been involved in some highly intense situations.  As a Master Guide, I want to teach and guide others and be that supportive mentor I believe everyone needs, to not just survive but thrive!  The students are our future.  My passion lies in assisting in their growth and helping them be the change they seek for themselves.”

Nikki values honesty and genuine connection and in return offers that to the students and guides.  She has a strong desire to help others and is driven to create change and continuously grow. She is interested in the human psyche and finds fulfillment in providing support for people who deeply suffer.

When Nikki is not at work you can find her at coffee shops, the beach swimming in the company of friends or studying astrology. She has a passion for reading self help books, studying astrology charts and providing knowledge to others who want to know themselves more.

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