Jessica Weissbuch, Co-Executive Director
In 2002, Jessica moved to Los Angeles from Chicago in order to pursue her dream of working in television production. As time passed, she realized her longing to work with people in a more meaningful way, and was compelled to work with youth in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) community. In March 2010, Jessica earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University with a specialization in LGBT psychology and became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2016. She has worked with LGBTQ youth for over a decade starting her career at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Jessica is honored to be one of the co-founders of Brave Trails and continues to work with youth, building their leadership skills with programs that support LGBTQ youth to take a stand in their communities and be the leaders of tomorrow. Jessica lives to see queer youth become empowered individuals who work together to change the world.
Kayla Weissbuch, Co-Executive Director
Kayla started Camp Brave Trails in 2014, alongside her wife and co-director Jessica. Camp has always been near and dear to her heart as she attended and worked at camps from the time she was 8-18 years old. Her time at camp gave her some of the most formative and impactful experiences, which she would later use as inspiration to create Camp Brave Trails. After this, she took the next several years to dedicate herself to LGBTQ education and leadership work at the LA LGBTQ Center and throughout LAUSD schools.
Alongside running Camp Brave Trails, Kayla lives in Los Angeles with her amazing wife, son, cat, and dog. It is her goal that Camp Brave Trails provide the same feeling of love and home that camp provided for her growing up. With that, she hopes campers will spread this feeling to their communities and help create a more vibrant and welcoming world for all.
Coby Pfaff, Operations Director
As a child, Coby attended camp each summer and loved every minute of it. Camp was a powerful force in shaping his self-confidence, social skills, and love of nature. As a young man, he was a counselor for underserved youth at Camp Max Strauss in Los Angeles. He graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Psychology and went on to become an Afterschool Care and Summer Program Director for the YMCA. He started an ecommerce website in 1999 where he learned the skills needed to run a successful business organization. He also volunteered for three years as a helpline counselor for the Trevor Project, a LGBTQ Suicide helpline. Coby is so excited to continue to provide a safe and affirming space at camp for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans youth.
Jake Young, Communications Director
Jake Young was born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA. After coming out in high school, Jake made it his personal mission to always be himself and help others understand that being different isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a really magical thing. Jake carried this message with him throughout college as he became more active in the San Diego LGBTQ+ community. He volunteered for local youth empowerment summits and joined a queer fraternity. In 2014, he graduated from SDSU with a BA in Communication, and during this time, he cultivated and mastered his ability to communicate and effectively lead groups of people. Jake has been fortunate enough to be part of Brave Trails since its first camp session in 2015. Since then, he has been a critical part of the staff by running the Unicorn Justice League program, preparing seasoned campers to be future leaders at Brave Trails and much more. Jake is ecstatic to be a part of the BT family and continue his mission of spreading awareness that we all can be unicorns if we just allow ourselves to embrace that we are all different and unique!
Sophia Hastings, Programs Manager
Sophia has been going to and working at camps since she was nine years old. She has seen firsthand how much camp can impact a person because of how all of her summer camp experience made such a positive difference in her life. It was able to teach her the importance of leadership, friendship, and confidence in herself. Summer camp actually inspired Sophia to pursue her undergraduate degree in social work from Widener University, where she also graduated with a degree in gender and women’s studies in 2018. In 2019, Sophia graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her master’s degree in social work. She focused most of her studies on queer and women’s issues, especially focusing on disenfranchised populations within those areas. Sophia has also had the opportunity to work in elementary school settings both as a social worker and in after school programs. During her time in graduate school, Sophia was able to work at the Chicago Juvenile Temporary Detention Center teaching health and leadership to girls in the center. Sophia strives to create fun, educational, and inclusive programming for youth in her work. Sophia cannot wait to continue to work with Brave Trails as part of the team and help to promote such a safe and empowering place for all campers and staff.