Welcome to our series where we get to know our beloved member event leaders a little better. These dedicated park champions lead our guided hikes, trail runs, meditations, forest therapy walks, yoga classes, and more year-round. This week: Meet Nicole Taylor and Ambrose Crenshaw, who together lead our Guided Hike + Meditations.
What are your favorite parts of Philly’s parks?
We really love the Wissahickon. Being able to get deep into the trails and hear only nature sounds is such a soul-level need, and we are very lucky to be able to do that within city limits.
It’s hard to imagine hills so close to Center City, but there’s a great hill along Boxers’ Trail in East Fairmount Park that we love hiking. Tinicum is a favorite as well, and there’s nothing like an after-work picnic by the Schuylkill Banks.
What has been one of the unexpected things about leading member events for FPC over the years?
The friendships. Whether it’s new friends that we’ve made, friendships we’ve watched being forged on our walks, or friends that have come out to hike and meditate with us, all of these types of connections have been unexpected, but welcome. We know that nature is a balm for each individual, but it was a welcome surprise to see how being in nature together helped people connect in supportive ways.
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What has been the best thing about leading member events for FPC over the years?
For us, it’s a few things. We have a shared mission in life to help people discover the beauty of life. Leading member events is a way for us to help people to see the beauty that’s around them, within the city limit. We also think it’s important to help people reestablish their relationship with nature, and getting into a park is one of the most accessible ways to do that. For Nicole, as a wellness advocate, the best part is after the meditation, when there’s a deep, shared silence in the group that we can all rest in without rushing to fill. And when people come back and say they’ve started practicing on their own—that’s the biggest gift.
Many folks have probably enjoyed your guided experiences several times, what are some fun facts about you they might not know?
They probably don’t know Ambrose was a full-time volleyball coach in his 30s. With the help of some friends, Nicole is turning her wellness book, A Joyful Pause, into a screenplay.
What are you doing during this challenging time for self care?
We are taking a daily walk at lunchtime (masks on!), binge-ing The Blacklist (OMG so exciting), and sharing giggles during Friday night Happy Hour on Zoom with a bunch of our friends. Nicole’s daily meditation practice helps her stay sane.
To join Nicole for a virtual meditation class on Sundays at 5pm, please visit Studio 34’s website.