Board of Directors, Co-Founder & Board President
Camp Name: Friski
“Because of the lifelong connections and sense of belonging I’ve experienced throughout my time at camp, the mission of the Pony Barnes Foundation speaks to me on a fundamental level. These are experiences that all people should have. I am proud to be a part of an organization working hard to ensure the LGBTQ+ community feels that sense of belonging and experiences all of the magic that camp has to offer.”
Marion Soloway (she/her), AKA Friski, is the Co-Founder and Board President of the Pony Barnes Foundation. She is an accomplished teacher and expert in the field of education and outdoor adventure programing whose work has impacted youth across California for decades. She earned her teaching credentials from San Diego State University and received a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of California, Los Angeles.
Her professional teaching career spans over 40 years, during which she taught special education, elementary school, and middle school science. Marion inspired hundreds of youth and their families to perform community based service projects through Dr. Jane Goodall’s global leadership program, Roots & Shoots. Under Marion’s leadership, her students received national media attention for their regional, national and global service projects, and two personal visits from Dr. Jane Goodall. In 2008, Marion earned a nomination for Cajon Valley’s Teacher of the Year award, and she was recognized as the San Diego County Environmental Educator of the Year.
Marion also worked alongside Dr. Virginia Barnes, her longtime friend and professional mentor, in envisioning and developing one of the nation’s most successful summer vacation camps for families, Montecito Sequoia Family Camp, and served as its director of summer staff development for 20 years. She brings a lifetime of experience inspiring youth of all ages, as well as expertise in developing successful camp programs and other experiential learning opportunities that foster personal growth and leadership skills.
Marion now carries on the life work of Dr. Virginia Barnes through her leadership at the Pony Barnes Foundation as Co-Founder and Board President. Marion believes in building inclusive opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth and their families to build a love of lifelong learning, engage in personal growth, develop leadership skills, and experience the full impact of belonging.
She and her partner, Stephanie, enjoy adventure travel, hiking, pickleball, kayaking, and spending time with Marion’s children and their families. They also enjoy relaxing at home with their Labrador Retriever, Hawkins, and ginger tabby cat, Holiday Pumpkin Jones, who keep them grounded.