Open Connections

The kindness of OC is something that is practically unparalleled.

-Billie Neilson and Allie (Webber) Neilson
, OC Alumni, OC Parents

Billie Neilson and Allie (Webber) Neilson

OC Alumni, OC Parents

Billy Neilson and Allie (Webber) Neilson

Reprinted from the OC Magazine, May, 2015


What have you been up to since graduating from OC?

Billy: I started my own horseshoeing business after apprenticing with my dad for several years. And I got married to a nice lady.


Allie: I moved to Tennessee for a little while, and have worked several different jobs, all based around working with children. Billy and I got married last year, and I had been taking classes to become a certified Montessori preschool teacher. Those, however, are on the back burner for a bit while we prepare for the arrival of our first baby!


At what age did you start at OC?  What programs were you involved in?

Billy: I started when I was 15, and I attended the Thursday Shaping Your

Life group.


Allie: I was seven. I started going to the old OC [in Bryn Mawr] in the fall of 1999. I think I have been in almost every program OC has to offer. I spent the longest time in Susan's Tuesday Tutorial. However, I also was in Open Program, a Tutorial with Lucy Tyson, Teen Choice, and Shaping Your Life.


How did OC impact you? What did you find useful?

Billy: I created a lot of friendships that are still going today, most notably my wife. We learned a lot of life skills in our Thursday group that were very useful such as getting a mortgage, buying stocks, and writing a résumé.


Allie: OC has impacted me in countless ways, including introducing me to my husband. However, I think what I find that I have most taken away from my time at OC is that the path I take in life doesn't need to be a path that other people have taken before. I am able to create my own path, in whichever direction I choose. The kindness of OC is something that is practically unparalleled. I was able to grow up without bullies or aggression from peer to peer. If ever something mean was said, it was so out of the ordinary, and whoever said it would have been called out by his/her friends. That is something that I've always tried to keep with me.


What would you have changed about OC?

Billy: I just wish I had started going when I was younger.


Allie: I honestly cannot think of anything I would change. Everything about OC made me who I am today, and I wouldn't want to change any of it.

Update 2020: Allie and Billy now have three youth.  Allie Facilitates the Pre-Open Program at OC.