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Friday, March 24th, 2017

Substance Use and Glasser’s Needs​

Substance abuse is a common issue that we work with at Open Sky, in both our adolescent and young adult populations. Substance abuse, while unhealthy, is a widely-used coping method for many young people. For some, substance abuse can be an occasional and short-term occurrence, and, for others, it can become a pattern that develops […]


Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Four Layers of Girls

Throughout my experience of working with adolescent girls and boys in wilderness therapy, one theme emerges clearly and repeatedly: girls are so much more complicated! Girls typically express their emotions, thoughts, wants, and needs in seemingly more layered and complex ways than boys. A simple Google search about differences between men and women will generate […]


Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Parenting the Healthy, Independent Teen: Pitfalls and Tools (Part I)

When I was a teenager, I had an insatiable desire to “fight.” Nearly any directive or request that came from adults, authority figures, or anyone who seemingly had “more power” than I, was met with an indelible resistance wrought with righteousness. For example, the more I saw my parents squirm when I listened to music […]


Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Training for Excellence: Successfully Training and Launching New Therapists at Open Sky

Excellence is a core value at Open Sky. Daily, I strive for excellence and I hope to inspire those around me to pursue excellence in their lives. Aristotle once said, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many […]


Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Culture and Community at Open Sky

In 2015, Open Sky’s leadership team unveiled a document which outlines the values of our program. We call this document Open Sky’s “Culture Pathway” in a nod to the Student Pathway and Family Pathway, which are instruments designed to guide students and their families through the program. The Culture Pathway encompasses Open Sky’s mission, our […]


Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Tuning In: The Intentional Use of Music in the Wilderness

The young men of Team Geronimo have a myriad of interests and passions, not the least of which is music. A few weeks ago those young men were positively giddy because I, their therapist, had brought out a small set of speakers and some of their favorite songs. For one exciting hour the sounds of […]


Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Marijuana: Clearing Up the Smoke

Marijuana is among the most commonly used substances seen in wilderness therapy clients. As such it is important to understand and contextualize many of the common arguments and beliefs espoused by our cannabis using clients, the most common of which is that marijuana is not addictive. The purpose of this article is not to vilify […]


Sunday, December 18th, 2016

A Nourishing Rain: Reflections from Parents and Staff on Open Sky’s Inaugural Parent Wellness Retreat

It has been a few weeks since we gathered with alumni parents at the EarthRise IONS Center in Petaluma, CA. Our inaugural Open Sky Alumni Parent Wellness Retreat was a full, wet, and beautiful weekend. The part that stands out to me today, as I look at the snowy, winter landscape in Durango is the […]


Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Winter Safety: Best Practices Promote Opportunities for Empowerment and Resilience

Winter is a particularly powerful time to enroll at Open Sky. Living amongst the winter elements provides students with unique opportunities to increase competence and resilience. When students complete a winter stay at Open Sky, they leave with a tremendous sense of pride, empowerment, and confidence, attributes which will them serve them well as they […]