Aaron Fernandes, BA
BA, Psychology, Brown University, 1996
Grew Up In:
Colorado, California, Texas
In Wilderness Therapy Since:
Areas of Specialty at Open Sky:
Vision, Leadership, Business Development
Aaron holds a BA in psychology with a focus in experiential education from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. While at Brown, Aaron provided leadership to his Ivy League Champion Men’s Soccer team as captain. He became passionate about a career in outdoor education during a semester abroad in Patagonia, Chile with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and then served as manager of the Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT) program where he oversaw the program’s successful development of healthy, young leaders.
Aaron’s professional background arcs through a broad spectrum of service, social improvement and international travel. He facilitated spiritual wilderness workshops at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, was coordinator of an organic garden with inner city teenagers, served as an HIV educator in India, and traveled extensively through Africa and South America.
Between 1998 and 2004, Aaron supervised the day-to-day field operations of multiple wilderness organizations. After a stint as Executive Director in 2004, Aaron became the National Director of Field Operations for Aspen Education Group’s (AEG) wilderness therapy programs. Through all of these varied experiences, Aaron has come to understand the value of teamwork and the importance of articulating a compelling and audacious vision.
In 2005, Aaron founded Open Sky as a holistic wilderness treatment experience with an emphasis on intense family participation and exceptional clinical expertise. He focused on attracting the best team in the field, with a drive toward excellence and sustainability on all fronts: delivering treatment services with long-term benefits for students and families, supporting the passions and growth of employees, and engaging in environmentally and socially responsible business practices. Aaron is a critically engaged thinker, loves the outdoors, and deeply enjoys working with people. These characteristics are synthesized with his vision and manifest in his leadership of Open Sky.
In 2009, Aaron was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Durango Chamber of Commerce. And recently, Open Sky was named one of Colorado’s Top 50 Companies to Watch, an honor given by the governor to recognize those businesses in Colorado who are successfully contributing to the healthy landscape of their communities.