Peter Thorburn

Operations Assistant/Back-up

Field Guide

Joined Open Sky: September 2011
In Wilderness Therapy since: 2011

Interview with Peter Thorburn

October 2011

Q: If you were able to meet anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why?

A: Whew! Tough question! I love it, though! For fun I would like to meet Helen Keller for obvious reasons. She, to me, lived a life the equivalent of a saint. Also, coming from the grave I think she would (of course!) offer more to be said than what any living person could touch on. However, there is certainly more potential of meeting one of many encouraging people; so to maximize wishful thinking I am compelled to wish to meet some one who has the breath to speak back to me. I would be far too intimidated and awe-struck to hold a conversation with The Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, or Alex Grey to make much of the encounter. Therefore, by process of elimination, Oprah Winfrey takes the cake as the most pleasant and eye opening rendezvous I can imagine.  She has had a great global impact and could give me great financial advice. 

Q: What are a few of the defining moments in your life and why?

·      My older brother, Tyler, passing away is the most defining moment in my life. He and I were very close and his death catapulted me towards furthering defining a belief structure instead of being chronically skeptical of everything. I really realized who I was independently of my brother, and how he is also a part of me.

·      My father bruised his spinal cord in a hang-gliding accident when I was between my freshman and sophomore year in high school. This event brought my already close family even closer together and taught all of us how to take better care of one another. It also brought to light the fragility of life. I came to believe that some of the most abominable and rotten torments can hold the potential to prepare people for magnificent merits.  In other words as a truly great friend said to me: “muck” makes good fertilizer.

·      The first time I fell in love…an ongoing moment for a while there. Ha! I surrendered to the notion that I can learn the most about myself from someone else.

Q: Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
A: My Family. They are a pool of unconditional love and support and I believe in them.  Whenever I make any big decision, I can hear their voices speak with discernment and encouraging incentive.

Q: What are your unique gifts and/or experiences that help our students?
I have superhuman tolerance, which can also be a curse. I also have an exquisite capacity for empathy and people say I am a really skilled listener

Q: Why do you work in wilderness therapy?
A: There is healing power in nature for me personally. It offers honest space.

Q: Why do you think wilderness therapy works?
: Now that I have worked in the field I have witnessed it. Small groups of people have a better chance of helping one another on a multitude of levels, not to mention an increased likelihood to connect to each other. 

Q: What do you think Open Sky students need?
A: Healthy love with strong boundaries.

Q: What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t working in the field?
A: I like to snowboard when there is good snow. Playing on rivers in the summer- I’m a big fan of water, in whatever way that presents itself! Having those that I’m closest to share their hearts and thoughts with me. I like ceramics too. 

Q: Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
A: Gingers have soul!

Professional Experience

Sands Wild Water River Trips, Jackson, WY
River Guide

Fort Lewis College Housing, Durango, Co
Resident Assistant


BA, Anthropology, Minor: Art 
Fort Lewis College, Durango, Co

Wilderness First Responder

CPR Certified