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The Ember Award Recipients

The Ember Award

Every year Open Sky recognize an exceptional field guide who demonstrates outstanding commitment to the work of field guiding and represents Open Sky’s values of courage, community, and excellence. Get to know Open Sky’s Ember Award recipients and discover more about the outstanding work of our Field Team.

Conrad Herges

2022 Ember Award Recipient

Conrad experienced the therapeutic and healing power of nature while hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail and through nature in general. He also participated in a ten-day Vipassana mediation retreat. He felt called to help others heal themselves in a similar fashion; to spread hope and faith in each person’s own abilities to bring positive change to their lives.

As a guide, Conrad’s presence is calm, centered, and grounded. He is patient and has a positive and optimistic outlook.

Conrad spends his time off at hot springs, enjoying live music, and deepening his spiritual practices.

EJ Horrocks

2020 Ember Award Recipient

After obtaining her BA in Psychology, EJ dove into working in the mental health field while simultaneously nurturing her passion for the outdoors. She worked at a holistic mental health RTC, was an applied behavioral tutor for young kids on the autism spectrum, completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and began to weave these two worlds together in meaningful ways in her own life. EJ then continued her formal education at Appalachian State University, where she completed her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addiction Counseling specialty.

EJ places high importance on having a career path that is a reflection of her passions and her values. She turns to wilderness when seeking lessons, growth, confidence, and honesty. She finds that wilderness gives her the time and space to sort things out, reflect, and overcome challenges. She has always wanted to come alongside people in a supportive role. Wilderness therapy captures all of this.

Emily “Jonesie” Jones

2019 Ember Award Recipient

Throughout my journey I have had to face fears, get uncomfortable, receive support, and stick with the challenges whatever they may be. As I’ve done this, I’ve been able to transform into roles I never thought I would be capable of doing: senior guiding, field managing, mentoring others, and leading ceremony and trainings.

I hope to be a positive force in the Open Sky community, an ally, and someone that can be counted on. I hope that by living in my values and by doing my personal work, I can inspire others to do the same. Beyond that, I hope to inspire creativity in guides for celebration and interventions, particularly with the dress code, i.e. colorful scarves, robot helmets, and cat ears. All of which have played a role in my guiding career, with the intention that fun and playfulness are also important aspects of holistic health.

Alex Molo

2018 Ember Award Recipient

Alex began field guiding at Open Sky in 2015, but his experience at Open Sky began years earlier: as an Open Sky student in 2010 and in 2011. The fact that he went through the transformative journey that our students begin here is unique and invaluable. He can speak to the struggle, challenge, and reward that our students experience not just in a metaphorical sense, but in a very tangible, direct, and relatable way. He is healthy and grounded. He’s an incredible role model of resilience and grit for so many students and guides that hear his story and see how far he’s come. He demonstrates a desire to learn, he accepts feedback, and he seeks to grow from challenges. He faces challenges head-on and is skilled at handling a variety of situations. He is now able to pass what he knows on to other guides by mentoring them along their guiding journey.

Click here to visit Alex Molo’s bio.

Devyn Lacey

2017 Ember Award Recipient

Devyn is warm, personable and relatable, yet she is also able to be assertive and  resolute in relationship with our students. She thrives when working with any population of students: adolescent girls, adolescent boys and young adults. Devyn displays flexibility, creativity, passion and leadership in her work and in collaboration with other guides and therapists. The field guide schedule can be demanding, but Devyn knows how to take care of herself in order to provide the best care for the students and support for her fellow Open Sky staff members.

Mike Kangley

2016 Ember Award Recipient

After working in a variety of settings, I see the power of growth and change that occurs in nature, which ultimately keeps me doing this type of work all these years later. More specifically, I believe in what we do at Open Sky. I believe everybody has the capacity to change and when people are out of their comfort zone is when change most readily occurs. This is what wilderness does—pushes people out of their comfort zone and facilitates change. I’m able to make field guiding sustainable because it is my passion. Working with young people, being outdoors, fostering change—these are things I have always wanted. And these are the things I get to do as a guide. Self-care, fun, and gratitude also fuel me and have allowed this work to become a career. 

Click here to visit Mike Kangley’s bio.

Chris Moeller

2015 Ember Award Recipient

I have accumulated over 2,250 days in the field in my guiding career so far, 1,850 of which have been at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. That is 1,850 days of living and walking the experience with Open Sky students! I value the special trust and openness that develop from time spent walking the trails and being in the dirt with students, day in and day out. Through that trust, students begin to grow in new and unique ways. After many years as a senior guide, I stepped into the program mentor role as it allowed me to have a larger impact within the guide community. Instead of just interacting with one group of guides, I could raise the bar for the guides in all the teams, through training, through meaningful experiences and ceremonies, and through elevating staff through mentorship

Click here to visit Chris Moeller’s bio.

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