Last week, Open Sky staff members had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Wilderness Therapy Symposium (WTS) in Park City, Utah. The WTS provides opportunities to explore topics related to wilderness therapy, advance knowledge, build community, and recognize excellence. The event is held bi-annually by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH).
Open Sky’s Program Director, Danny Frazer, serves as Council Chair for the OBH. Danny was elected by his peers to serve a collection of the 23 leading wilderness therapy programs working together to advance the field through best practices, effective treatment, and evidence-based research. Founded in 1996, OBH has led the way in funding independent research projects studying the field’s efficacy. OBH partnered with the Association of Experiential Education to co-create the first Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Accreditation (Open Sky was the first program to attain this accreditation!). In recent years, the Council’s collective efforts have enabled the field to receive its own insurance revenue code, a crucial step towards wilderness therapy being formally recognized by the insurance industry, hopefully making services more available to future families.
This year’s event in Park City brought hundreds of professionals from the wilderness therapy community; Open Sky was proudly represented by 14 staff members from all aspects of operations.
At the symposium, Open Sky co-sponsored the Diversity Education Sessions, a series of workshops that addressed topics like cultural competence, institutional power and racial microaggressions. These workshops shed light on important areas of wilderness therapy and allow each attendee to learn and grow, whether he or she represents the field staff, clinical staff, or admissions team.
In addition to presentations and educational sessions, the WTS features the Jumping Mouse Awards. Each organization attending the WTS is asked to select an exceptional Field Guide from its program to be recognized for excellence and leadership. Open Sky was proud to recognize Senior Guide, Devyn Lacey with this year’s Jumping Mouse Award. We were pleased to acknowledge Devyn’s dedication to her role and her excellent care for our students.
Open Sky Field Director, Evan Meyer shares, “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.” Devyn has completed three full summers at Open Sky in the field. We are thankful for her hard work and passion!
At Open Sky, we are committed to supporting the OBH mission; to advance the field through best practices, effective treatment and evidence-based research. The WTS is an excellent way to do this with a diverse group of wilderness therapy clinicians, guides, educational consultants and researchers. Sharing theories, insight and experiences with others in our field leads to improved therapeutic services for our students and families.