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Archives: Team

July 1st, 2020

Kat Brail

Kat grew up in Michigan camping and canoeing with her family. She has fond memories spending summers on the water of the Great Lakes or in faraway mountains. One of her greatest experiences was a backpacking trip to the Chugach Range in Alaska. It was there that she first realized the transformative power of the […]

June 10th, 2020

Brian Ross

Brian knew guiding was for him because he could have an impact in this position. With a Master’s in Environmental Leadership, he loves the ability to have fun and facilitate self-discovery and personal growth while living outdoors. He also gets the opportunity to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle, the same way students do. In guiding, […]

May 27th, 2020

Sam Newbury

Sam grew up in Alaska at the end of a dirt road, situated next to a backyard of rolling birch forest and marshland. It was an endless playground for exploration, adventure, and discovery. Needless to say, Sam became acquainted with the great outdoors at a young age and has continued to nurture that relationship throughout his […]

May 18th, 2020

Hayley Meyers

Hayley has worked for both New Vision Wilderness in Bend, Oregon and lead trails for Wingate Wilderness Therapy. She has also spent summers as a camp counselor, summer camp Program Director, naturalist, and even a falconer! Hayley loves Open Sky’s holistic approach to integrating the whole family and healing together. This idea of clinical therapy […]

April 27th, 2020

Coady Schueler

Coady has over thirty years of clinical experience. She earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England Graduate School in 1986. Realizing that she wanted to earn a terminal degree in the field of psychology, she obtained a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in 1994. Her […]

April 2nd, 2020

Danielle DiPiro

Danielle is a graduate of Western Washington University, where she majored in Therapeutic Recreation. She believes the wilderness breaks down walls and allows people to connect in a way that is not possible elsewhere. Danielle grew up going to camp each summer, and wilderness has had a very important place in her life ever since. […]

February 4th, 2020

Kalen Koch

Kalen, having grown up along the beaches of Florida, got her first dose of mountain air when she attended college in North Carolina.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in both Biology and Psychology from Elon University, the place that expanded her zest for exploration and passion for holistic health.  After an abroad experience in […]

January 21st, 2020

Katie “Tonks” Tonkovich

Before joining Open Sky in May 2018, Katie “Tonks” Tonkovich worked for a company called Backroads, guiding family camping/hiking/biking/canyoneering tours through some Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Park. She also volunteered for a few years at a 24-Hour Crisis Text Line helping deescalate youth in crisis. Tonks had previously worked a lot of office […]

January 21st, 2020

Dan Hayden

Dan joined Open Sky as a field guide in 2018. Prior to this, he worked in a community called Camphill, where he lived and worked alongside adults with developmental differences, building community and healthy relationships along the way. During his time there, he was exposed to the important impact that nature has on each individual. […]

January 21st, 2020

Julian McNally

Prior to Open Sky, Julian gained experience as a mentor for the Boys and Girls Club. He was a founding father of a service-based organization at UCCS that mentors young college students taking active roles in the community. He also spearheaded other volunteer and philanthropic ventures. I’ve also spent lots of time spent in the […]

December 20th, 2019

Mo Judith

Prior to joining Open Sky in 2018 as a guide, Mo was a teacher for five years on and off. She taught mostly in third world countries and spent several years traveling the world. These experiences taught her a lot about people, body language, communicating, and camping at all times in many different environments. Nature […]

December 20th, 2019

Nick Loeb

Inspired by his own experience as a student at Open Sky in 2008, Nick Loeb was drawn back as a field guide ten years later. Before joining Open Sky as a guide, Nick taught middle school science and technology for three years. He also spent a year before that serving in AmeriCorps with at-risk youth. […]

December 3rd, 2019

Danit Cohen

Danit has been working in the field of outdoor education and leadership for five years, most recently as a guide for a Colorado-based Jewish wilderness therapy program called BaMidbar. Danit believes strongly in nature’s power to introduce a kind of vulnerability combined with the opportunity for building confidence. She also loves being outdoors and getting […]

November 18th, 2019

Jordan Kling

Jordan Kling, MSW works with Open Sky families as a Family Services Therapist. Jordan has valuable experience as a wilderness therapy field guide, passion for the healing that occurs in the outdoors, and a drive to support families as they reconnect and engage in healthy relationship. Even before she knew it, Jordan was connecting with […]

October 10th, 2019

Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a long-time resident of Durango and is passionate about serving her community. She attended Fort Lewis College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Stephanie has believed in the work and mission of Open Sky for a long time and is honored to be a part of the Open Sky team […]

October 9th, 2019

Ally Young

Ally grew up in Michigan spending her summers outside surrounded by water and the outdoors. Camping, swimming and making rivers with the garden hose were happy and integral parts of her childhood. Beyond nature, Ally found passion in traveling during a study abroad experience in Sydney, Australia and a love for social work during her […]

September 27th, 2019

Mia Carrasco-Songer

Mia joined the Open Sky team as a guide in October 2018. The wilderness has been an amazing space and teacher for Mia, in which she learns about herself and her relationship with the world and others. She came to Open Sky wanting to help more people experience that. She also appreciates that Open Sky […]

September 27th, 2019

Ellie Bolster

Ellie joined Open Sky as a guide in 2014 after gaining experience at another wilderness therapy program. She was drawn to Open Sky by its holistic approach, the depth of the program, and the therapeutic training and role that guides have. Ellie believes in the life-changing and healing power of wilderness therapy. As a guide, […]

August 23rd, 2019

Matt Brummett

Matt’s formal education in wilderness nature-based skills began at the Audubon Expedition Institute during his first year of college. Matt attended Prescott College and earned a degree in Outdoor Experiential Education with a minor in Holistic Healing. His interest, education, and first-hand experiences in the natural world have allowed Matt to explore and work with […]

August 23rd, 2019

Gregory Young

After graduating with a degree of psychology and neuro science from Plattsburgh State University, Gregory realized the typical path led to graduate school and extensive lab time. His research professor suggested he consider wilderness therapy. He began an adventurous journey where he learned about his deep passion for the wilderness. He met an Open Sky […]

August 21st, 2019

Ari Newman

Before joining Open Sky, Ari worked at a non-profit based in Seattle, Washington that specializes in the recovery and distribution of life-saving tissues for transplantation. His role was to speak with family members within one to three hours after losing their loved one and walk them through the process of tissue donation. In this role, […]

August 21st, 2019

Charlie Newton

Charlie joined the Open Sky Field Team in June 2018 as a field guide. He is a recreational outdoorsman and prior to this work, he guided college wilderness trips. Charlie was attracted to Open Sky by the location in the 4 corners region, the program outline, and the opportunity to help others. He values being […]

August 21st, 2019

Brian Phelps

Brian Phelps joined the Open Sky team as a guide in June 2018 with two and a half years of wilderness therapy experience at another program. In the past, he has taught English in Nepal and has summited altitudes beyond 20,000 ft. in the Himalayas. Brian was drawn to the field and the work of […]

August 13th, 2019

Robin Wolthausen

Robin has been involved in wilderness guiding and education since 2003 and specifically in wilderness therapy—supporting students and families in crisis—since 2008. He brings a diverse experience to Open Sky having worked in a variety of professional outdoor venues such as NOLS, Wilderness Awareness School, Kroka Expeditions, and leading graduating rites of passage for Marin […]

August 6th, 2019

Kelly McGrath

“Find love in chaos”—this was a message Kelly heard from a student while rafting through the Grand Canyon, a message that has resonated with her since that first trip. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Outdoor Education, Kelly ran an outdoor and environmental program in Portland, Oregon for at-risk high school youth. This […]

August 2nd, 2019

Chris Brown

Before joining Open Sky in June 2018, Chris worked extensively as a guide and supervisor in central Patagonia for a small eco-tourist, nature conservancy ranch. His role included facilitating backcountry mountaineering programs, as well as directing and implementing several ranch-based projects. When he was not living in South America, he gained experience working as a […]

August 2nd, 2019

Colin Ferring

Colin Ferring joined Open Sky as a field guide in March 2018. Before Open Sky, he worked at TASC, Inc. as a caregiver in a 24-hour home for people with special needs in Waukon, Iowa. He also worked for two years as a youth development specialist at Camp Augusta in Nevada City, California. The wilderness […]

August 2nd, 2019

Rob Balloch

Rob first joined Open Sky in May 2017 as a seasonal Field Guide. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at Colorado College, Rob returned to re-join Open Sky as a full-time Guide in 2018. During his four years of undergraduate studies, Rob gained significant experience working for Colorado College’s outdoor program. Rob has led […]

July 10th, 2019

Jackson Hughes

Jackson developed an interest in alternative models of therapy while pursuing his undergraduate degree in psychology at New College of Florida. Then, he sharpened his wilderness skills while serving with the Student Conservation Association’s Idaho Corps building trails and managing invasive plant species in the vast Salmon-Challis National Forest. Jackson sees wilderness therapy as an […]

June 12th, 2019

Doug Maxwell

Doug joined Open Sky in 2019, leaping at the opportunity to return to Colorado after some time spent living and working in Southern California. One short visit in the field to observe the field guides and therapists working with the students was all it took to cement the deal. Doug is honored to be working […]

May 22nd, 2019

Sean Murphy

Boston born and Texas raised, Sean is a graduate of the University of North Texas. Sean spent eight formative summers and several off-seasons working in a variety of roles at Philmont Scout Ranch, a 140,000-acre Scout High Adventure Base located in northeast New Mexico. After working at Philmont, Sean was ready to continue his work […]

May 22nd, 2019

Ted Davis

Prior to joining the Open Sky team in October 2017, Ted held a position as a project and operations coordinator for the Mountain Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico for five years. With the Mountain Center, he facilitated outdoor adventure-based programs for at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations. These programs focused on the development of […]

May 22nd, 2019

Blake Lamb

Psychology and how the mind works have always been fascinating topics to Blake. As he pursued psychology as a minor in college, it was a topic that bloomed into a passion. He has traveled to different parts of the world, learning from other cultures and their perspectives on connection, family, and relationships. Blake was an […]

May 15th, 2019

Amanda Rosenholtz-Witt

Amanda grew up in the foothills of Ft. Collins, Colorado. Growing up with camping trips and hikes through the mountains instilled a passion for nature and the outdoors at a young age. This passion led her to earn a degree in Environmental Studies from Naropa University. After college, Amanda began a life as a steward […]

April 8th, 2019

Brittney Ahrens

Brittney joined the Open Sky Business and Administration team in March of 2019 as the Human Resources and Office Administrator. She comes from a professional background in rope rescue, marketing, freelance writing, and special and early childhood education. Raised in the Front Range of Colorado, Brittney spent her youth escaping to the mountains to explore. […]

April 5th, 2019

Michael Keenen

Michael Keenen (he, him, his) is a Master of Social Work student at Arizona State University and former Open Sky senior field guide. Michael loved guiding because he always felt accepted as his authentic self. He was not expected to be perfect. His confidence, humor, self-critic, sadness, and all parts of himself were okay. He […]

April 1st, 2019

Emily Riggs

Emily was drawn to wilderness therapy because of her desire to take her work in outdoor education a step deeper. Emily has been interested and involved in mindfulness practices and yoga since she was in high school, so she was especially drawn to Open Sky for its holistic approach. As a senior guide, Emily values the […]

February 26th, 2019

Sebastiaan Zuidweg

Sebastiaan Zuidweg grew up in Washington state where he cultivated a strong connection to nature and adventure activity in the wild places of the Pacific Northwest. With time spent in a junior Peace Corps program and exposure to world travel and community service, Sebastiaan knew early on that his calling was a life of being […]

January 31st, 2019

Melia Snyder

Dr. Melia Snyder earned her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy from Appalachian State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Melia immersed herself […]

January 10th, 2019

Cayle Adams

Cayle brings with him two years of experience as a chemical dependency counselor at a dual diagnosis residential treatment center. He also spent a year working and leading trail building teams in the Sierras. He joined the Open Sky team in January 2018. Cayle was drawn to working at Open Sky because it combines the […]

January 2nd, 2019

Aiden Church

Previous to joining Open Sky in October 2017, Aiden spent four years mentoring adolescent girls in Bellingham, WA while attending Western Washington University. She graduated with a BS in Psychology with a focus on adolescent development and social psychology. Additionally, she spent two years with an adventure program for adolescents and young adults in British […]

December 21st, 2018

Janelle Ochs

While earning her BA in Community Development from Portland State University, Janelle began to combine her love of nature with helping others. She mentored high school students in outdoor programs and began working with young men in juvenile detention systems. During that time, Janelle realized her passion for helping others realize their full potential in […]

December 3rd, 2018

Constantine Dhonau

Constantine grew up in several branches of scouting, including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Crew, and Sea Scouts. He graduated from New College of Florida in 2015 with a BA in Psychology and went on complete a service year with City Year Denver in AmeriCorps. It was with City Year that he first learned of […]

November 14th, 2018

EJ Horrocks

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 […]

September 21st, 2018

Ben List, BS, BA

Prior to joining Open Sky in 2017, Ben was an Orientation Leader (helping incoming freshman acclimate to college) as well as a Teacher’s Assistant, for which he created lesson plans and held small study groups to support students in their learning. He volunteered at a Crisis Text Hotline and at a psychology research lab studying […]

September 21st, 2018

Cord Drake, MEd

Cord joined the Open Sky Field Team in 2017, after valuable experience in education. His first experience in education was as an Assistant Language Teacher, teaching English in a small village in the mountains of mainland Japan for a year. During his time there, his work ranged from teaching Kindergarteners to 9th graders and even […]

September 5th, 2018

Julia Osborn, BS

A Colorado native, Julia studied Psychology as an undergraduate at Colorado State University near her hometown of Fort Collins. Upon graduation, Julia decided to spend some time re-connecting with her longtime love of backpacking. She embarked on the Colorado Trail, a 496-mile thru-hike, which ultimately helped Julia learn the skills necessary to survive and thrive […]

September 4th, 2018

Emily Prigmore, BA

Emily fell in love with working with youth while she taught English as a Foreign language to adolescent girls in Rabat, Morocco. Following that job, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Boys and Girls Club of the Southern Ute Tribe, after which she moved to a remote village in Thailand and taught English […]

August 10th, 2018

Joanna Rupe

Joanna joined the Open Sky leadership team in July 2018 as the Chief Human Resources Officer. This position was developed as part of Open Sky’s commitment to providing advanced HR support to meet the growing organization and workforce needs. Joanna felt an immediate connection to the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy mission, core values, and belief […]

August 9th, 2018

Nick Lenderking-Brill

Nick, a Boston native, has always been fascinated by humans and how they interact. He earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Virginia, largely to delve deeper into the arts of communication and expression. His 12 years of experience working with individuals and families led him to a Master’s Degree in […]