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Archives: Team

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

Georgia Stilwell

Georgia was raised in the valley of Arizona, where she grew up taking trips and exploring northern Arizona with her family. Because of this, she began cultivating a love for natural spaces and solitude from a young age. College brought her back up north where she got her undergraduate degree in Parks and Recreation Management […]

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

James Sibelle

James originally certified as an EMT over a decade ago while attending Portland Community College, in Portland, Oregon. Over time, James continued to train in wilderness medicine and became a Wilderness First Aid instructor, which allowed him to work more closely with people of all ages interested in getting closer to the natural world. For […]

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 […]

August 2nd, 2019

Courtney Kronschnabel

Courtney took a leap of faith in a career switch from PR & Advertising to the field of wilderness therapy. She joined Open Sky as a field guide in March of 2018. Courtney has found that this new role fills her mind, body and spirit in ways her previous career couldn’t. Prior to either of […]

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 26th, 2019

Michael Summers

Michael joined Open Sky as a field guide in May 2018 with two years of guiding experience in wilderness therapy prior. Through this prior experience, he developed skills in outdoor skills, risk management, and team leadership. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in psychology, he studied from a holistic view and learned the intimate ties between […]

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 […]

June 10th, 2019

Matt Angus

Matt’s forestry degree specialized in recreation management, which laid the groundwork for much of his outdoor experience. Coupled with that degree, he’s worked as an environmental interpreter and trip leader, leading backpacking/hiking, climbing, and canoeing trips. He has also worked as a health director for a YMCA camp. As a field guide at Open Sky, […]

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

Jared Nilsson

Jared grew up in Durango and found his dream job right here at Open Sky. Before joining the Open Sky team as a field guide in May 2018, he gained three years of experience guiding at other wilderness therapy programs. Jared believes wilderness therapy is truly the best way to create lasting change. His goal […]

May 22nd, 2019

Nick Sommerville

A Durango native, Nick is passionate about working in the outdoors in his hometown. He found out about wilderness therapy and Open Sky through a mentor on a NOLS semester and joined the team as a field guide in September 2017. In his role, Nick values the opportunity to grow as a human while helping […]

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 […]

May 8th, 2019

Shane Ward

Shane’s first introduction to the outdoors came at a young age when he joined the Boy Scouts of America. As an Eagle Scout, Shane mastered the skills necessary to survive in a wilderness environment. Looking back on the experience, Shane recognizes that his experience in the Boy Scouts is also where he first developed a […]

May 6th, 2019

Tess Richard

Tess graduated from SUNY Morrisville in the heart of gorgeous Upstate New York. She has a love of working with people and everything to do in the wilderness. Having found her own recovery and growth in the wilderness, she feels a great deal of passion to pass that gift on to others. She loves watching […]

April 19th, 2019

Andrew West

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Andrew has always been drawn to the outdoors. After a few vacations to Durango to see the train, he experienced how beautiful the city and surrounding area was, which planted a deep desire to one day live there. Andrew graduated with a BS in Accounting from Central Washington University. […]

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

When Michael Keenen was a student at Seattle University, a classmate (who happened to be an Open Sky alumni student) gave a presentation on wilderness therapy. Michael immediately knew he would love to be a field guide. He enjoyed leading retreats and holding space for others to be vulnerable, as well as backpacking with friends. […]

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

Suzanna Lourie

Suzanna earned a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Communication from Skidmore College in New York. Upon graduation, she moved to Costa Rica and spent the next three years working as a high school teacher, freelance travel writer, and communications director in the northwest province of Guanacaste. In addition, Suzanna gained experience working with teenagers as […]

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 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

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 […]

August 21st, 2018

Meggie Marsden, BA

Meggie grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and spent most of her time outdoors and riding horses. She moved out West when she went to Lewis & Clark College. While in school, she developed a love of the outdoors exploring the Oregon mountains, desert, forests, and coast. These adventures inspired her to work in […]

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, began his journey west after earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Virginia. Since childhood, he remembers feeling a sense of solace in nature. That passion re-ignited when he moved to Colorado, ultimately leading to his decision to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling […]

June 12th, 2018

Zac Carr

Zac was attracted to wilderness therapy because of his desire to be of service to others and his passion for the outdoors. Open Sky spoke to him because of the emphasis on mindfulness, community, and its setting in the beautiful Four Corners area. Within a guide team, Zac’s strengths are his ability to connect with […]

June 4th, 2018

Amy Hartline

Amy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Wilderness Therapy from Prescott College and a Master’s degree in Transformative Leadership from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She discovered the field of wilderness therapy through a college professor who encouraged her to pursue her love of people and the outdoors. Now a parent herself, Amy began working […]

March 29th, 2018

Craig Benally, BA

Open Sky welcomed Craig to the Operations Team in February 2017. Craig is a lifelong resident of Southwest Colorado and a member of the Navajo Nation. He grew up camping, hunting, fishing, and exploring in the Four Corners area. Craig Studied Philosophy and Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango. While living in the […]

March 27th, 2018

Emily (Jonesie) Jones

Jonesie grew up spending every summer at a residential summer camp in Northern Wisconsin, where her family lived and worked. It was there that she developed her love of nature. Later she worked as a guide at the camp, in college, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, leading backpacking, rafting, kayaking, and snorkeling. She came […]