Chris was drawn to wilderness therapy by the opportunity to live and work in the wilderness with students. Throughout his life, he has come to discover that he deeply values connecting with people. He considers it such a gift to be able to get to know who people really are and what they really value. Before joining Open Sky in 2007, Chris worked for two other wilderness therapy programs. He transitioned to Open Sky because of its holistic approach to living in the wilderness. He was excited that food was considered to be medicine and that there was a focus on mindfulness practices to better get to know oneself. He also valued that the founders had been guides prior to starting Open Sky.
Chris appreciates the humanistic, whole-person approach. By living 24/7 with the Field Team and the students, he supports them through all levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He values connecting with them as people to see them through all the good and the bad. He quickly realized as a Field Guide that he could have the greatest impact on helping people grow in their lives by role modeling how to deal with many different situations. Furthermore, Chris loves the opportunity to live with people without distractions; relying on each other and becoming increasingly empowered throughout the experience. In 2017, with more than 1,500 field days as a Field Guide with Open Sky, Chris transitioned to Program Mentor. In this role, he further utilizes his gifts, knowledge, and experience to support other guides in their work and to strengthen the Field Team to be able to provide the best care possible for students.
Chris loves the ability to be creative in the wilderness. He focuses on using his wisdom to empower others to take chances and grow. He connects through his heart and has faith in this process because he has seen it work over and over again with students, guides, and himself. By learning to feel and connect in wilderness therapy, he can provide stability for guides and students in challenging moments. Chris's best friend and companion, Pippin, has celebrated 1,000 days as a therapy dog.
During his time off, Chris spends a lot of time with friends. He also focuses on personal growth through Lakota traditions such as sweat lodges and other ceremonies.