“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 program eventually led her and her students to the Grand Canyon which promptly stole her heart!
This event is one of many memorable moments Kelly has experienced while traveling by foot or boat in wild places such as Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Canada, Central and South America and Europe. During those travels, Kelly led and designed expeditions that revolved around self-empowerment and transformation for a variety of populations, including working with: wounded veterans; women and children who lost their spouses and parents in Iraq and Afghanistan; and visual and hearing impaired adults and adolescents.
After guiding river trips and expeditions for over 15 years, Kelly was ready for the next phase in her life and became the Outdoor Director for a recovery program for young adult males in Flagstaff, Arizona. While running this program, Kelly honed in on her ability to connect and understand people in a therapeutic environment. The program offered her the challenges and opportunities to connect with recovering addicts, and their families, to help them discover a pathway to love, honesty and integrity.
Throughout her career, Kelly has been committed to nature-based therapeutic approaches to healing. In her personal life she has experienced the power derived from spending time in wild places; learning how to adapt to life’s changes and how to overcome a variety of challenges. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Social Work degree with the intention of becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
This year, Kelly is interning with the Family Services Team at Open Sky. She was specifically drawn to this role because she believes in the importance of relationships and discovering self through shared experiences in nature. She believes that the Open Sky philosophy of incorporating family into the treatment process is critical to a student’s success, and that one healthy relationship can save a life.
In her spare time Kelly still romps around the Grand Canyon either by foot or boat and she continues to find love in chaos. Her latest passion is scampering up vertical limestone or sandstone rocks any chance she gets!