Liz comes to Open Sky with extensive experience working with early adolescents and their families in wilderness and residential settings. Her wilderness therapy journey began in 2005 when she worked as a field instructor. After leaving the field to further her education and experience, Liz set a personal goal to work specifically with early adolescents, as she was drawn to the wisdom, creativity, and authenticity that comes with a younger population.
Liz earned her master’s degree from Western Carolina University in community counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in wilderness leadership and experiential education from Brevard College. Liz is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and National Certified Counselor. She is also a Registered Play Therapist through the Association of Play Therapy. Prior to Open Sky, Liz worked as a therapist at several wilderness and residential programs. She also led international adventure travel trips and worked as both a program director and lead instructor for a wilderness leadership program.
As the Early Adolescent Program Director, Liz supports families through their journeys at Open Sky. She facilitates parent coaching and works alongside the field and clinical teams to deliver powerful clinical and wilderness experiences to students in the field. Liz believes wilderness is the ideal place for families to reconnect, shift into new patterns of interacting, improve communication, and build confidence and resiliency. She has experience working with families whose children are dealing with anxiety, depression, social issues, oppositional behaviors, ADHD, identity development, trauma, loss, and significant transitions in their lives.
Liz’s most poignant life experience has been her 17 years of involvement with a traditional girls’ summer camp in central New Hampshire. It was there that Liz learned first-hand the value and necessity of strong role models, community support, and adversity within a young child’s life. She also experienced the power of wilderness for herself as she participated in numerous canoeing and backpacking adventures in the northern woods of Maine and New Hampshire.
Liz is passionate about challenging herself both mentally and physically, especially when it comes to long distance trail running. She aims to complete several ultramarathons each year, including a few 100-mile races. When Liz is not playing outside, she can be found baking a variety of sweet treats, reading, biking, traveling, or planning her next adventure with her husband. She is a native of New England but currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.