Originally from Northern California, Sam’s love for the outdoors flourished from his youth spent skiing, fly fishing, and sailing in the Sierra Nevada. After earning his bachelor’s degree in adventure education, Sam took to guiding river and rock climbing trips for the Air Force in Colorado Springs. Working with service members and families expanded his interest in working with people, so in 2012, Sam turned to field guiding at Open Sky. He became fascinated by the power of wilderness as a therapeutic tool to nurture resiliency and inspire growth.
In 2016, Sam pursued his master's degree in social work while continuing to serve as a therapeutic mentor for students transitioning from wilderness therapy. He focused on transferring peak wilderness experiences to daily life challenges, while supporting students in integrating the skills learned in wilderness to their lives back home. Sam has worked as a school-based social worker, a therapist in substance use treatment, and a child and adolescent therapist in community mental health. He re-joined Open Sky in 2020 as a therapist in Family Services to continue in his passion for wilderness therapy. Sam is currently a therapist for the adolescent boys program.
Sam builds on more than ten years of experience working with adolescents and young adults and has developed strength working with complex clients and family systems. He uses an experiential, process-oriented approach to promote self-awareness, strengthen coping skills, and help students learn to adapt and thrive to achieve their true potential. He draws from frameworks of dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative and solution-focused therapy, and his prior experience working as a field guide. Sam is direct, compassionate, and extremely dedicated in his work, enabling strong connections with students and families.
When not working in the field, Sam is likely to be outside playing in the woods or out on the river. Some of his passions include fly fishing, white water kayaking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. For Sam, reflection time and adventure in the wilderness provides an outlet to find balance, reset, and continue striving through the stressors and demands of daily life.