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Open Sky Testimonials

The level of depth and authenticity and rawness that I experienced in your team was remarkable. I felt your care and respect for each of them come through in their sharing.

- Educational Consultant (2020)

I went to Open Sky in the spring of 2018 and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. It changed me into the best version of myself possible. It helped me build a wonderful relationship with my parents and I’m forever grateful. Thank you for all you guys have done for me. I could never be happier. I’m a preschool teacher now and hope to become a guide myself at Open Sky one day to show every student that comes in what I had learned when I was there. Thank you.

- Emily, Alumni Student (2019)

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping my son. You and his guides, Julian and Jared, have changed his life. When he came home, it was like he had come home to himself. I could see this reflected in his behavior, of course, but the shift was internal. No amount of perfected behavior could have compensated for this missing sense of self. He bonded to you, Julian, and Jared deeply enough to mention you often with affection and humor, and it is clear he feels an ongoing connection. He tells people he spent the summer in the Colorado mountains with his uncles.

- Cary, Alumni Parent (2019)

Thank-you for all you do. During our daughter’s time at Open Sky, she experienced tremendous growth as did our entire family. I am completely and totally impressed with Open Sky. Everyone there is loving, caring, and supportive. We felt this from EVERYONE. We have experienced several other wilderness and treatment programs and Open Sky is the best – by far. The meditation, yoga, and family component are difference makers. Your staff is remarkable. Our daughter spoke highly of all of the guides and she will miss them. I was also impressed with how organized and efficiently your operation is run. Everything is done with a purpose, and no detail has been left unaddressed. Again, thanks for all you do. You’re making a difference in this world.

- Dean, Alumni Parent (2019)

The therapists and guides did a masterful job getting our son the help and support he needed. The improvement in him is stunning and beautiful to see. The whole program, its structure and combination with yoga and meditation, a powerful experience for our son and family

- Greg, Alumni Parent (2019)

Thank you so much for returning my son to me. Everyone at Open Sky worked so hard to stabilize and evaluate my son.

- William, Alumni Parent (2019)

What I valued most was how you helped our son and how you kept us engaged and informed. It really is his journey and we are so grateful he is on a path now with Open Sky’s help. I have so much respect and gratitude for the guides.

- Jill, Alumni Parent (2019)

I valued knowing that my son was safe and in confident trustworthy, well-trained hands (field guides and therapist); regular check-ins (via letter writing, and therapist weekly calls); parent support (wellness weekend and Monday night calls); the space and time for parents to recover from the trauma; and for the kids to go “tech free” – a rare gift these days.

I’d like to thank Open Sky for this incredible, life-changing experience for my son and our entire family. Special thanks to Morgan and all the team Gaia field guides for the exceptional dedication to the well-being of our kids. Much thanks to Amy Hartline and Norman E. for their patient, comforting parent support. We are sad to depart from Open Sky…all the security and support…but we leave in hope and with the faith that our child can hold all that he gained.

- Ian, Alumni Parent (2019)

What I valued most about Open Sky was the amazing kindness and tenderness of the entire staff, the connection you develop between families, and the amazing journey it takes you and your child on. The skills that your child learns cannot be taught in college. It is an education about real life and how to live!!! Thank you for taking part of your life to help save one of ours! Deep graditude and overwhelming respect.

- Ron, Alumni Parent (2019)

Chris is outstanding, thorough, kind, assertive, and direct. He was/is responsive and approachable – we will miss working with him. He connected with our son in profound ways that I believe he will continue to draw on in the future.

- Kayce, Alumni Parent (2019)

Morgan conducted outstanding therapeutic work for us and our son. She was perceptive, honest, respectful, trustworthy, supportive, helpful, direct and responsible. We valued her input tremendously and cannot thank her enough for all the support she showed us and our son.

- Paul, Alumni Parent (2019)

Open Sky taught me how to communicate better and more importantly how to listen to my daughter’s needs. Our family’s communication has grown and because of this, I believe that we will become stronger.

- Leslie, Alumni Parent (2018)

Thank you for helping our daughter find value and self-worth and helping us as a family communicate better.

- Kris, Alumni Parent (2018)

I love you guys. You’ve made me realize my strength and my eagerness to live.

- Katherine, Alumni Student (2018)

The Family Services staff are very knowledgeable and working so well with our family culturally. I’m so surprised how they could make our family feel so comfortable talking about our culture, food, and language.

Open sky has given me a precious lifetime experience from being able to work with a group of dedicated experts who help change the lives of others. Open sky has changed my life positively and my family as a whole.

- Maitrinh, Alumni Parent (2018)

Open Sky has been a blessing to my son. The commitment and attention to the family makes Open Sky unique and special. I would recommend Open Sky to anyone looking for wilderness therapy for their son/daughter.

- Charles, Alumni Parent (2018)

I 100% believe in wilderness therapy and the power of the tribe mentality and being in nature to heal the mind and the spirit. The staff at OS are amazing and I’m grateful for this program. I valued the entire staff at Open Sky for the work that they did with our daughter.

- Stefani, Alumni Parent (2018)

This place changed my life. Thank you. I value the skills and opportunities I learned here and the opportunities it’s opened me up to have in the future.

- Jillian, Alumni Student (2018)

The staff, ALL of them, are amazing. You have truly found the formula for attracting people who are caring, loving, thoughtful, generous, generous of spirit, positive, warm, welcoming and yet professional.

- Jennifer, Alumni Parent (2018)

A transformational experience for my daughter, the first important step in her new life. I like the purity of philosophy + discipline of approach. Successful experience.

- Ron, Alumni Parent (2018)

First class job all around. The website, the printed materials, the food, the support- THE PEOPLE & THE PROGRAM ITSELF. I felt supported every step of the way in a healthy, productive, challenging way. I totally felt the commitment to our whole family, not just our child.

I valued the parallel process and the people here. Every single person we worked with or who worked with our son was fantastic – engaged, incredibly competent, and totally committed to the well-being of our family. And both Colorado and Utah are healing- the physical part is amazing as well.

This process would not be the same without Wellness Weekend and the opporunity to do Family Quest. Having a vehicle to actively engage in the process that our child was doing was transformative. We all came out with a path forward, not just our son. OUTSTANDING OUTSTANDING OUTSTANDING. It’s also the reason I chose Open Sky over other groups.

- James, Alumni Parent (2018)

It is helpful and a valid form of therapy. My daughter has attended 2 wilderness programs- both programs were pivotal in beginning their change and healing process. I valued most that they helped my child and seemed to truly love them and took the time to know us in such a short period of time.

- Jean, Alumni Parent (2018)

When I talk to friends about my wilderness experience, they may not fully understand but they can tell that I’m fulfilled. Before this experience, I didn’t know how to respond to my emotions. I wouldn’t take responsibility for my reactions. I now take accountability for myself and have learned skills to help with emotional awareness, connection, and relationships. Open Sky was not—and is not meant to be—a “one-stop shop.” I’ve learned that this journey is a continuous process and Open Sky helped prepare me to take an active and healthy role in it…I just finished my second semester back at Temple University. I am doing much better both socially and academically. I’m looking forward to graduating with a Social Work degree by 2022!

- Julian, Alumni Student (2018)

Brian is a natural at what he does. So passionate and truly cared about our family. His insight + suggestions were so helpful. He really brought a level of calm and control to our family.

- Jeremy, Alumni Parent (2018)

Brian is amazingly passionate and understanding. He is natural in resolving family issues. He exudes a lot of care towards the family as well as positivity.

- Jeremy, Alumni Parent (2018)

I loved that Chris figured out what was driving some of my daughter’s issues and then came up with innovative ways for her to deal with them head-on. Chris was a steady, calming force for me, which I really appreciated.

- Lisa, Alumni Parent (2018)

Jonathan is awesome. His work with our son was very impressive. He got to know him and what he needed very quickly and did a masterful job at getting him to where he is today, which is a much better place. Jonathan did a great job at educating me at what my son’s needs are and how I can support as a parent.

- Greg, Alumni Parent (2018)

I’m thankful that Morgan pushed me as hard as she did. Nobody has before.

- Griffin, Alumni Student (2018)

Morgan was honest, she always advocated for our son’s wellbeing.  She helped me see the work that I NEEDED TO DO, all the while supporting me. Morgan was accessible, patient, generous and kind. I owe her a debt I can never repay.

- Jenifer, Alumni Parent (2018)

I don’t know how to express my thanks, respect, and honor for Kirsten. Her work with my daughter has been AMAZING. I am filled with gratitude.

- Robert, Alumni Parent (2018)

Nothing short of AMAZING, EXTRAORDINARY, AWESOME. Kirsten’s impact on my daughter, myself, and my family exceeded all expectations! Kirsten is the first to break through with our daughter.

- Tim, Alumni Parent (2018)

Kirsten is the best therapist I’ve had in my entire life. She pushed me to be the best “me” I can be.

- Grace, Alumni Student (2018)

Mariah is brilliant and strong and supportive. I felt a balance of loving support and hard but necessary pushes to really awaken growth here.

- Annie, Alumni Student (2018)

I still think back to wilderness and our sessions. I want to sincerely thank you and tell you how full of gratitude I am. I was broken, scared, and hopeless when I got there. And you were the first person there to tell me that there’s hope. I grew during my time there and you were there to remind me that I wasn’t crazy and honestly after all this time I think about it and you inspired me. To this day. Thank you for all you did.

- Jack, Alumni Student (2018)

Before Open Sky, I had no idea how to interact with or have a relationship with our son.

- Gregor, Alumni Parent (2017)

We just want to thank every member of the Open Sky team, not only because of what you did for our daughter, but also for our entire family. We heard early on during our family support calls that Open Sky was transformative and we were hopeful, but what we saw from our daughter during Family Quest and Graduation was nothing less than a miracle. Your work is truly magical. From the moment we were reunited with our daughter, until the time we said goodbyes to the team at Open Sky, we were touched by each member’s honesty, compassion, and caring for human beings. We cannot say enough about how this time at Open Sky has impacted us all.

- Sam and Terri, Alumni Parents (2017)

It’s been almost two years since I graduated from Open Sky. I am now a junior in high school. I earned my academic letter for my 4.0 GPA and have taken a leadership role in a club at my school that spreads awareness on the importance of mental health. I continue to use the knowledge that I gained while at Open Sky in my everyday life, not always to the same degree, once in a while I’ll bust an “I feel” statement to a friend when I need to. Next year I will be graduating from high school and starting college in the fall of 2020. I am very excited to start the next chapter in my life. I could never be able to thank my therapist and my field guides enough for helping me through such a dark time in my life. I am now able to live my life to its fullest potential.

- Olivia, Alumni Student (2017)

When I think of Open Sky, I am taken back to the place where I tore down the walls that I had spent so long building up. I think of the guides, and how their adventurous spirits helped me to discover one of my own. Open Sky helped me rediscover my spirituality, as well as my thirst for adventure. I will always be grateful for this. I also think of this as the most grounding three months of my life, and the beginning of almost two years free of addiction. I exercise regularly and ran cross country for the first time as a senior in high school this year. I have begun to teach guitar lessons to younger students so that I might share my knowledge and passion with them.

- Ethan, Alumni Student (2017)

Our daughter is thriving, happy, confident and so excited to be starting her freshman year. She recently told me that wilderness was where she stopped hating herself, and [aftercare] is where she learned to love herself again. On her last home visit last week she also talked about wanting to be an Open Sky wilderness guide ;). She admits it was the hardest and worst thing she’s ever done, and also that it saved her and that she would love to help others going through it…Thank you so much for playing such a primary role in the literal recovery of our daughter. She has recovered herself and her life and has a bright future. We are so grateful.

- Amy, Alumni Parent (2017)

Brian, thank you for your calm and measured phone calls. I learned so much and surprised myself with my abilities. Your support was instrumental to our family engaging and experiencing Open Sky in a deeper meaningful way. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you.

- Jennifer, Alumni Parent (2017)

Brian has a gift and talent for this work, I hope he stays in this field for a long time. He will help many!

- David, Alumni Parent (2017)

Brian was amazing. He completely understood our patterns and worked with us in a way that was challenging and compassionate. I believe we made a lot of progress due to our work with him. And he was fun to be with. Thanks, Brian. I’ll miss you.

- Margie, Alumni Parent (2017)

Chris you were so helpful to our son and us in SO many ways. SO many ways! The treatment plan was the first time he has had a comprehensive holistic view of his issues and tangible work to make progress on those issues. I am so very grateful for all of your hard work and visiting through many difficult conversations and decisions. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am blessed you came into our family’s life.

- Jennifer, Alumni Parent (2017)

Morgan was a pro in every way. The most stand-out quality of her care from my point of view is the trust she established with our son, which allowed him to engage and grow. Her calls always included individualized care for my husband and me. She helped our family. We are enormously grateful. Words are inadequate.

- Robin, Alumni Parent (2017)

Jonathan was terrific. He was consistently calm, measured and insightful. He listened and quickly developed a very complete picture of our son and his issues, which was hugely helpful. We collaborated very well together and felt an effective team. He challenged us and our son in very professional ways. Overall, excellent!

- Charlie, Alumni Parent (2017)

Kirsten, “thank you” does not convey the gratitude we have for the tremendous change in my daughter.  She entered as an angry and lost girl with no self-confidence and has emerged as a mature young woman who has recognition of her abandonment issues and her “go-to” of stuffing emotions and isolating herself. I’m so very hopeful that she and I will be able to continue connecting and using the skills that she has learned from Open Sky.

- Paula, Alumni Parent (2017)

One of the best therapists I’ve worked with (and I’ve worked with many). Mariah is unbelievably insightful, helpful, and smart. Importantly, she pushed me past my comfort zone and helped me grow more than I ever have in my life.

- Noah, Alumni Student (2017)

Mariah really seemed to understand our son at progressively deeper levels and was able to effectively communicate that progress. She also seemed to push and challenge him, and not to let him off the hook by delving deeper. I came away from each Friday call with a strong feeling that our son was in the right place, exactly where he needed to be. I appreciate always feeling included and feeling heard. I also appreciate her guidance on my communication with him. It truly helped.

- Linda, Alumni Parent (2017)

Open Sky has changed my life forever and I will cherish all the times I have spent here.

- Jeanette, Alumni Student (2016)

I valued the education we received to better parent our child. I valued the kindness and care given to me and my son.

- Tony, Alumni Parent (2016)

When I read about Open Sky I was like, ‘This is it, this is what I’ve been searching for,’ and it was. Open Sky found my daughter. The guides were amazing and were so impactful to my daughter.

- Julia, Alumni Parent (2016)

Dad, I was so mad at you for sending me here but now I can’t thank you enough…best experience of my life.

- Nicole, Alumni Student (2016)

We believe that Open Sky can truly help teens in crisis and profoundly and positively impact their lives and the lives of their families. We feel strongly about the organization and how it changed our son’s life. After Open Sky, our son entered school in the middle of his junior year semester. He caught up and completed the semester with a 4.2 GPA. The first half of this present semester he has earned straight A’s as well. Although it has not been easy at times, his growth has been quite remarkable. We feel so strongly about Open Sky’s program and its success that we have supported and directed another family to Open Sky. We believe that Open Sky saved our son’s life. The Open Sky team involved in our son’s process from start to finish were nothing short of amazing.

- Sadie, Alumni Parent (2016)

I entered Open Sky as an adult student in March of 2014. I want to express gratitude as going through Open Sky was the best thing I have done. When I came in at the age of 23, I was at the peak of my second nervous breakdown. Today, I am a small business owner, financially independent, and more content and relaxed than I have ever been. I will never forget the meditations Norman taught me. I use them regularly when I realize I have been having feelings I have not been acknowledging, training myself to separate thoughts, judgements and emotions could not be more valuable. Partaking in yoga has kick started my journey into fitness and I am confident that I will live a much longer, fuller life because of it.  My anxiety no longer consumes my entire being and does define me anymore. Every moment of my time at Open Sky helped me grow. A person who is starting to learn what self-esteem feels like, a person who can reach out for support well before reaching his breaking point, a person who advocates for his needs, a person who has hope for the future. From the deepest parts of my heart, I want to thank every single member of the staff for all the growth I went through in my time at Open Sky and for helping me kick start my life as an adult.

- Alex, Alumni Student (2016)

I value how there’s no hiding from your emotions and your true self at Open Sky. I value how much more I enjoy life and all that I’ve learned about myself. I also value the brotherhood, emotional safety, and feedback that I received.

- Jeff, Alumni Student (2016)

On April 14 of 2015, I came to Open Sky. I was extremely sick physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually from years of alcohol and drug abuse. Prior to attending Open Sky, I could not hold down a job, pass college classes or maintain healthy relationships with my friends and family. My life was in shambles and completely unmanageable. I spent three months at Open Sky backpacking, working through my addictions and healing broken relationships. In the wilderness, I was able to find joy and serenity from within that I didn’t know was possible. I learned how to live within a community. Most importantly, I learned that I had the ability to exist sober and happy. Because Open Sky is a mindfulness based program, I could cultivate a strong meditation and yoga practice. This was integral for me. Today, my life looks totally different than it once did. I have maintained sobriety since arriving at Open Sky, I am a straight A student, valued family member and reliable friend. I work at two different treatment centers in Arizona, and I am a certified yoga instructor. In addition, I consistently venture into nature.  I truly believe that Open Sky Wilderness Therapy was the only way for me to heal. I am forever grateful to everyone who I worked with at Open Sky.

- Emily, Alumni Student (2016)

When you have a child that goes to wilderness therapy, the parents and the family are so impacted. My guess is that many of the wilderness programs are focusing on the child and that’s what it’s about. For us at Open Sky, not only was our child being attended to but our family was as well. If we had our child in a different program and not at a family centered program, we would have had a different experience. The experience, for us, was tremendous. There are so many emotions that parents and the family experiences. When just the child is being treated, that is an unfortunate situation. It makes absolute sense that the parents are attended to as well. I don’t think that’s happening anywhere else.

- Trish, Alumni Parent (2016)

I credit Open Sky with saving my son’s life. Period.

- Henry, Alumni Parent (2016)

I was inspired by all my field guides. The field guides made me feel safe and cared about. They were easy to connect with and understood me while also challenging me.

- Michael, Alumni Student (2016)

Chris helped me become the man that I am today.

- Christian, Alumni Student (2016)

Mariah saved me. She is the best therapist I’ve ever known and has set me up for success in my life. I will forever be grateful to her and will not forget what she has taught me.

- Taylor, Alumni Student (2016)

Initially, I made a leap of faith by sending my child to Open Sky at such a critical time. Open Sky exceeded my expectations. The emotional vocabulary and growth I see in my child borders on the remarkable. The encouragement I felt to examine my thoughts and beliefs continues to be tremendously valuable.

- Lynn, Alumni Parent (2015)

Jonathan is 100% brilliant. His lightness, humor, intensity, clarity, empathy, strength, and expertise are a gift to those who get to work with him.

- Rebecca, Alumni Parent (2015)

The Open Sky family systems approach and family programming distinguish this program from the others we researched. From our personal experience, I think that this is what made Open Sky so effective.

- Eve, Alumni Parent (2014)

I missed Open Sky so much today, I got my busting set out and busted a solo coal and still managed to make it burn in my Utah nesting! Wish I was still there so much!

- Rachel, Alumni Student (2014)

Open Sky saved my life… I don’t think that my life could possibly have taken a better road.

- Jessica, Alumni Student (2014)

Since graduating Open Sky in 2014, from a world so small and encapsulated by darkness, I have fallen in love with living and see the bigger picture. I do not hide away in a world of self-destruction or try to shrink myself into nothingness. I have learned to be kind and gentle to myself. That I am courageous, brave and resilient. I see a bold girl that made her way. I have taken the time to do a lot of healing, the memories that haunted me have been put to bed. I learned to forgive others but mostly myself. Letting go of the past hurt and worries of tomorrow and live for today. I am alive, not just merely surviving, but truly thriving. I am experiencing this extraordinary life, with all its quirks, rough edges and array of colour, in its most raw form. I am clean and sober for two years, and not relying on any false high and escape addiction gave me. All that I have gained cannot be measured by a number on a scale. My value is no longer determined by my appearance and I am nourishing my body. I have found dignity and respect for myself…Graduating from London Southbank University with a First-Class Honours in Addiction Psychology, I now work at The Priory Hospital as a Health Care Assistant where I was once an inpatient, alongside doing a Master’s at King’s College London in Addiction Studies. I am aiming to do a PhD to become a Clinical Psychologist specializing in Addiction and Eating Disorders.

- Izii, Alumni Student (2014)

Best therapist I have ever had. Jonathan helped me find joy as well as the benefits of engaging in weekly therapy.

- Noah, Alumni Student (2014)

There is something about the wilderness. Something magical. Something pure. When it rains, the wind blows, your pack is disorganized or you lose something, you cannot blame anyone but yourself for not being prepared. It is not your parents’ fault; it is not your teacher’s fault.

Thank you for sharing the wilderness with my son.

- Dennis, Alumni Parent (2013)

What you are doing there is so real and so effective.

- Frederick, Alumni Parent (2013)

I love you Open Sky, you have forever changed the person I am and will be. I am and will forever be in your debt.

- Kevin, Alumni Student (2013)

I am grateful for Open Sky and for everyone who participated in the rebirth of our daughter. I am grateful for all who have walked before us, and those who will come after. It’s been quite a journey.

- Christine, Alumni Parent (2012)

I think of my time in wilderness as one of the most amazing and important experiences of my life so far.

- Madison, Alumni Student (2012)

I was constantly impressed by the quality, depth of knowledge, and kindness of each staff member, from admissions to guides to therapists to office staff. Everyone we dealt with was amazing!

- Lauren, Alumni Parent (2012)

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think of Open Sky. It saved and changed my life.

- Natalie, Alumni Student (2012)

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had at Open Sky to catapult change in my life.  Now, I could not be living a more fulfilling life!

- Joni, Alumni Student (2012)