A monthly e-news summary from Open Sky!

A lot happens at Open Sky! We developed SKYlights as a way for you to access news, catch up on blog articles, and learn more about program enhancements and upcoming events - all in one convenient place. Each month, SKYlights will keep you connected to what's happening at Open Sky! Take a moment to discover SKYlights for yourself!

Mindfulness and Adolescent Boys
Developing Practices that Benefit for a Lifetime

Morgan Robak, LCSW - Clinical Therapist

Research shows that the average person has more than 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day (Davis). That’s about 35-48 thoughts per minute! Imagine if we fixated, focused, or acted on each thought we had, not only would we be overwhelmed, but everyday tasks would become more difficult and almost impossible. Interestingly, “nearly 50% of our awake life is spent mind-wandering. Yet, mind-wandering is associated with lower levels of happiness, possibly through pathological forms of self-referential thought focused on the past or future, such as rumination [that is, repetitive focus on negative emotions and events,] or worry” (Marusak).

Closing the Gap: Transition Age Programming at Open Sky

For Young Adults, 18-20
Chris Blankenship, LCSW - Clinical Therapist

Turning 18 is one of the biggest milestones that young people in our culture experience. Overnight, one goes from being labeled a child to an adult. However, the growth that occurs in that one day is not commensurate with cognitive development, the change in expectations, nor the decrease of dependency on others. Transition age young adult groups at Open Sky assist students age 18-20 in navigating these disparities. 

Development of cognitive and emotional maturity takes time. Neurologists and psychologists have long studied how our brain develops. They’ve suggested that the corpus callosum, prefrontal cortex, and other neural structures continue developing into a person’s mid-20s. This development impacts things like impulse control 1, mood regulation 2,3, and long-term planning 4,5. Because risk-taking behavior decreases over time, it is more likely that transition age young adults (age 18-20) will participate in dangerous behaviors than their older counterparts. Additionally, these behaviors can result in more extreme legal...

Family Matters: The Intentional Development of Family Programming at Open Sky

Tony Issenmann, Ph.D., LMFT
Clinical and Family Services Director

Since its founding in 2006, Open Sky has transcended traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family (not just the adolescent or young adult), and the application of evidence-based clinical modalities. This approach also includes innovative, well-researched, holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. When a family partners with Open Sky, each family member embarks on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and learns a range of strategies that promote lasting success. 

Family Matters: Activating
Potential Through the Family Quest Experience

Aaron Belson, LSW
Family Services Therapist

The sun sets and cloaks the sky in color as a family gathers around a crackling campfire. A sixteen-year-old boy looks into his mother’s eyes and says “I’m sorry”. After a brief pause, his mother returns his gaze with an embrace and replies, “Thank you…I love you.” 

Earlier that day, a father cried as his daughter shared that she had never before seen him express emotion. He realized that for too many years, he had...

Family Matters: Involving Siblings in the Family Quest Experience

Matthew Krugh, MSW
Family Services Therapist

Are you curious about how the Family Quest could work for your unique family system? Do you have questions or reservations about including siblings on this endeavor? Can they even come along? By and large, the quick answer is a resounding, yes. The Open Sky Family Quest experience is a rich opportunity with the potential for deep learning and growth. It is open to all family members involved in the student’s therapeutic... 

On Sunday, March 25, Open Sky hosted its first Alumni Reunion Dinner of 2018 in San Mateo, California. The gathering was attended by alumni students, parents, and even a few siblings. Also attending were Open Sky founders Aaron Fernandes, Emily Fernandes, and Norman Elizondo

Alumni enjoyed the opportunity to check in and catch up with other students and parents. There was a palpable energy and buzz that filled the space as guests shared a meal and nurtured new and existing connections. The evening culminated with a group centering exercise led by Norman, followed by an opportunity for all to speak and share. One alumni student shared, "I needed this reconnection. I am feeling grateful and happy." 

Open Sky will be hosting more Alumni gatherings throughout 2018. The next event will be held in the Chicago area on May 16. Be sure to check our Facebook  page  or visit Alumni Reunions for future locations, dates, and details.


Open Sky Welcomes 13 New Guides
Open Sky is delighted to welcome a new group of dedicated, passionate, and skilled individuals to our team! Our next new guide orientation will be held May 21-June 2. For more information, visit Careers @ Open Sky.

Mastering Excellence, Twice! 
Congrats to Open Sky's Finance Director, Erin Pinkham. Erin has been with Open Sky for 9 years and recently completed not one, but two Master's degrees! Erin now holds MSF and MBA degrees from Northeastern University. Nice work, Erin!

Risk Management Quarterly Meeting
Safety is our top priority at Open Sky; at every level and in every department. Our Risk Management Team recently convened for its quarterly meeting.

The Risk Management Team includes representation from the Field, Medical, Clinical, Program, Operations, Finance, Administration, Admissions, Marketing, and Research Teams.
Open Sky remains committed to the industry’s best practices and highest standards of safety. Program Director, Danny Frazer is a member of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council’s Risk Management Committee, representing Open Sky as a thought leader in the field.


Parents Recharge at Open Sky Wellness Retreat in California
This inspiring two-day retreat was an opportunity for parents to further personal growth, practice mindfulness skills, and deepen connections. The retreat was facilitated by Wellness Counselor, Norman Elizondo and Family Services Therapist, Kendall Smith. 

Ready to Join an Amazing Team? Open Sky is Hiring!
Current openings include Marketing Intern/Seasonal Assistant, Admissions Assistant, Family Services Transition Mentor, Human Resources Director, Clinical Therapist, and more! For more information, visit the careers page of our website.

Young Adult Therapist, Dr. Aaron Wallis to Co-Present at the 2018 Spring IECA Conference in Austin, TX
"Balancing the Art and Science of Psychological Evaluations" with Tracine Smoot, Ph.D., and Jenn Brown, Psy.D. of Psych Solutions will be held April 26. This session will focus on how a psychological evaluation can go beyond diagnosis and provide momentum for the next steps. As the date nears, check our Facebook page for details!

On the Move: Annual Migration to Open Sky's Colorado Base 
It's almost time to say goodbye to the Utah desert and hello to the Colorado mountains! Our Operations Team is busy preparing for the move to our spring/summer base camp area in early May. Click here to learn more about Open Sky's two distinct field locations.