Introducing the Early Adolescent Program 

Open Sky is excited to introduce our new program for early adolescents ages 12-14. In this special edition of SKYlights, we cover all the details. Meet the leadership and clinical team behind the program, learn about what makes the program unique, and discover how families are included and supported every step of the way. We hope you enjoy! 

Meet Early Adolescent Program Director Liz Lucarelli

We are excited to welcome Liz Lucarelli to Open Sky as the early adolescent program director. Liz has extensive experience working with kids ages 12-14 and their families in wilderness settings. She brings this knowledge to her role at Open Sky, where she directs program and curriculum development, staff training, and clinical oversight. We are thrilled to have her on board! Click the link below to learn more about Liz and the journey that brought her to Open Sky. 

Open Sky partners with Medicine Horse Equine Center

Early adolescents engage in crafts, journaling, and other expressive arts

The early adolescent program is thoughtfully designed to best suit the needs of this unique age group. Traditional talk therapy is not always the most effective approach when working with early adolescents, as it requires students to rely on verbal or abstract reasoning skills. These skills are not yet fully developed for many individuals at this age. Creative and play-based activities, on the other hand, are developmentally appropriate treatment modalities that can help early adolescents build...

Cultivating Curiosity and Awareness: A Conversation with Early Adolescent Girls Therapist, Julia Lehr

Article Excerpt:

"What I like about this age group is that we have the opportunity to do a lot of early intervention. Before students engage in risky behaviors in a more serious way, we’re able to intervene and provide both them and their families the skills to connect with each other and meet their needs in healthy ways. I’m really passionate about that, especially when working with adolescent girls. As they emerge into the teen years, we have the chance to provide them with the tools and resources they need to..."

Unapologetically Themselves: Why Mark Sobel Loves Working with Early Adolescents

Article Excerpt:

"Early adolescents are unique because they still have one foot in childhood. At the same time, they’re starting to dip a toe into being a teenager. They’re individuating and discovering self-identify and self-concept. There’s excitement, along with this inevitable apprehension of walking the road of figuring out who they are. They also have such a sense of playfulness and childlike wonder. Even though their identifies are in in this huge state of flux, they are unapologetically themselves. They’re able to self-reflect in a way that younger kids can’t, but they’re not so caught up in trying to fit in and impress their peers the way older kids are. They’re in this formative time that’s difficult and confusing and yet, so important. It’s a time kids recognize that their voices have impact. When they realize..." 

Family Services: Opportunities for Early Adolescent Parents to Engage

The early adolescent program offers several opportunities for parents to actively engage in their child’s therapeutic process. In addition to Open Sky’s already robust menu of services, families have access to six parent coaching sessions. Early adolescent program director Liz Lucarelli, who has extensive experience working with kids ages 12-14 and their families, facilitates each of these sessions. Parents also have two phone calls with their child during their stay at Open Sky. Liz and the EA therapist work closely together as a team with each family to support greater parent child communication and connection. Engaging the entire family is foundational to the work we do at Open Sky. We are proud to offer a family systems approach that is developmentally appropriate for both early adolescents and their families.


Meet Hunter King

Lead Family Care Coordinator, Early Adolescents  

Hunter has been a member of the Open Sky team for five years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role. As the first point of contact for all early adolescent families, she helps families navigate the transition into wilderness therapy.  

“I am looking forward to supporting families of our new early adolescents,” Hunter said. “I hope to bring a sense of stability for parents by being readily available as their administrative resource throughout their journeys at Open Sky.”  



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