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Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness Therapy Programs

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In 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy opened its doors in Durango, Colorado, with the mission of inspiring individuals to live in a way that honors values and strengthens relationships. Since the beginning, we have been driven by our core values of courage, community, and excellence. 

After more than a decade of operations, Open Sky has worked with thousands of students and family members, inspired by the belief that all people have the capacity to thrive. We chose Durango as home because of its proximity to the spectacular beauty of the San Juan Mountains and the canyon country of southeastern Utah where we conduct our field operations. With white-capped mountain peaks in the summer and warm desert sun in the winter, there is no better place to experience the power of nature to heal and reestablish one’s sense of purpose. 

Before starting Open Sky, founder and CEO Aaron Fernandes worked in outdoor education and wilderness therapy. He witnessed incredible transformations resulting from spending time in nature and even suggested wilderness therapy treatment to his brother, who was struggling. That experience had a profound impact, giving Aaron a unique perspective on the critical role of family involvement in the treatment process. 

At the time, however, the typical wilderness model involved sending the child to a program where he or she would be “fixed” and returned to the parents. Aaron realized that parent involvement was crucial to effective treatment and long-term success. 

Born from this inspiration, Open Sky transcends traditional wilderness treatment therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family—not just the adolescent or young adult. 

We are committed to continuing our leadership in family-centered treatment by providing unparalleled family programming.

Open Sky further innovated on traditional wilderness therapy treatment by incorporating a holistic treatment model focused on the body, mind, heart, and soul. 

Our students experience physical health through hiking and outdoor living while eating a balanced menu of the highest quality whole foods and organic fruits and vegetables. On a deeper level, we guide our students through daily practices of yoga and mindfulness meditation, teaching them to separate the mind, body, and soul and to work at transforming the individual as a whole.

We have employed empirically-validated research to measure the success of our treatment program since our inception. 

Unlike any other wilderness treatment program, Open Sky collects research on every student to ensure that our service is quantitatively proven effective. 

When enrolled, students are experiencing a level of distress on par with their peers who are being hospitalized. 

After Open Sky, their level of distress is similar to that of a typical adolescent or young adult.

As the first Accredited Wilderness Therapy Program through a partnership of the Association of Experiential Education and the Outdoor Behavioral Council, Open Sky is at the forefront of wilderness treatment therapy. 

We are dedicated to advancing the field and adhering to the highest standards, ethics, and risk-management practices. Our success is directly related to staying true to our vision by providing the most innovative, holistic, clinically sophisticated, and family-centered wilderness treatment therapy experience available. 

In our second decade, we remain inspired by that vision. Our staff and organization are driven by why we do what we do: to activate the potential of the human spirit, knowing that all people have the capacity to thrive. 

Through Open Sky, our students and their families develop skills for lasting success. 

We are called Open Sky because we believe in the potential of human beings.  We believe we are all like the open sky: beautiful, infinite, and ever-changing.  

No matter what may enter the sky, be it the sun or the stars, rain or clouds, everything passes. There is always a new day for infinite possibilities. 


In 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy opened its doors in Durango, Colorado, with the mission of inspiring individuals to live in a way that honors values and strengthens relationships.

Contact Information

Offering Name
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Ownership Type
Private Company - Owners On-Site
Social Profiles
Contact
Tere Snodgrass
Phone
970-759-8324
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City
Durango
State
Colorado
Country
United States

About the Offering

Ages Accepted
Pre-Teen Teen Young Adult Older Adult
Genders Accepted
Female Male LGBTQ+
Maximum Enrollment
72
Average Length of Stay
10 weeks
Insurance Accepted?
No
Financial Aid or Scholarship Available?
Yes
College prep available?
No
Is this offering a non-profit?
No
Personal Quote/motto:
In 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy opened its doors in Durango, Colorado, with the mission of inspiring individuals to live in a way that honors values and strengthens relationships.

Company Details

Year Established
2006
Other areas of specialization
ADHD (Attention-Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder) Adoption / Attachment Alcohol & Drug Abuse Anger Issues Anxiety Depression Behavioral Issues Defiance / Non Compliance Executive Functioning Family Dysfunction Issues Gender Identity Disorder / Gender Dysphoria Grief and Loss Impulse Control Learning Disabilities Low Self-Esteem Mood Disorders Motivational Difficulties NLD (Non Verbal Learning Disability) OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Personal Growth PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Relationship Struggles School Avoidance & Refusal Social Difficulties Transitioning to Adulthood Suicidal Ideation Trauma Wilderness Therapy
Accepted Forms of Payments
Bank Transfer, Check, Credit Card
Accreditations
State Licensed
Professional Associations
American Healthcare Lending, NATSAP, OBH, Sky's the Limit Fund

Client Testimonials

Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Articles


Open Sky is thrilled to welcome Shannon Weaver, LCSW to our team as Clinical Outreach Director!

Shannon brings a wealth of experience and skills to her new role.  She is a licensed clinical social worker... View More


Earn College Credits at Open Sky and Reimburse a Portion of Program Expenses Using College Savings

Earn College Credits at Open Sky and Reimburse a Portion of Program Expenses Using College Savings When registered... View More


Open Sky Welcomes Addy Ho to the Clinical Team

Please join us in welcoming Addy Ho, MA, LPC to Open Sky as Clinical Therapist for adolescent girls! Addy has... View More


HEALING THROUGH SELF-AWARENESS: TREATING COMPLEX CLINICAL ISSUES IN WILDERNESS

MAURA NOLAN, LPC, ACMHC, NCC | CLINICAL THERAPIST As a clinical therapist at Open Sky, I frequently... View More


Open Sky offers young adult students opportunity to earn college credits and reimburse program expenses using college savings

Open Sky Wilderness Therapy is excited to announce that we are partnering with Western Colorado University to... View More


Open Sky Launches New Program for Early Adolescents, Ages 12-14

Enrollment scheduled to begin June 1  Open Sky is excited to introduce a new program focused on providing... View More


OPEN SKY PARTNERS WITH CROW CANYON ARCHAEOLOGICAL CENTER

Education Director, Melia Snyder, Ph.D., is proud to announce the launch of Open Sky’s partnership with... View More


Expanding services at Open Sky Wilderness to help families thrive!

Expanding services to help families thrive! With the new year comes new possibilities and opportunities for learning! ... View More


Academics at Open Sky: Outdoor Classroom Offers Unparalleled Opportunities for Learning

AUGUST 28TH, 2020 ACADEMICS AT OPEN SKY MELIA SNYDER, PHD, LPC, REAT | CLINICAL THERAPIST | ADOLESCENT GIRLS... View More


Adapting to a Changing World

Persevering in the face of adversity is core to the work we do in the wilderness. It is no different as we navigate... View More


AN OUTDOOR, INDOOR, AND ONLINE GUIDE TO EXPERIENCING NATURE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

This article about getting outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic was written with consideration of state and federal... View More


MEETING THE NEEDS OF FAMILIES IN CRISIS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

As an organization committed to health and healing, Open Sky would like to take a moment to share the heightened... View More


Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Researchs


Since our inception in 2006, Open Sky has collected data every year in the study of our outcomes.

Since our inception in 2006, Open Sky has collected data every year in the study of our outcomes.  Our empirical... View More


Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Job Listings


Posted 04/17/2020 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Part-Time
Seasonal and Part-Time Position Clinical Therapist at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Seasonal and Part-Time Position Clinical Therapist at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness

Seasonal and Part-Time Positions The following position may become open seasonally based on our staffing needs.... View More


Posted 04/17/2020 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Part-Time
Seasonal and Part-Time Family Services Therapist at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Seasonal and Part-Time Family Services Therapist at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

Seasonal and Part-Time Positions The following position may become open seasonally based on our staffing needs.... View More


Posted 04/17/2020 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Full-Time
Field Positions at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Field Positions at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

We are currently accepting applications for our May orientation, which will be held May 18-29, 2020.  To... View More


Posted 04/17/2020 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Full-Time
Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse/APRN at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse/APRN at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness

Seeking passionate medical providers to be part of Open Sky’s holistic and integrative treatment team. Open... View More


Posted 04/15/2020 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Full-Time
Health Director at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Health Director at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

The Health Director is responsible for overseeing the health and wellness of students in the field utilizing individual... View More


Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Photo Albums


Posted 03/28/2022 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

Open Sky is founded in the tradition of Humanism, which holds the belief that all humans are basically good and with... View More


Posted 08/09/2020 by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

Open Sky assists teens, young adults, and families struggling with difficult challenges and life circumstances. ... View More


Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Videos


Sebastiaan Zuidweg, MA, LPC | Clinical Director & Therapist | Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Durango, CO, USA

Sebastiaan Zuidweg grew up in Washington state where he cultivated a strong connection to nature and adventure activity... Click for More


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