Leap of Faith
“Our certifications give the students opportunities to learn and see what they’re interested in and also go out and get jobs once they graduate,” says David Saldana, an expedition field instructor with more than 16 years of experience. “There is no other program that does that.”
Launching into Life
By the time Anne Norris and her husband arrived in Utah for a personalized family expedition, Kyla had changed. “She looked great,” Anne recalls. “She was not anxious. She was open and honest. She was calm. She was happy. She was ready to soar.”
During this intensive weekend, family members opened up, sharing feelings and perceptions they had not shared before. This challenged each person to show vulnerability and to be honest and connect in ways they never knew were achievable. Kyla talked about what she learned while reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and her newfound love for rock climbing. The therapeutic tools gained help her process her emotions and further embrace her passion for nature.
“Once young people are inspired and excited, once they can see that they can achieve, they really catch fire,” Wilson says. “Through this experience of engaging and connecting with your passions, you begin to see what holds you back and can finally see real solutions and succeed.”
Today, Kyla is pursuing higher education at a large public research institution, studying mechanical engineering as well as earth and environmental science. “Expedition Therapy has transformed my life,” she says. “I feel like a totally different person. I learned that I’m insanely resilient. If we were climbing a rock, I wouldn’t get off until I got to the top. It was hard, but I would just do it.”
“I also learned that you get to decide your own experience in life,” Kyla says. “Are you going to be happy or negative? Are you going to be concerned with something you can’t change, or are you going to move on? While I was backpacking, I had blisters all over my feet. Am I going to think, ‘Wow, this is awful.’ Or am I going to look around and see the beauty of where I am’?”
*Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.