The Field Team includes outdoor experts with an array of professional and personal experience. Wilderness specialists bring expertise in safety, compassion for struggling youth, enthusiasm for utilizing the outdoors as a catalyst for positive change, and are the core of the team. They frequently bring creative use of natural resources to individualized interventions.
Dan Plaisance, BA
Dan Plaisance graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Prior to his work in Wilderness Therapy Dan did three terms in Americorps building trails and living and working in a group setting in Alaska, Colorado and Texas. He also spent 9 months living in Tanzania teaching high school math. Dan has been involved in the Wilderness Therapy Industry for over 4 years. He started as a Field Instructor in our North Woods program and now resides as our Field Director in our West Coast Office. Dan believes in the power of the Wilderness; to inspire change, and loves the relationships that he has formed with both the clients and the staff. When he is not working Dan loves to be in the woods. He hikes, kayaks, canoes, hunts, fishes and enjoys time with friends and family around a campfire.
Rachel Grimm, BS
Rachel graduated from UW Milwaukee with a degree in Community Education and a focus on therapeutic work. During college, she was also a full time athlete on the diving team. For the past five years, Rachel has worked with many children with disabilities as a line therapist for kids with autism and also as a volunteer for special education classrooms and horse therapy programs. Rachel took courses with her dog to achieve therapy dog certification. They visited nursing homes to help raise the spirits of those who need it most. Rachel is excited to be continuing her journey here at NVW and in her free time, she enjoys fishing, horseback riding, skiing, hiking, and going to the movies.
Russ Shy, BS
Assistant Field Director
Russ Shy graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a degree of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism. He is a First Aid and CPR certified as well as AASI level 1 ski and snowboard certified. Russ is well-traveled and has spent time in Mexico, Central Oregon, Canada, Fiji, and most recently New Zealand. And avid recreationalist, on his off shifts you may find Russ skiing, snowboarding, climbing, biking, surfing, or fishing. His goal is to climb the five highest peaks in the Northern Cascade Region.
Steve Goulding, BS
Steve was raised in Michigan and attended college along the icy shores of Lake Superior at Northern Michigan University. He graduated with honors and a degree in Earth Science Secondary Education, accompanied with minors in Biology Secondary Education and Music. Among many other things, he was the president of an adventure club, rescue diver and dive master for university scuba courses, and a camp counselor for NMU’s summer camp programming. Steve’s involvement with Northern Michigan University and the Marquette community led to his nomination as NMU’s Outstanding Graduating Senior 2014. After teaching and backpacking in New Zealand, Steve moved to the Pacific Northwest in search for new mountain bike trails, rock climbing routes, and fresh snow. Once joining the New Vision Wilderness west coast team, Steve worked a summer season as a Wilderness Instructor before transitioning into the roles of Education Specialist and Director of Community Integration and Adventure. Steve currently carries teaching licenses in Michigan and Oregon, as well as an irrefutable enthusiasm towards working with adolescents and young adults in the wilderness.
Laura Murphy, BA, BS, 200hr RYT, 40hr TCTSY
TCTSY Yoga Facilitator, Administrative Assistant
Laura serves as New Vision Wilderness West Coast’s Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Facilitator, as well as Administrative Support Staff. She received dual degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Dance and Conservation Biology, and is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher. During her 10 years as a professional dancer, she helped to create and perform over 30 original works with Wild Space Dance Co., specializing in site-specific work, performing in parking garages, underneath bridges, off the sides of old industrial chimneys, on sailboats, in rivers, museums, parks, breweries, as well as traditional stages. She also performed internationally with the Warszawski Teatr Tanca, out of Warsaw PL, touring Poland and Japan. Laura served as an Artist-in-Residence at Lawrence University, teaching Ballet, Modern Dance, and Movement Fundamentals and also started several of her own yoga classes, teaching in parks and backyards along Lake Michigan. She has also worked in Yosemite National Park as a Backcountry Ranger and as a Canoe Outfitter in the BWCA. She feels that she has successfully combined many of these interests here at NVW through TCTSY.
Krystin N, AA
Krystin grew up in Central Oregon and spent the last few years pursuing a degree in tourism and outdoor leadership. In her spare time she does a lot of backpacking, fishing, swimming and spending time with family and friends. Before coming to new vision wilderness, she volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in the children and teens programs. She also holds a Wilderness First Responder certification.
Sarah S, BS
YETI Wilderness Instructor
Sarah graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in International Eco-tourism and Outdoor Leadership. She also holds a Wilderness First Responder certification and is trained in CPR. Sarah was born and raised in the woods of Michigan where, at an early age, she discovered her passion for adventure and playing in nature. Since her first job at age 15 as a ski instructor, she has continued working with people in the outdoors as a snowboard coach, raft guide, mountain bike coach, challenge course instructor, and student adventure trip leader through her college program. Sarah believes in the natural healing power of the wilderness and loves to be a part of a community inspired to change which has led her into the field of wilderness therapy.
YETI Field Specialist
Who's got four years guiding experience,
two thumbs, and a college degree? This Guy! While studying philosophy at Azusa Pacific University, Jeff also completed a year long outdoor leadership program. This marked the beginning of his personal and professional endeavors into the world of outdoors. After graduating two years later with the Outstanding Senior Award, Jeff spent the next two years guiding and traveling the country rock climbing. Feeling satisfied having completed a number of difficult one-day ascents on Yosemite's granite big walls, Jeff
decided it was time to settle down for a little while to do something else he cared deeply about--wilderness therapy!
Lee (Leroy) Giroux, MA,MFTi
Leroy received his BS in Forestry from Southern Illinois University. After working a number of years as a park ranger he found his way into wilderness therapy in Oregon. It was while working in the field that Leroy discovered his life’s passion, to help adolescents and young adults build the courage to go within themselves and find their true self, while learning healthy coping skills to handle the challenges of young adulthood, assertive communication skills, and resources to help them maintain their sobriety. After working for 2 ½ years as a Senior Field Instructor he moved into a Mentor and Outdoor Director position with a young adult transition program in southern Oregon. Having gained experience working with young adults returning from the wilderness and applying the skills they learned in the woods, Leroy took a year to travel on his motorcycle before returning the woods with wilderness therapy program in Georgia for the next year. He made the choice to attend graduate school at California Institute of Integral Studies, receiving his Masters in Counseling Psychology with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy. Leroy is passionate about working with young adults and adolescents in the wilderness setting. He draws upon a variety of therapeutic modalities, Gestalt, Transpersonal, CBT and DBT techniques, Relational, Family Systems, to help him meet the client where they are.
In his spare time Leroy enjoys woodworking, reading, meditation, motorcycle rides, backpacking and hiking, and spending time with friends, family and his dog Sid.
Daniel W, BS
Academics and Adventure Education
Danny hails from the northern suburbs of Chicago. Danny grew up camping, paddling, and backpacking all throughout the Great Lakes region. He attended school at Northwestern University and graduated with a B.S. in Education and Social Policy with a concentration in history and social sciences. Danny worked in Chicago with high school students for many years as a teacher and a swimming coach. After spending a summer travelling throughout Europe, Danny moved out to Bend in pursuit of higher mountains and more challenging bike rides. Danny joined New Vision where the company’s mission instantly resonated with him. After working for 9 months as a Wilderness Instructor, Danny transitioned into his current role as Educational Specialist and Adventure Education Coordinator. Danny is a certified teacher and loves using the wilderness as classroom to foster learning in young people.
Allie graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in biochemistry and psychology with a focus on neuroscience. She also holds a Master’s degree in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. Allie moved out west to pursue further opportunities for clinical experience that focus on mental health. She is excited to work with New Vision because their focus on community support and effort for improvement align with her values. Allie looks forward to incorporating her love for adventure and the outdoors with her experience in avocation and working with youth.
Hannah Gaddini is a northern California native, who is currently exploring her love affair with the mountains in Bend, Oregon. She grew up in a family that didn’t camp, and went backpacking in Yosemite for the first time at age 20. She may have cried for the first hour, but by the end, that experience was so transformative in her own life, that she has been absolutely hooked ever since! Hannah went on to guide hiking, climbing, and backpacking trips for her university in Southern California, in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, and in the Ansel Adams and Yosemite backcountry. She is passionate about facilitating backcountry experiences for students who have no previous wilderness exposure, and specifically for women finding new levels of courage and autonomy in and through nature. When she’s not working in the woods, you can find her climbing at Smith, discovering new trails to run, or trying different flavors at her favorite gelato spot.
Phil Houston, BA
Phil comes from the great land of Memphis, Tennessee. Phil found his love for the outdoors when he left for college at Harding University. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in December of 2015, and since then he has been spending his summers guiding backpacking trips on the mountains of Southern Colorado. After graduating, he spent 3 months on the Appalachian Trail where he discovered his passion for sharing his outdoor experiences with others as a career. He has been with NVW since September of 2016. He is a Wilderness First Responder with several years of guiding under his belt. While Phil isn't working, you can find him skiing, kayaking, watching Tennessee football, or looking at pictures of pugs.
Julia was raised in upstate New York, went to college in Nashville, has lived in Colorado as well as Chile, and currently calls Bend home. She spent most of her childhood days outside and still does. Julia enjoys plants, live music, road trips, adrenaline rushes, yoga, and having friends over for breakfast. Before New Vision, Julia worked as a backpacking guide in the Rockies and holds a Bachelors degree in social entrepreneurship and a CPR certification. Julia has experienced personal life-change through the outdoors and loves people and this combination has lead her to New Vision Wilderness Therapy!
Jeff is a graduate of Western Michigan University, having majored in Secondary English Education with a minor in Communications. Following his graduation, Jeff worked at a residential wilderness school in Virginia; a place where he found endless value in the non-traditional learning environment, both academically and therapeutically. He then went on to work as a teacher in alternative education in both mainstream and specialized schools. Valuing growth through experience, Jeff has always chased challenges for self and others. A large portion of Jeff's free time is spent creating music, reading, and traveling. Although he finds comfort in familiar faces and places, Jeff's ultimate goal is to constantly expand his perspective.
Casey graduated from The University of La-Crosse Wisconsin with a degree in Recreation Management. After college Casey worked developing nature programs for inner city youth in Waukegan, IL. His love for nature also led him into the field of environmental restoration where he worked on improving the quality of Wisconsin's native grasslands. Casey started working at New Vision Wilderness in 2014 and has been enjoying sharing his love of the great outdoors ever since. In the summer 2016 he backpacked John Muir Trail in California and has continued exploring everything the wild west has to offer.
Jackie Currie, MA
Jackie grew up in a small town in Central Illinois, spending her time after school exploring the woods with her Alaskan Malamute, watching woodland creatures from deer stands, and letting the sun, colored leaves, and snow fall on her from the forest floor. She has always found peace and healing in the outdoors, and still spends most of her free time outside. She loves hiking, eating brunch, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying a book with some tea while laying in the grass. Jackie holds an MA in Human Development Counseling and has a passion for young adults dealing with hurting family relationships, adjustment related issues, and trauma.
Miles J, BA
Wilderness Field Specialist
Miles calls the northern shores of Lake Tahoe his home. His academic pursuits involved a bachelors degree in psychological science and neuroscience from the University of Portland and a conflict resolution immersion program in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While living in Portland, Miles worked with the homeless youth population, in music therapy, and with children experiencing autism. Prior to his role as field specialist, Miles had spent a year guiding with New Vision and sees his position as an opportunity to challenge, validate, and inspire the experience of students and guides alike. Miles' passion is informed by all that is wild, compelling literature, surfing, climbing, cooking, writing music, and good coffee.
Martha originally hails from North Carolina. She received her BA in Performing Arts and Social Justice from the University of San Francisco. She discovered her love of the wilderness by exploring the Sierra Nevada's and the coast of California. After years of backpacking, Martha witnessed the healing power of nature and pursued a MA in Wilderness Therapy from Naropa University, where she studied all things related to trauma. She is now happy to be working at New Vision Wilderness as a field instructor. In her free time, Martha can be found climbing and exploring the mountains.
Becky graduated from Iowa state University with a degree in Child, Adult and Family Services. While studying she was also a full-time student athlete on the swimming and diving team. Becky grew up camping all around Wisconsin and has worked at a YMCA camp the past 5 summers in the Northwoods of Wisconsin going from counselor, to trips assistant, to water ski assistant. She decided to come move to Oregon to pursue a position with New Vision and to get out of the Midwest.
Paige E, BS
Wilderness Field Specialist
Paige was born and raised among the old oaks and golden hills of Northern California. She studied Environmental Science with a focus in forest ecology at UC Davis. She has spent years leading backpacking and camping trips throughout the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains and many summers working with kids at summer camp. She found a passion for therapeutic work when she joined a program that helped at-risk youth experience backpacking, rock climbing, and cross country skiing. Migrating north to Oregon, Paige continues to share her passion for the outdoors at NVW.
Lucas hails from the North Country of Minnesota. He traveled westward to Bellingham, Washington where he attended Western Washington University for a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Cultural Anthropology. He has spent time kayak guiding in the San Juan Islands, working and playing at Mt. Baker Ski Area, cultivating the Earth working on organic farms, teaching outdoor experiential education and exploring all the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Lucas discovered his passion for the outdoors when he was in middle school and had the opportunity to go on a life-changing trip to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota. Since this experience he has been an advocate for everyone to experience true wilderness and the natural healing properties that are inherent in it. Lucas is a firm believer in doing what challenges him and others in order to grow. When he isn’t hanging out in the woods, you can find Lucas biking around Bend, snowboarding, sipping coffee, skateboarding, playing Frisbee golf, surfing, grooving to live music, or cooking up some tasty food.
Michael grew up in Columbus Ohio amid the swaying corn fields peppering the region. He discovered the immense power of the wilderness when he hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon as a sophomore in high school. Since then, Michael has guided a myriad of expeditions into the great unknown as a wilderness therapy field guide in southwest Utah, and currently central Oregon. Michael graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in chemistry and psychology. Taking a short break from wilderness therapy, Michael taught history, civics, literature, and creative writing for a school near Bangalore, India in 2015. Michael enjoys absorbing literature, writing, and the great panoply of outdoor activities available to him in Bend in his free time.
Alexis Worden, BA
Alexis recently graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a BA in psychology and a minor in fine arts. While attending Marquette, she was involved with research pertaining to the LGTBQ+ community and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. She is honored to be working in wilderness therapy and to continue serving others and supporting them through their trauma. Alexis is thrilled to be living in Oregon again after spending a majority of her life in the Midwest. She looks forward to exploring the wild lands of Oregon as well as rock climbing, hiking, and camping throughout the West coast. Alexis is a huge fan of wolves, reading, writing poetry, and drawing. She also loves having interesting conversations with intriguing people.
If you see a girl in the field wearing a visor, it’s probably Sophia. Sophia is originally from the foggy coast of Santa Cruz, California. She spent her years in college studying Sociology and Fine Art. During a semester in the Sierras, Sophia studied outdoor leadership where she was exposed to the healing that the wilderness can bring. She was part of the women’s inaugural 'Ride For Water' team, which cycled across the United States to raise money and awareness for the global water crisis. She spent time living in South Africa and Haiti, volunteering in community development. During her time off, Sophia enjoys cycling, running, drinking hot chocolate, and exploring new hobbies. Sophia is excited to be a part of the radical work of wilderness therapy, and is constantly motivated to continue to grow and learn through relationship based therapy.