First Light Field Team
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.
Theresa Hasting, MA, LPC-S, LMHC, SP
Theresa Hasting received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from McMurry University in 2003 and earned her Masters of Arts degree in Family Psychology from Hardin Simmons University in 2005. Theresa has been a licensed counselor since 2007 and practiced in a wide variety of mental health settings. She is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Theresa specializes in working with students with trauma histories, grief and loss, and attachment difficulties. She approaches her work from a depth psychology perspective and works with clients to understand and heal the roots of their pain rather than focusing solely on symptom management.
Theresa has extensive training in trauma informed care; examining the impact that trauma and stress have on a person’s neurochemistry, brain development, attachment style, cognitions and behaviors. She is a Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Educator, a registered Sandplay Practitioner, and National Trainer for Nurturing Parenting Programs®. There is also trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and EMDR. Theresa tends to utilize a holistic approach to working with students, working with somatic experiences through mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and regulating activities; utilizing evidence based modalities to address emotional and cognitive difficulties; and addressing underlying intrapersonal and interpersonal systems. Theresa enjoys working with family systems and helping families work on new, healthier means of interaction.
Prior to joining the New Vision team, Theresa worked in an outdoor behavior health program for 5 years where she provided individual therapy to adolescent clients and their families. Theresa has expertise in developing training for staff and families on Trauma Informed Care topics, Nurturing Parenting®, and Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI) principles. She also has experience as a clinician for adolescents and adults in psychiatric settings. Theresa has worked with youth and adults who have experienced physical and sexual abuse, attachment trauma, adjustment issues, depression, anxiety, emotional and behavioral dysregulation, substance abuse issues, psychosis, and interpersonal conflict. Theresa has presented at many state and national conferences. She is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and Sandplay Therapists of America (STA).
Nicholas Pellitteri, BS
The power of nature and the transformative experiences that occur there have always been evident to Nick. He started recreating outside as a child in his home state of Wisconsin and by age 14 spent his full summers working a variety of outdoor jobs. Despite his love of home, the draw of the woods and far away adventures kept Nick traveling and working at a variety of camps, trail crews, and anywhere he could breathe the fresh air and explore new forests, rivers and mountains.
After finishing his degree in Forestry and Recreation Resource Management at the University of Wisconsin Nick moved to Utah to work in wilderness therapy. Over his nearly seven years there he honed his skills in therapy, staff development and program leadership finding ways to help youth and young adults grow, first as a field staff and later as a field director.
In 2014 Nick made a switch to the non-profit world to help improve access to the outdoors for people of all abilities and socioeconomic statuses. He continued to grow as an industry leader in experiential and adventure education before his love of wilderness therapy drew him back to join the NVW team.
Zach Pratt, BS
Zach grew up in central Missouri, spending his days on the river or in the woods. He attended Missouri State University, where he studied conservation and anthropology. After he graduated, Zach moved to Asheville, North Carolina. He was looking for a job that lined up with his area of study and came across wilderness therapy. After one week in the field, he knew that this was his passion. He spent four and a half years working as a field instructor. He had to hang his boots up due to the birth of his son. He then transitioned to working with Calo in Lake Ozark, MO. Zach continued working directly with students, and eventually moved into the Neurotherapy department. He worked as a Neurotherapy technician for over three years, helping students calm their nervous system and train their brains to operate more efficiently when under stress. He is very excited to continue to work with Embark Behavioral Health and get back to his roots with First Light Wilderness. In his off time he enjoys being a family man, going for hikes, reading, riding his bike and being outside.
Stephanie Lewis, BA
Stephanie brings 10 years of Wilderness Therapy experience with her to the New Vision team. She began as a field staff before moving into the office to support parents during their child’s time in the woods. She has spent the past 7 years in admissions connecting with parents and supporting them through what can be a challenging and emotional process and is passionate about helping families find the help they need.
Prior to her time in wilderness, Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from New Mexico State University. She spent time teaching in South Korea and traveling the United States as a tour guide. Stephanie is an avid reader and enjoys spending time outside with her son and husband.
Lacey grew up in Southern Missouri where she developed a love of the outdoors. She followed this passion, and spent over three years working in an outdoor therapeutic wilderness program as a Senior Field Instructor. While there, she mentored under a respected trauma therapist in a young adult and adolescent girls group. After Lacey’s time in the woods she transitioned into the role of Parent Coordinator, where she created lasting relationships with parents and referral partners. In 2016, Lacey accepted a role with Calo Teens and Preteens where she flourished in the admissions department, advancing to a Senior Admissions Coordinator. After spending four years with Calo, she transitioned to New Vision Wilderness. Lacey is a Wilderness First Responder and has over a decade of outdoor leadership experience. Lacey lives in the Blue Ridge mountains with her partner and their two boys, Harvey and Arthur, and their dog, Tuesday. The family often create their own outdoor adventures.
Emilio Acosta is a graduate of Georgia State with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He is passionate about working with youth. Emilio has worked with students of varying abilities, ranging from reading disabilities to Tourette’s syndrome. He is an avid backpacker and a lover of the outdoors.
Ben Bookout is a Colorado native and lover of the outdoors. He enjoys engaging with nature through photography, climbing, rafting, camping and backpacking. Ben is excited to share his rich and varied background and love of wilderness with the students of New Vision.
Hanna Brooks grew up in North Caroline and spent several years majoring in psychology from UNC and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most recently, Hanna pursued environmental education/trail stewardship in Massachusetts and wilderness therapy at NVW Northwoods. What draws her into the field of wilderness therapy is utilizing empathy and supporting youth along their therapeutic journeys in a calm wilderness setting. In her spare time, you’ll find Hanna hiking, jamming to music, drawing, and spending quality time with friends.
Maureen Fitzgerald is a strong woman who believes the benefits of nature can provide growth and development in all aspects of our everyday lives. Nature/wilderness have provided her with so much patience, love, kindness and compassion that she feels determined to keep that fire burning! Maureen loves cooking, horses, and playing music. Maureen’s motto: let’s make this world a better place with one person at a time!
Raquel Leal is an outdoor enthusiast and has been in the recreation industry since 2015. She enjoys helping people of all ability levels and providing exposure to the outdoors. She has been passionate about inclusion ever since her first summer camp counselor/care giver position at Camp Red Leaf. After completing her bachelor’s degree at Western Illinois University in RPTA (Recreation, Parks and Tourism), she has been looking for ways to help introduce the wilderness to others that haven’t had the accessibility to it. She enjoys canoeing, kayaking, and hiking as leisure activities. She also has a love for all animals and hope to adopt a dog one day!
Erik Matlock is a husband, father and grandfather with a wide variety of skills from several industries and a Georgia native. He’s been involved with children and youth mentoring since the early 90s.
Steven Nutt is from the north suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and has a passion for helping all types of people in an outdoor setting. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration and a double minor in communication and outdoor leadership. Steve has worked in the outdoor industry for seven years with experience in guiding wilderness expeditions, directing outdoor recreation program for at-risk youth and people with developmental disabilities as well as after school programs and summer camps. In his off time, Steve loves to canoe, kayak, car camp, travel and find live music.
Shannon Poulos grew up playing and exploring the forests and rivers of northern Illinois. She quickly recognized the impact the woods had on her life and how important spending time in the wilderness is. After graduating from Carroll University, Shannon took her degree in clinical psychology and began her journey in wilderness therapy. She moved down to the Blue Ridge Mountains and has been facilitating growth and healing in the Southern Appalachian wilderness for some time.
Josh Prince has spent most of his life in North Carolina and is currently pursuing a Master's in Social Work at Appalachian State University. Josh developed a deep appreciation for nature while studying Geology as an undergraduate. While teaching high school science a few years ago, he realized that his true passion is working with young people in behavioral health settings. When not working, Josh enjoys golfing, cooking, fishing, working on cars, traveling, and hiking.
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