Emily Fritz BS, MS, CTRS
Position: Experiential Services Director
Emily is an Iowa native that now calls the northwoods of Wisconsin home. As an undergraduate, Emily double majored in exercise science and human performance and fitness, then went on to pursue her masters in recreation, park and tourism administration with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. Emily fell in love with working outside during graduate school while managing a challenge course and climbing tower at Horn Field Campus. Emily’s graduate course work also led her on a variety of other adventures including backpacking a section of the Ozark Trail in Missouri and sea kayaking in the Apostle Islands. After working as a Recreation Therapy Intern at Lurie Children’s Hospital inpatient psychiatric unit, Emily knew she needed to get back outside. New Vision Wilderness Therapy was the perfect fit combining the population of students she loved serving and being outside. Emily is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist and is passionate about incorporating this skill set into her time with students in the woods and educating students through experiential activities. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, paddling, traveling and spending time with family, friends and her dog Diesel.
David Puhl, BS
Position: Program Director
David is a Wisconsin native, born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. Nature and the outdoors have always been a part of David’s life and have helped shape him as a person. David initially went to college for biology but quickly realized that his passion was in the outdoors and facilitating growth for individuals. David graduated with a degree in Wildlife Ecology and German from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. After graduating David spent two years in West Africa with Peace Corps Senegal where he worked as an Environmental Education volunteer spending much of his time working with local teachers on techniques to adjust their lesson plans to make subjects more applicable to the students’ lives and was an integral support in the annual regional youth leadership camp. David is grateful to continue be able to support exploration and the creation of positive outdoor experiences for the students served by New Vision Wilderness Therapy. Outside of work, David can be found exploring new places with his dogs Kéba, and spending time with friends.
Ben Koch, MSc
Position: Operations Director
Ben’s interest in working and teaching outdoors began while studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his undergraduate years, he became involved with the Hoofers Outing club and spent his summers in the outdoors, first working with young kids at local summer camps and then leading international trips for high schoolers in Fiji, Switzerland and Tanzania. After graduating with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, he decided to follow his passion for working with kids in the outdoors full-time, working as an outdoor education instructor for school programs and then returning to school to get a MSc in Outdoor Education, as well as getting certified as a Wilderness First Responder. Ben uses his knowledge and experiences to help others reconnect to nature and better understand our dependence on the world around us. In his free time, Ben is an avid backpacker who has hiked the entire west coast of Scotland, the Haute route in Switzerland, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. He also enjoys other outdoor pursuits, including skiing, kayaking and climbing, as well as cooking, play board games with friends, and reading a good book by a fire.
Dr. Ryan Patterson
Position: Medical Director
Ryan Paterson attended the University of Vermont School of Medicine and completed his Emergency Medicine Residency and Fellowship in Wilderness/Altitude/Expedition Medicine at Denver Health Medical Center/the University of Colorado, USA. He also holds advanced certifications in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) and in Mountain Medicine (DiMM). He is a practicing, board-certified Emergency Physician for Kaiser Permanente at St Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, USA, and associate professor at the University of Colorado in the Department of Emergency Medicine section of Wilderness, Environmental and Expedition Medicine.
In leisure, Ryan loves to spend time outdoors with his spouse and two children. He is an avid traveler, climber, and a former distance athlete.
Dr. Paterson is the founder and director of Emergency Medical Providers (EMP) a leader in the provision of remote medical support and expedition medical direction. Ryan is co-founder and former director for the Wilderness Medical Society Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) course. Ryan also has significant experience in large-race/event medical management. He serves as medical director for GlobalLimits and has medically-directed multiple GlobalLimits events. He is the current United States delegate to the International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM). Ryan founded the FLuME foundation and serves as medical director for Kolkata City Mission (KCM) working through both organizations to establish sustainable development solutions in education, health, women’s empowerment, micro-enterprise, and public-health for informal communities in and around Kolkata, India. Combining all of his training and passion, Dr. Paterson has worked in Disaster Relief efforts in both post-earthquake Nepal and with the UN in Iraq. Additionally, Dr. Paterson is an altitude researcher, expedition physician, mountain emergency medicine educator, and guide.
Position: Executive Director - NVW Northwoods
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Kaci worked in health care for 15 years in Emergency Medicine and Cardiology. As her two sons entered High School, she began looking for a deeper connection to the service industry. Honored to be part of the development of a new University of Wisconsin collaborative program, Kaci continued her education in Community Health and Wellness. With her extensive knowledge of the medical environment and passion for the outdoors, wilderness therapy became the perfect fit. Finding New Vision Wilderness has allowed her to bring her outdoor adventures to work right here in the north woods.
Steve Sawyer, LCSW CSAC
Position: Clinical Director/Co-Founder
Steve Sawyer is a licensed psychotherapist filled with passion and knowledge surrounding the intervention and change process. His experience comes from over a decade of intervention with tough-to-reach client populations in therapy settings ranging from residential, community-based, outpatient and wilderness therapy. Steve currently serves on the board of The National Association of Therapeutic Wilderness Camping (NATWC).
Steve is trained in several unique therapeutic models including somatic trigger release, multiple levels of brainspotting, traumatic memory reprocessing, and HeartMath. Through his experience he has authored two books, co-founded Wisconsins only wilderness therapy program, New Vision Wilderness, and works as a core therapeutic training development staff with the Institute of HeartMath. He was an author in the innovative and comprehensive HeartMath Interventions Establishing a New Baseline for Sustained Behavioral Change therapist training Module that revolutionizes modern therapy interventions through an emotional physiology approach.
Steves largest project has been the development of NVWs Trauma Informed Care model in the wilderness setting that has challenged the entire wilderness therapy industry on making healthier interventions with their clients. Steve’s trainings are recognized nationwide for cutting-edge therapeutic techniques and inspiration.
Drew Hornbeck, BA
Drew Hornbeck, CEO/President/Co-founder of NVW was born and raised in Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Drew launched a 20-year career in adventure and wilderness therapy. Drew has worked in a variety of academic and therapeutic settings across the U.S. In addition to overseeing all aspects of NVW, Drew currently serves as the Membership Committee Chair for the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH), as well serves on the Oregon Outdoor Youth Program (OYP) Advisory Council. Drew has spoken at national conferences on topics ranging from wilderness risk management to mental health. Drew champions the strong culture at NVW, with a focus on empathy, leadership, and best in class services and practices. Drew is proud to collaborate with such an amazing team of professionals at NVW and considers it a privilege to serve children and families. When not at work, Drew enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters.
Position: Admissions Director
Patrick McAvoy is the Admissions Director at New Vision Wilderness Therapy. Throughout his career Patrick has helped adolescents and their families find solutions in times of crisis.
Patrick has a bachelor’s degree in Management of Music and Communications from Ohio University. He began his work in wilderness therapy providing care and field coordination to students entering treatment. Since then he has served in Admissions Director, Program Director, and Executive Director roles. Patrick has additional experience in admissions at a therapeutic boarding school and was a founding member of two treatment programs for at-risk teens.
In his free time, Patrick can be found outdoors hiking, kayaking, and skiing with his family. He is a bass player who dreams of one day starting a family band with his wife and two kids.
Kim Kraschnewski, BS
Position: Office Manager
Kim is a Wisconsin native that grew up in the southern part of the state before attending the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, where she graduated with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Kim came to New Vision Wilderness Therapy with a wealth of administrative experience, having worked as an administrative assistant for her father’s company for more than ten years, as well working in a clerical role in an outpatient clinic within a hospital setting. Kim loves helping people in any way that she can, even if it just means brightening someone’s day by making them laugh. Kim is very family oriented and cares deeply for the sense of community and family created at New Vision Wilderness Therapy. She appreciates that New Vision works with the entire family system, repairing broken relationships and teaching students to create and maintain healthy connections with friends and family. Outside of work you can find Kim fostering her own community of family and friends with her husband and dog. Kim also enjoys spending time out in the Northwoods; snowmobiling, side-by-side riding, watching her husband play baseball, swimming, waterskiing, and boating.
Position: HR Director
Amy Drasch came to NVW with a wealth of knowledge in operating a successful office environment. She has spent most of her career working in the corporate world with FedEx Office and H&R Block. For over 15 years, she has successfully managed office environments, and has extensive knowledge in human resources, accounting, administration, customer service, and logistics. Amy is a volunteer for the Red Cross, and served as a Police Reserve Unit for the city of Brookfield. Amy is a wife and mother of three, and has an affinity for riding motorcycle. She uses this hobby to travel, visit historical markers, and photograph her adventures. Amy is excited to be part of the NVW team and really enjoys helping connect parents and professionals to NVW services, the philosophy, and culture.