Meet the team

Meet the team

The Aspiro Team

Aspiro is dedicated to providing a high level of care to all of our clients. We want you to feel confident that your child is safe and receiving the very best opportunity for change. Our multi-disciplinary treatment team is made up of compassionate and experienced professionals that share a focus of attaining positive outcomes. Please take some time to meet our team members below.

  • All
  • Admissions Team
  • Clinical Team
  • Family Services Team
  • Field Management Team
  • Health and Wellness Team
  • Leadership Team
  • Vantage Point
  • Carl Smoot, PhD
    Carl Smoot, PhD
    Director of Clinical Assessment
  • Jolene McGuire
    Jolene McGuire
    Admissions Director
  • Shannon Weaver, LCSW
    Shannon Weaver, LCSW
    Director of Marketing and Outreach
  • Ryan Coley, LCSW
    Ryan Coley, LCSW
    Executive Director
  • Nathan Barusch, MD
    Nathan Barusch, MD
    Psychiatrist
  • Woody Crowell
    Woody Crowell
    Program Director
  • Rebekah Phipps, ACMHC
    Rebekah Phipps, ACMHC
    Adolescent, Young Adult, and Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Josh Watson, LCSW
    Josh Watson, LCSW
    CMO
  • Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT
    Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT
    CEO
  • Katie Thoma
    Katie Thoma
    CFO
  • Kayleen Richter, PHR
    Kayleen Richter, PHR
    CCO
  • Hannah Eckert, CSW
    Hannah Eckert, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Christopher Tolen, Psy. D.
    Christopher Tolen, Psy. D.
    Vantage Point Males & Females, ages 13-26
  • Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
    Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
    Vantage Point Managing Therapist Males, Ages 13-17
  • Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
    Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
    Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 18-26
  • Janna Dean, LCSW
    Janna Dean, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Noel Koons, CMHC
    Noel Koons, CMHC
    Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17
  • Jamie Ahern, LCSW
    Jamie Ahern, LCSW
    Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17
  • Leigh Uhlenkott, NCC, LMHC
    Leigh Uhlenkott, NCC, LMHC
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Grace Larson, LCSW
    Grace Larson, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Females, Ages 13-26
  • Brandon Johnson, LCSW
    Brandon Johnson, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26
  • Jeff Reyes
    Jeff Reyes
    Vantage Point Program Coordinator
  • Shailee Davis
    Shailee Davis
    Therapist Intern
  • Adam Peterson
    Adam Peterson
    Therapist Intern
  • Carly Sternberg
    Carly Sternberg
    Therapist Intern
  • Emily Long
    Emily Long
    Therapist Intern
  • Lex Curley
    Lex Curley
    Therapist Intern
  • Nick Bolton
    Nick Bolton
    Therapist Intern
  • Mark Widmer, PhD
    Mark Widmer, PhD
    Independent Research Director
  • David Mayeski, LCSW
    David Mayeski, LCSW
    Family Services Director
  • Kate Crowell
    Kate Crowell
    Family Services Coordinator
  • Whitney Fox
    Whitney Fox
    Administrative Assistant
  • Ally Jackson
    Ally Jackson
    Admissions Counselor
  • Leah Shingler
    Leah Shingler
    Admissions Counselor
  • Ryan Schaffer
    Ryan Schaffer
    Admissions Counselor
  • Audrey Stewart
    Audrey Stewart
    Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Kip Swem
    Kip Swem
    Associate Field Director
  • Cassie Ali
    Cassie Ali
    Associate Field Director
  • Tyler Carroll
    Tyler Carroll
    Risk Manager
  • Robert Owen
    Robert Owen
    Operations Manager
  • Kendall George
    Kendall George
    Logistics Manager
  • Scott Shaffer
    Scott Shaffer
    Ropes Specialist
  • Tanner Gray
    Tanner Gray
    Gravity Sports Specialist
  • Stephan Fanale
    Stephan Fanale
    Associate Field Operations Manager
  • Adam Balls, MD
    Adam Balls, MD
    Medical Director
  • Meagan McKean Taylor, FNP-C
    Meagan McKean Taylor, FNP-C
    Associate Medical Director
  • Sarah Sarfaty
    Sarah Sarfaty
    Medical Coordinator
  • Lizzie Madloch
    Lizzie Madloch
    Medical Coordinator

COVID-19 Update

Aspiro Adventure Therapy is continuing to support families through this unprecedented time. We are closely monitoring information related to COVID-19 and have implemented additional safety precautions to mitigate risks. Our enhanced admissions screening and program guidelines are informed by the CDC and Utah department of health. To learn more, contact us at (801) 349-2740.

Carl Smoot, PhD
Director of Clinical Assessment

Carl began working in mental health in 1990 and soon thereafter entered a Ph.D. program in Psychology at the University of Utah. After completing his degree, he supervised three school-based mental health programs around the island of O’ahu. Carl moved back to Salt Lake City because of his love of the outdoors and opportunities to work in wilderness programs completing psychological evaluations. He has an in-depth knowledge of learning and developmental disorders, as well the ways they interact with mental health and other adjustment problems. At Aspiro since 2012, Carl runs a weekly supervision meeting, mentors field guides, consults on difficult cases, and completes psychological evaluations.

Away from work, Carl enjoys fly fishing and duck hunting. He has been married for twenty years to Dr. Tracine Smoot. Together they have three children and one grandchild.

Jolene McGuire
Admissions Director

Jolene Williams comes to Aspiro with close to 20 years of experience in the wilderness programming and education fields. Parents have come to appreciate Jolene’s professional problem solving and communication skills, as well as her insight and compassion. She has mastered the art and skill of conducting a complex orchestra of details involved in helping young people along their paths to improvement. Jolene is a born and raised Southern Idaho native. Growing up on her families’ cattle ranch, a love of the outdoors was fostered. When she is not managing the admissions process at Aspiro, she enjoys hiking, biking, running, and yoga. She is the mother of two young daughters that keep her active in sports and school related functions as well.

Shannon Weaver, LCSW
Director of Marketing and Outreach

Shannon is both an LCSW and a certified teacher who brings over 20 years of experience to Aspiro through her work with families and students as a Primary Therapist, Clinical Director, and Admissions/Marketing Director at highly regarded residential and therapeutic programs. Her clinical experience includes county mental health, hospital crisis work, residential treatment, therapeutic boarding, and private practice. Shannon has traveled the world and lived overseas in Israel, Russia, and China while teaching and providing mental health counseling. Her diverse experience gives her great compassion and understanding as well as an ability to relate to and understand others. Shannon is passionate about helping students and families heal, discover their strengths, build positive relationships, and create meaningful change. She has a very caring approach that is informed by her years as a clinician and she has enjoyed moving from a clinical role to working in marketing and outreach. Her infectious positive energy, genuine enthusiasm, and commitment to helping people has made her a wonderful fit for this role. In her spare time you will find Shannon traveling, reading, or enjoying Utah’s beautiful landscapes with her husband and children.

Ryan Coley, LCSW
Executive Director

Ryan has been a part of the Aspiro team since 2009, and throughout his tenure, he has helped to define and carry out the vision of Aspiro through a passionate dedication to innovation, client care, and customer service. He has done this throughout the various roles he had in the areas of Admissions, Program Development, Primary Therapist, Clinical Director, and Executive Director. These roles contribute to his  broad overview and deep understanding of Aspiro as a whole, allowing him to effectively lead through experience.  Upon beginning his work at Aspiro, Ryan immediately resonated with the Aspiro model, and he truly believes and lives the Aspiro mission; Adventure Heals. His passion for adventure therapy, his vast clinical and leadership experience, plus his genuine ability to connect with others make Ryan a dynamic leader.  His commitment to learning and growth leads him to constantly seek knowledge through books, and he believes this growth mindset is crucial for a successful team. Ryan therefore creates numerous opportunities for his staff to learn and improve both physically and mentally, and motivates them to continually strive for excellence, in order to provide the best service possible to the students and families that come to Aspiro.

Nathan Barusch, MD
Psychiatrist

Dr. Nathan Barusch earned his medical degree at Creighton University and his Masters in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he did research on the impact of technology use on the mental health of adolescents. He completed his psychiatry residency at the University of California-Davis and is pursuing advanced training in integrative psychiatry at the Integrative Psychiatry Institute

Nathan believes in compassionate, holistic, and evidence-based care. He emphasizes environment, lifestyle, personal history, spirituality, and biology when developing a personalized treatment plan designed to prepare clients to reach their full potential.

He is a member of the Clinical TMS Society and has completed their training in the use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a powerful tool for the treatment of depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Dr. Barusch actively practices Zen medication, is an avid skier, and loves exploring the mountains with his dog Jasper.

Woody Crowell
Program Director

Having worked with young adults and adolescent in various capacities since 1997, Woody is a great addition to the Executive Team at the Aspiro family of programs. Woody is no stranger to wilderness adventure therapy. As the initial owner/operator for eight years of the largest adolescent and young adult crisis intervention organization in the United States, woody maintained 55 employees and personally helped over 1,000 families seek treatment for their son or daughter. Woody worked as a Director of Admissions and Marketing Director for several Therapeutic Outdoor Programs, and was responsible for all admissions, marketing materials, website design/maintenance, the creation and updates of Parent and Field Manuals, and more. During this time he formed personal relationships with Clinical Professionals, Executive Directors, and Therapeutic Community leaders all over the country and is widely respected and trusted in the therapeutic wilderness and residential communities. Woody also has over 450 trail days as a Field Guide in Southern Idaho and Upstate New York, Logistics Coordinator and served as an Assistant Field Director in Southern Idaho.

Rebekah Phipps, ACMHC
Adolescent, Young Adult, and Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Rebekah has been with Aspiro since May 2017. She began her career in wilderness therapy as a Field Guide, worked as a clinical assistant, and is now working as a therapist. 

Rebekah attended Prescott College to receive a graduate degree in counseling, with a concentration Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Adventure-Based Psychotherapy. Her undergraduate degree is in Interpersonal Communication Studies from UNC-CH. Prior to Aspiro, she worked in experiential and outdoor education as a Program Manager and a Lead Instructor at UNC-CH Outdoor Education Center. She is an advocate for Adventure therapy and has presented at multiple conferences around the country on experiential therapeutic modalities. She has vast experience working with anxiety, depression, trauma, relational difficulties, and addiction. Her approach resonates well with young people because she believes in meeting a client where they are at, connecting with them, then approaching their problems through an experiential activity, thus creating a platform to see outside themselves as well as a safe space to dive into the more emotional aspects. Rebekah has a passion for working with adolescents and young adults in order to help them find healing and a deeper understanding of themselves, others, and the natural world. 

In her free time, she enjoys trail running, climbing, hiking/backpacking, reading, yoga, and exploring new places. 

Josh Watson, LCSW
CMO

Also specializes in: crisis de-escalation / anxiety resolution / frustration tolerance / verbal de-escalation / CBT/DBT / interpersonal relationships/leadership development

Josh has been working with adolescents, young adults, and their families since 2001. As an original member of the Aspiro Leadership Team, Josh has fulfilled several roles at Aspiro including Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Clinical Supervision, Admissions Director, Strategic Development, and currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer. He is passionate about carrying out the mission of Aspiro and creating the best possible experience for our clients. When Josh is not at work he enjoys traveling, cooking, outdoor adventure (of course!), golf, and spending time doing just about anything with his wife and two daughters.

Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT
CEO

Professional Experience

Rick has been working with adolescents and their families since 1995. Rick joined the Aspiro Leadership Team, in 2014, serving as both Executive Director at Aspiro Adventure and CEO of the Aspiro Group.

Rick brings considerable experience to Aspiro having worked as a Primary Therapist in 3 wilderness programs; Clinical Director at both a Residential Treatment Center and a Wilderness Program; Founder, Owner, Therapist, and Executive Director of Outback Therapeutic Expeditions; and National Director of Clinical Services and Vice President of operations at CRC Health Group. These roles prepared him well to lead our small group of Aspiro programs.

Rick was recruited to Aspiro to bring stability, integrity, sustainability and his leadership to each of our Aspiro programs; to help each program carry out its mission in creating the best possible experience for our clients. Rick enjoys spending time with his wife and three boys, watching his boys play a lot of basketball, road and mountain biking, golfing and serving in his local community.

Katie Thoma
CFO

Katie graduated from University of Northern Iowa and brings over 18 years of experience in accounting and business management to the Aspiro Group. Katie has been with the Asprio since 2013 and oversees the company’s financial planning and management. She is a valuable member of the leadership team and brings her business management knowledge, as well as her insight and practical viewpoints, to the planning and oversight of the company. Katie enjoys running, biking and spending time with family.

Kayleen Richter, PHR
CCO

Kayleen Richter, Chief Compliance Officer for Aspiro Group, is an HR professional with over 16 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She is certified through Human Resource Certification Institute as a Professional Human Resource, PHR. Kayleen has been with the Aspiro team since April 2013, managing employee relations, training, recruiting, compensation, performance management, employee engagement, Licensing compliance, workers compensation, benefits, risk and more. She has been a Society for Human Resource Management Member since 2015. Kayleen loves working with people and helping employees have a great experience while employed at Aspiro. Kayleen enjoys running, volleyball, camping, boating, and most of all spending time with and raising 6 beautiful children.

Hannah Eckert, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Originally from the Adirondacks of Northern New York, Hannah attended the University of Denver where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. Her passion for the outdoors and working with adolescents translated well for her start at Aspiro as a field guide in the spring of 2015. In that position, Hannah fell in love with the field of wilderness therapy. After leaving to work at a therapeutic boarding school and gaining a broader perspective of the therapeutic field, she returned to Aspiro where she worked as a therapist intern and trained under Dr. Gillan Smith, before completing her Master’s Degree and working as a clinician herself. She also has done therapy at a grief support center for kids, where she did counseling and led grief groups, furthering her knowledge about grief counseling and complicated bereavement. Hannah also has experience working with oppositional behaviors, anxiety, depression addiction, and finds value in incorporating experiential modalities such as adventure therapy, art therapy, and recreational therapy.

The beautiful desert landscapes of Utah drew Hannah to this part of the country. She now spends most of her free time canyoneering and exploring these areas with her dog, Saranac.

Christopher Tolen, Psy. D.
Vantage Point Males & Females, ages 13-26

Also specializes in working with ASD, neurodiversity, anxiety, depression, ADHD, social anxiety and social communication disorders, trauma, mindfulness, self-esteem, and identity development.

Dr. Christopher Tolen is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. He started his mental health career in 1991 and earned his Doctorate in Psychology in 1999. He has focused on working with adolescents and their families and has been dedicated to using evidence-based methods and practices throughout his career. Chris has worked as a therapist, program director, clinical director, supervising psychologist, an APA internship director, and an executive director in various mental health settings such as outpatient therapy, corrections, residential treatment, and wilderness therapy. As a clinical psychologist, he has provided psychological testing for over a thousand youth and young adults across the country and in multiple settings including schools, homes, therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, and wilderness therapy programs.

Chris and his wife have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of four children and a growing number of grandchildren. He has both professional and personal experience working with children who have special developmental needs. He and his wife have two sons with autism, one of whom completed wilderness therapy. In his free time, Chris enjoys sports, reading, movies, travel, spending time with his family, and singing barbershop.

Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
Vantage Point Managing Therapist Males, Ages 13-17

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Depression Attachment / ADHD / Mood Disorders / Anxiety

As a youngster, Jamie was climbing trees and catching fireflies in the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. Her love for the wilderness influenced her decision to obtain a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation with an emphasis in Environmental Education from Indiana University in 1999. With the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Baja, Mexico, Jamie was educated in leadership and team dynamics through an experiential adventure approach. She then began her career in 2000 serving adjudicated youth in the wilderness working for Alternative Youth Adventures (AYA), in South Central Utah.

Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 18-26

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Anxiety / Identity Issues / Mood Disorders / Trauma / Addictive Behaviors / ADHD

Caitlin received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago focusing on Art therapy, sculpture, and painting. In 2008, she merged her love of art therapy and the outdoors by earning her graduate degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Wilderness Therapy from Naropa University in Colorado.

Janna Dean, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Brigham Young University, UT, BSW
  • University of Utah, MSW
  • Licensed Certified Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Experience working in various treatment settings including: County Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment, Residential Treatment Centers, Eating Disorder Treatment Centers, and Wilderness Therapy
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2002

Also specializes in: Anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, self harm, eating disorders, and body image.

Janna graduated with an MSW from the University of Utah in 2003 and earned her LCSW in 2006.  After graduating she began working at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) in the “Staying off Substances” IOP program. There she ran groups for clients and families while doing individual assessments and counseling. After working at UNI, she worked at Center for Change (CFC) with adolescent and adult women with eating disorders.  Many of the clients had a dual diagnosis, generally including substance abuse or addiction. She was in charge of developing and running the chemical dependency groups. She worked with clients in inpatient, residential, and outpatient programming.

Janna has spent the past 15 years working with adolescent boys and girls and young adults with addictions and various mental health and identity struggles.  She has worked in all levels of care from acute care at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Unit, to residential care with adolescents and young adults with substance abuse and eating disorder addictions, to day patient and IOP work, to out-patient work.  Her passion is in working with teenagers and the emerging young adult population and she loves how empowered these young people are at this stage of life to create and follow through with changes. She follows a strength-based and positive psychology model in her work. Janna is passionate about working with the family alongside the clients to help create meaningful understanding and to help relationships grow.

Noel Koons, CMHC
Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17

Noel is a licensed professional counselor with over 11 years of experience working with struggling adolescents in residential treatment settings.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his master’s degree in mental health counseling.  Noel loves working with teens and their families and loves to watch them develop confidence and strong relationship skills through their experiences in the wilderness. These inspiring transformations are what continually draws him to his work.  He often employs a values-based practice as well as an Arbinger approach, DBT, Family Systems Approach, CBT, Positive Psychology and Mindfulness to his work. He is trained in EMDR, ACT, and motivational interviewing.

Noel was born and raised in Utah and appreciates the power of wilderness and adventure. His experiences working in residential treatment help him notice the added benefits of camaraderie, mental and spiritual recalibration, and mastery that wilderness adventure therapy brings. Among his favorite Utah locales are the Wasatch Mountains, Moab, and Escalante. Noel enjoys biking, hiking, snowshoeing and traveling with his amazing wife.

Jamie Ahern, LCSW
Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17

Also specializes in: Trauma / Relationships / Emotional Regulation / ADHD / Executive Functioning Skills / Anxiety / Depression / Substance Use / Learning Differences. 

Jamie has been a mental health therapist since 2011. He was first introduced to wilderness and adventure therapy as a field guide at Aspiro. After working as an Aspiro therapist for nearly 4 years, he relocated and provided therapy services in an underserved area of rural Montana. It was during this time that he found a passion for helping his clients recover from trauma, utilizing EMDR therapy as a core treatment modality in addition to a variety of other therapeutic modalities such as CBT, DBT and motivational interviewing. He returned to wilderness therapy after working with community mental health and is happy to now be back at Aspiro. Jamie is a warm and inviting therapist with a passion for helping young people and families in need. He strives to establish a non-judgmental and mutually respectful therapeutic relationship with his students and works very closely with their families, supporting them during their child’s stay and inviting them to challenge their own patterns.

Jamie wholeheartedly believes in and is passionate about the healing power, growth opportunities and excitement found in the outdoors. His free time is spent with his wife in pursuits such as fly fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and skiing. He also enjoys tying flies, playing the banjo, and spending time with his dogs.

Leigh Uhlenkott, NCC, LMHC
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: NLD / Spectrum Disorders / Learning and Executive Functioning Issues / Substance Dependence / Obesity / Self-Esteem Issues / Adoption / School Refusal / Anger Management / ADHD / Oppositional Defiance Disorder

During her 20 years of experience, Leigh has worked at a therapeutic boarding school for boys specializing in learning disabilities, 3 wilderness therapy programs; Expedition/Nomadic model, Transition Model, and now an Adventure-based programming model working with adolescents with multiple diagnoses, and a school in Broward County, FL providing counseling, prevention work, and substance abuse counseling for adolescents. Leigh also has training in and a certification for working with transgendered clients. She has extensive experience working effectively with these clients and is passionate about doing so. Leigh’s eclectic approach fosters her ability to be creative with each individual she works with, finding the best possible interventions to meet their needs. She enjoys helping struggling families’ find their common ground so that they can move forward out of crisis. Leigh has a particular strength in utilizing wilderness therapy to find the perfect metaphors and rites of passage to support real change and sustainable success. When not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, friends, and her two rescue dogs—Fluffy and Yoda.

Grace Larson, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Females, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in working with adolescent and young adult females with Anxiety, Depression and Mood Disorders/ Trauma and PTSD/ Social Anxiety and Social Communication Disorders/ Self-Esteem Issues/ Identity Development Issues/and Adoption, Attachment, Abandonment Issues

Since 2011, Grace has dedicated her professional career to understanding and empowering the lives of struggling adolescents and their families. After working in a variety of mental health contexts, Grace found her home in the wild outdoors of Utah at Aspiro, starting in 2015. An avid rock climber, whitewater raft guide, and backpacker; Grace found a way to meld her passion for the outdoors with her training in individual, group and family therapy.

With individualized treatment plans utilizing a variety of evidence-based interventions, Grace engages her students through a series of milestones: 1) Acknowledging the issues and impacts of the issues, 2) Developing motivation to change, 3) Skills acquisition and powerful mastery experience, 4) Application of change and acceptance, and 5) Preparation for transition. Through group therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Training, Grace teaches and leads the group culture in effective interpersonal communication, developing meaningful relationship skills, challenging judgment, and changing automatic patterns of thinking and acting. In her family work at Aspiro, is important to Grace to allow space for a deeper understanding of the child, time to repair relationships, and space for deepening connection while fostering greater independence. Through a comprehensive diagnostic assessment, individual and family intervention, and communication between past and future treatment providers, Grace strives to enrich and empower the lives of her clients and their families for long-term success.

Brandon Johnson, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: Substance Use Disorders / Depression / Anxiety / Post-traumatic Stress Disorder / Oppositional Defiance Disorder / ADHD

Brandon’s experience in counseling and providing support for others began during his time in the military. Brandon served two tours of duty in Iraq (2004-2005, and 2007-2008). During his military career, Brandon counseled his troops and led them into battle. Brandon learned how to utilize his troops’ strengths and to be aware of their weaknesses in order to effectively complete the mission, and get everyone back home safely. After Brandon’s military career, he worked at a residential treatment center with 15-17 year old boys, with the Aspiro Boys groups, and at the Salt Lake City Department of Veterans Affairs. Brandon’s therapeutic approach integrates interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic theories. Brandon’s clinical specialization in Substance Use Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Trauma come form his experience working with adolescents and their families, and with combat Veterans. Brandon has been trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing. Brandon believes that the wilderness creates an opportunity to build a foundation for long-term change and improvements in communication, relationships, and for students and their families to take committed action for their futures based on their experiences and the momentum they gain during the process of adventure wilderness therapy. When not working, Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife and baby girl. Brandon enjoys golfing, playing/watching sports, hunting, fishing, skiing, being in the outdoors, and traveling to new places.

Jeff Reyes
Vantage Point Program Coordinator

Jeff Reyes grew up in the woods of Wisconsin and spent summers camping and fishing on his grandparents’ farm in Iowa. While in high school, he discovered the joy of working with kids while employed at the YMCA as an athletic instructor. The enthusiasm he gained for working with young people continued into college where he was the after-school program director at a daycare. Jeff graduated from Graceland University double majoring in Psychology and Health. After college, he taught English at a kindergarten academy in South Korea. Upon returning from Korea, he discovered Aspiro, which was a perfect blend of his many passions; being outdoors, working with young people, mentoring, and helping others. Jeff quickly found his niche in the Vantage Point Program and was a consistent lead guide in the group for a year and a half before taking the Vantage Point Program Coordinator position. In his free time, Jeff plays multiple team sports including basketball, soccer, and ultimate frisbee. He also enjoys outdoor activities such as mountain biking, rock climbing, and snowboarding.

Shailee Davis
Therapist Intern
Shailee was born and raised in Utah. During her undergraduate studies at Utah Valley University, she worked in substance abuse treatment and she also worked at a residential treatment center for teenage girls, where she found passion in helping others enhance their lives. Shailee grew to love working with families and helping them understand their family dynamics. She quickly learned that change can happen when love and boundaries work together. Her work experiences led her to the decision to pursue a career as a therapist. During her four years working in residential treatment, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She is currently pursuing her goal to become a clinician and is working on her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Utah.
Shailee married her childhood best friend. Together they enjoy doing things in the outdoors. She loves to travel, and her summers are often spent on camping and fishing trips. Both personally and professionally she has a way of making those around her feel loved and understood.
Adam Peterson
Therapist Intern

Adam grew up in the Pacific Northwest, spending time in the water and mountains of the Puget Sound in Washington. Adam graduated from Brigham Young University with his bachelor’s degree in psychology. After he graduated, Adam worked in residential treatment where he spent the majority of the time working with neurodiverse male adolescents. Adam is currently a graduate student at the University of Utah and is working on his Masters of Social Work.

Adam loves spending time outside. Specifically hiking, snowboarding, running, and biking. He also loves rock climbing, playing golf, and trying new food. He enjoys opportunities where he can further his clinical skills and finds joy in seeing his clients make positive changes and learn to overcome their challenges.

Carly Sternberg
Therapist Intern

Carly grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and spent her childhood summers escaping to northern Wisconsin to enjoy the lakes and pine trees. She went to the University of Vermont where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and economics. She then made her way west where she ended up in Utah and spent three summers working as a field guide for Aspiro. Carly believes the simultaneously challenging and nurturing environment in the wilderness provides a powerful platform for independent growth. During the winters, in between guiding, Carly worked at a residential treatment center for adolescent girls in Salt Lake City.  Inspired by the change she saw possible through her work in the therapeutic field, Carly decided she wanted to pursue a career in social work and is currently a graduate student at the University of Utah School of Social Work.

Carly loves exploring the diverse landscapes of Utah through mountain biking and backcountry skiing. She also enjoys tending to her vegetable garden and cooking for her family and friends.

Emily Long
Therapist Intern
Emily grew up in Savannah, GA. After earning a bachelor’s degree in international studies and language from Duke University, she moved to Washington, DC to pursue a career in journalism. She also spent three years as a trip leader guiding biking and hiking trips all over the country before moving to Utah in 2015. She is a 200-hour yoga teacher with a focus on restorative yoga and additional training in trauma-informed yoga. Both her guiding and teaching experiences led to her interest in using mindfulness and movement in an outdoor setting to support mental health. She is currently working on her Master of Social Work at the University of Utah.
Emily is an ultrarunner and outdoor lover, and she spends a lot of time playing on Utah’s trails. She also loves camping, traveling, and really good coffee.
Lex Curley
Therapist Intern

Lex grew up in northern Illinois, right on the shore of Lake Michigan. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University. Post-graduation, Lex worked with at-risk youth at a residential treatment center located in Memphis, TN. While there, she discovered the world of wilderness therapy and became a field guide at Aspiro for two consecutive summers. Through her work as a guide, she pinpointed her career path and will be pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Utah in the fall to become a wilderness therapist.

Lex loves everything about the outdoors. She will go on any adventure and will try anything once. Mountain biking and backpacking are some of her favorites but she won’t ever turn down a challenge. Personally and professionally, Lex enjoys helping those around her see the best in themselves.

Nick Bolton
Therapist Intern

Nick is a native of Portland, Oregon, and moved to Utah in his early twenties. Nick has worked with young adults in mental health and substance use treatment in diverse settings for the last 8 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is working on his Masters in Social Work at the University of Utah. He has received extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Emotion Focused Therapy.

Nick has a passion for the outdoors, specifically camping, skiing, and trail running. He also enjoys playing golf.  Stemming from his history of and enthusiasm for self-improvement, he loves to see students overcome difficulties and help them believe in and step into their potential.

Mark Widmer, PhD
Independent Research Director

Mark Widmer, Ph.D. is a licensed Recreational Therapist and a tenured professor of Experience Design and Management and teaches in the MBA and EMBA programs at the Marriott School of Business at BYU. For over 20 years he has conducted research on the effectiveness of theory-based adventure programs in promoting self-efficacy, identity development, and positive psychology/character strengths. He and his colleague’s work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. Mark also has several ongoing research projects with leading therapeutic outdoor programs. In 2008 he started a consulting company and has worked a number of domestic and international companies, including Intel, ADIA, Actelion Pharm, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and more; building intentional culture, performance management, and utilizing adventure experiences. He also works with high net worth families to identify and pass on family culture and prepare future generations to thrive. Mark loves to mountain, snow, road and gravel bike. He also spends time backpacking, sailing, ice climbing, fly fishing and other outdoor adventures with his wife, 4 kids, and 5 grandkids.

David Mayeski, LCSW
Family Services Director

Also specializes in: Family Systems Work / Understanding Family Roles, Dynamics and Power Struggles / Genograms

David comes to Aspiro with almost 20 years of experience working with families in therapeutic programs. Originally David received his Bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics and went on to earn his Master of Social Work.

Prior to joining Aspiro, David served in many capacities at highly respected residential treatment centers as a primary therapist, Admissions Director, and Clinical Director. After working as a primary therapist for two years, he was awarded his License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW) in 2003 and has continued practicing therapy with students and their families. His desire to help families heal and overcome obstacles, his years of experience, and his clinical sophistication, make him the perfect match as the Family Services Director where he continues to help families heal through parent coaching, therapy sessions, webinars, and during groups over Aspiro’s Parent Seminars.

David is passionate about helping others and guiding families through their journey of connecting and healing as a system. David enjoys talking politics, playing a round of golf, and especially cherishes time with his beautiful wife and three children.

 

Kate Crowell
Family Services Coordinator

Kate has worked in the wilderness industry for over twelve years, spending the majority of that time with Aspiro.  Kate has gained vast experience in numerous departments including working as a field guide, logistics coordinator, purchaser, accountant, and now as the Family Services Coordinator. The different roles she has played at Aspiro plus her great attention to detail and organization, make her an incredible asset to the Family Services team as she has an in-depth knowledge of the details of each department and of wilderness therapy as a whole. Kate’s experience allows her to easily arrange details for clinicians and families when organizing Family Days, and to answer questions for parents on all of the aspects of Aspiro.  Kate enjoys gardening, reading, knitting, and spending time with her husband, two little girls, and three dogs.

Whitney Fox
Administrative Assistant

Born and raised in Utah, Whitney joined the Aspiro team in early 2018. Whitney’s study of the arts has allowed her to look at systems with a creative and fresh perspective, making her an integral part of Aspiro’s office management team. She is eager to jump into new projects and broaden her understanding of the inner workings of Aspiro. Whitney’s attention to detail and family focus has enriched the family services department and added an important element of attention and care to everyone she works with. Whitney enjoys spending her free time with her daughter and camping with her friends, family, and dogs.

Ally Jackson
Admissions Counselor

Ally has been working in the treatment industry for over six years in various admissions and marketing roles for residential treatment centers and wilderness programs. Ally graduated from Utah Valley University with her Bachelors degree in Psychology, and also brings four years experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children to the team. Admissions is something Ally is very passionate about and she understands the importance of connecting with and supporting families throughout the admissions process in order to help find the right fit for each family. Ally loves spending time with her friends and family, and when not working, she can be found spending time with her dog and exploring all of the beauty Utah has to offer.

Leah Shingler
Admissions Counselor

Leah is a graduate of Sterling College, where her passion for outdoor education and wilderness therapy truly began. She joins the Aspiro team with over 20 years of experience in the field of Wilderness Therapy where she has worked in various capacities, ranging from Field Guide to Director of Admissions and Outreach. Leah brings with her a genuine passion for assisting families and referring professionals in finding the best possible solutions for the difficult situations they face. Leah is dedicated to helping students, families and employees achieve growth, healing and personal well-being. Her professional and caring approach instantly fosters trust and connection for those with whom she works. While she has lived in many beautiful regions of the country, Leah grew up in Western Massachusetts and still remains a New Englander at heart. When she is not working Leah enjoys spending time with her husband, friends and fur baby, Josie. She also loves watching most sports, eating most foods, playing golf, road biking, adventuring to new destinations and finding new home-improvement projects to do.

Ryan Schaffer
Admissions Counselor

Ryan has been at Aspiro since April 2015; first as a field guide and now an admissions counselor.  His passion for education and development shows in his diverse experience as a teacher, administrator, and house coach at a therapeutic boarding school.  Ryan grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and received his degree in speech communications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He has spent the majority of his adult life abroad teaching in Mexico, France, South Korea, and most recently lived in Münster, Germany for seven years as a business English teacher and an associate English professor at the Münster University of Applied Sciences.  If he’s not outside climbing, hiking, snowboarding, or disc golfing, he’s most likely reading, writing, or dabbling in music.

Audrey Stewart
Digital Marketing Specialist

Audrey started at Aspiro in 2014 as a field guide. After working in the field, Audrey transitioned into the Logistics department where she primarily facilitated student intakes and departures. After several years, Audrey was promoted to Logistics Manager and joined the Senior Management team. Most recently Audrey has moved over to the marketing team where she currently works as a digital marketing specialist. Throughout her time at Aspiro, Audrey has worked in many roles but has always maintained her passion for helping students and their families. Audrey’s educational background includes a degree in Child, Adult, and Human Services from Iowa State University in addition to a Paramedic Specialist Certificate. She previously worked in a pediatric emergency room and brings her medical background with her to work every day. She is committed to being a life long learner and is currently working towards a marketing certificate. Her love for the outdoors and desire to help others has never waned and she believes strongly in the healing properties of the wilderness and of high adventure activities like mountain biking, skiing, and rock climbing, which she pursues in her own time.

Kip Swem
Associate Field Director

Kip grew up in eastern Washington where he quickly found a love for the outdoors. After going to school at Central Washington University, he traveled to Honduras to volunteer as an English teacher and manage a  program on proper nutrition for the local youth. It was in Honduras that Kip learned that service was his passion, thus leading him to wilderness therapy. Kip has been with Aspiro since early 2016. He started out as a field guide where he was able to develop a diverse skill set to help our unique and complicated students. Following that, he transitioned into the role of recruiter where he discovered our staff and helped them develop to a high standard which Aspiro holds. As an associate field director, Kip now manages Aspiro’s field staff and focuses on training them to be as effective as possible. Kip can likely be found visiting student groups in the field, hiking into a backcountry lake, or planning his next adventure.

Cassie Ali
Associate Field Director
Cassie grew up in both the wooded lakes of Minneapolis and the north shore beaches of Massachusetts. In search of new terrain, she moved to Colorado where Cassie attended the University of Denver. While in school, Cassie was a successful collegiate rower and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and English. After a brief stint in cooperate finance, Cassie continued West and began guiding with Aspiro in Fall of 2015. She spent two years as a field guide, advancing at Aspiro’s Adventure Facilitation and developing a relevant field and clinical knowledge while working with diverse populations. In Fall of 2017, Cassie became an In-Field Trainer where she developed professional advancement for field guides and co-facilitated several tryouts. As an Associate Field Director, Cassie manages Aspiro’s Field Guides by overseeing weekly staff trainings and engaging with staff and students in the field. If not adventuring with our groups, Cassie can be found exploring the beauty of Utah’s desert on foot, on a bike or on rappel.
Tyler Carroll
Risk Manager
Tyler felt the call of the Mountains back in his home state of Alabama. After graduating with his Bachelors in Psychology and minor in Sociology in 2007 he entered the guiding world of wilderness therapy, and by Christmas Day 2008 began his first week on trail with Aspiro as lead guide. Since those early days, Tyler has been an important part of thef growth and positive change within Aspiro. With this extensive experience, his role as Risk Management Coordinator is critical in the continued development of the program. Since taking on this role; Tyler has streamlined our incident tracking system, creating a database which gives us the ability to develop a greater understanding of safety and risk mitigation than ever before. Along with incident tracking, Tyler is on the ground, visiting groups in the field providing real time risk assessment and training opportunities. Tyler is Aspiro’s primary trainer for Crisis Intervention and Driver Safety. In his free time Tyler can be found pet-sitting other people’s dogs and enjoying the beauty of Utah. Tyler also enjoys downhill mountain biking, motorcycles, dirt bikes, and fishing.
Robert Owen
Operations Manager

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Robert moved to Utah in 2010 to be a field guide for Aspiro. In 2011 he left to work at a therapeutic boarding school, and returned to Aspiro in 2013 as a field guide. Robert is now the the Associate Field Operations Manager, and oversees our expeditions and weekly staffing needs.

Kendall George
Logistics Manager

Kendall George has been an asset to Aspiro for over a year. She started as a Logistics/Transportation Coordinator and was quickly promoted to Team Lead. Kendall has many years of experience working in the logistics field before Aspiro, including stints at Amazon, BestBuy, and in freight dispatch. Kendall shifted industries when she accepted a position at a residential treatment center and joined the Aspiro team soon after. Kendall has seen how Aspiro affects positive change in students and has decided to pursue a career in the mental health field as a therapist. Kendall is known for being compassionate and a strong communicator. Kendall is a Utah native and enjoys canoeing, hiking, and camping in her free time.

Scott Shaffer
Ropes Specialist

Scott Shaffer grew up in Idaho where he spent  time camping in the mountains with his family, going backpacking, and learning to mountain bike, rock climb, and ski.  He graduated with a degree in Secondary Education and History from the University of Idaho and decided to apply his education as a primitive wilderness guide in Southern Idaho.  In 2014, Scott found his way to Aspiro where he worked as a field guide for a year and a half, then began working as the Professional Development Coordinator, and finally moving to the Adventure Facilitation Team.  Scott teaches guides how to facilitate adventure with a therapeutic approach and emphasis on risk management.  In his free time, Scott enjoys adventuring in the mountains with his wife and two dogs.

Tanner Gray
Gravity Sports Specialist

Tanner grew up in a small town outside of Dallas, TX. After high school, he moved down to Austin to study Biochemistry for his undergrad. Afterward, he was in a Ph.D. program in BioPhysics and working as a research assistant in a cancer research hospital in San Antonio. By accident, Tanner heard the term wilderness therapy on a podcast while in the lab, and this led him to Aspiro. Aft, working consistently in B3 and Kairos, he became the in-field trainer, supporting and supervising guides in the field. Tanner now is the Gravity Specialist where he runs staff trainings for mountain biking, canyoneering, and skiing and assures the teams are well trained in both facilitation, safety, and the therapeutic elements of these activities. When not working, you can find Tanner climbing or skiing in one of the many mountains of Utah.

Stephan Fanale
Associate Field Operations Manager

Originally from central Massachusetts, Stephen moved to Utah to work as a field guide in 2015, after working as the Program Director for a residential program for adolescents with autism. Stephen is now the Associate Field Operations Manager, and oversees our expeditions and weekly staffing needs.

Adam Balls, MD
Medical Director

Dr. Adam Balls is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who is actively practicing in the Salt Lake City area for Utah Emergency Physicians. He obtained his MD degree from Georgetown University in 2004. In 2007, Dr. Balls completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ where he also served as chief resident. After his residency, Adam and his family relocated to San Antonio Texas where he served on active duty for four years as an EM physician at Wilford Hall Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center and EM Residency Program. During his time in the Air Force, he served as a team leader for a Critical Care Aeromedical Transport Team on deployments to Iraq, Germany, and Afghanistan.

Adam currently resides in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children. He serves as Medical Director for Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, a Level 1 Trauma Center and the largest ED in the state of Utah. He also works as Medical Director for Murray Fire Department. Adam is passionate about delivering excellent patient care in the Emergency Department and enjoys training and teaching. He is excited to support the needs of Pure Life in his Medical Director role. Outside of his clinical work, Adam enjoys the outdoors in Utah, supporting his children in their various sports and school activities, and living life through travel experiences around the world.

Meagan McKean Taylor, FNP-C
Associate Medical Director

Meagan is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who is thrilled to join the Aspiro team! She received her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Arizona in 2008. She began her nursing career in a cardiac telemetry unit at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. From there, she worked in the surgical intensive care unit where she cared for all post-surgical patients as well as kidney/liver transplant patients. For the past four years, Meagan has been the medical coordinator for our sister company, Pure Life Aspiro. In 2019, she received her Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Maryville University. She is looking forward to providing a higher level of care to the Aspiro students.

Meagan currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband and two young children. She has always had a passion for nature and at a young age recognized the power it had on enhancing her joy for life. She loves to snow ski, surf, hike, and travel. Her new favorite hobby is sharing her love for the outdoors with her twin toddlers.

Sarah Sarfaty
Medical Coordinator

Sarah Sarfaty grew up in the Colorado mountains and earned a degree in Biological Sciences from Colorado Mesa University. It was after that when she sought a change and moved to Utah to work for Aspiro as a field guide, where she worked for a year and a half. From there, she continued her medical education and exposure, teaching university-level outdoor classes, gaining knowledge and experience as an EMT, and utilizing her Wilderness First Responder certification while guiding in locations all over the world. She found herself unable to leave Aspiro behind, however and returned in the spring a few years later to join the medical team. She currently works at the Medical Coordinator where she works to maintain the physical health of all the students in weekly medical evaluations. Sarah also places emphasis on guide knowledge and training as well as focus on best medical practices. When not working, Sarah enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and anything that involves being outside!

Lizzie Madloch
Medical Coordinator

Lizzie’s experience as a field guide adds to her understanding and knowledge as she cares for Aspiro students. She has an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician certification with over four years of experience providing direct patient care in this role. She was a Crew Chief for the Skidmore College Emergency Services and served as a member of their board of directors. Lizzie has a degree from Skidmore College and graduated summa cum laude majoring in biology and chemistry. Lizzie has been an instructor for the Stop the Bleed program. This program is intended to teach people how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and how to intervene effectively. Lizzie enjoys being outside and reading. Some of her favorite activities include backpacking, hiking, climbing, and skiing.