February 2016 OBH Council Newsletter


First Annual Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium

We are pleased to announce that starting in 2016 we will be offering our first annual Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium!  We will still be holding our National Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City, UT in August, and to make the Symposium more accessible to programs and field-staff on the East coast we have expanded to include the first annual Regional WT Symposium which will take place this April in Asheville, North Carolina.

The Regional Symposium will be a 2-day event (April 14-15), and will include both indoor and outdoor workshops and networking events at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville and nearby wilderness areas.  Please also see our newsletter article on this year’s Regional keynote speaker, Jennifer Pharr Davis.

The Regional Symposium registration site and line-up of workshops and presenters will be available to view online in February, and you can also find our Sponsorship packages online in case you are interested in becoming a sponsor of this year’s Regional Symposium.

We look forward to seeing you at one or both of our Wilderness Therapy Symposiums this year!

Jen at SpringerKeynote Speaker for Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium

We are pleased to announce that this year’s keynote speaker at the first annual Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium will be Jennifer Pharr Davis.  Jennifer is a hiker, author, adventure speaker, and 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

Jennifer has covered over 12,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents and has hiked with her husband and two year old daughter in all fifty states. In 2011, she covered the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes, maintaining a remarkable average of forty-seven miles per day. By doing this, she claimed the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the “A.T.” and became the first woman to set that mark.

Jennifer has written five books, including three North Carolina guidebooks and two hiking memoirs, Becoming Odyssa and Called Again. She has also written for Blue Ridge Outdoors and Trail Runner magazines and has contributed to articles in Backpacker, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. Jennifer is the founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company (www.blueridgehikingco.com), a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband Brew and their two year-old daughter Charley.

Please join us for Jennifer’s keynote dinner on Thursday April 14th at 7:30pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Asheville, NC.  The keynote dinner is included as part of the 2-day Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium, or you could also attend the keynote separately if you are not planning on attending the full Symposium.  Tickets will be available on our online registration website in February.

2016-01-13_15-52-22OBH Council hires first full-time employee

As of October 2015 Jim Lavin has joined us full-time as the administrative manager for OBH Council, where he will continue his work with both the Regional and National Wilderness Therapy Symposium and will now also be working to support the other projects of all of the OBHC committees.  Jim has been with the Wilderness Therapy Symposium for 13 years and is excited to expand his role to include supporting the other initiatives of the OBH Council.

Jim worked with Naropa University for 8 years as an event coordinator facilitating weekend workshops and conferences at Naropa, and is also a graduate of Naropa with a MA in Buddhist Studies in 2003.  Prior to coming to Naropa, Jim received his MA in East-West Philosophy from the University of Hawaii where he also worked for 5 years as a paraprofessional with Trumpet Behavioral Health assisting children and young adults with autism.

Jim currently lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, and in his spare time loves to play guitar and paint with water colors in the Florida country-side.

11464 OBHIC - FriendBecoming a Sponsor of the 2016 Wilderness Therapy Symposiums

There are a number of different Sponsorship packages available if your organization is interested in becoming a sponsor for either the Regional or National Wilderness Therapy Symposium in 2016.  The Regional Symposium will take place in Asheville, NC April 14-15th, and the National Symposium will take place in Park City, UT August 25-27th.

With over 500 conference attendees annually, the Wilderness Therapy Symposium is helping more families together than any one program could alone. The Symposium has been part of this industry-wide movement to build community, collaboration, and raise the standard of care being provided to struggling families throughout the world.

Sponsors are essential for continuing to offer our quality keynote speakers, catered dinners and lunches at the resorts, networking receptions and other social events.  Your sponsorship also entitles you to many benefits for your organization throughout the year including several free conference registrations for your staff, marketing opportunities on our website and the onsite Symposium materials, access to attendee email lists and other benefits.  Please see our website for a complete list of sponsor benefits, sponsor packages, and the online form to register for 2016 sponsorship at: https://obhcouncil.com/symposium/sponsors/

Friends of OBH Council

The OBH Council is actively seeking the support and camaraderie of individuals and organizations that value our commitment to safety and excellence. The Friend of OBHC designation is for those who do not qualify for full OBHC membership because they are not, by definition, an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program, yet desire to support the OBHC mission and participate in OHBC meetings and functions.

Criteria for Friends of OBHC:

1. Endorse the OBHC Mission and OBHC Philosophical and Ethical Standards.
2. Pay an annual due of $300 for an individual or $600 for an organization.
3. Proudly display the Friend of OBHC logo on marketing or business material.

Friends of OBHC Benefits:

1.     Invitation to attend the Wilderness Therapy Symposium pre-conference research review with all OBHC programs.
2. A discounted registration for the OBHC Wilderness Therapy Symposium; 3 discounted registrations for friend organizations (30% off of standard registration fee on all Symposium items)
3. Listing on the OBHC website as a Friend of OBHC as well as marketing materials onsite at the two annual Symposiums
4. Opportunity to support the OBHC mission

Learn more about the Friend program or apply online to be considered for membership at: https://obhcouncil.com/join/friend-obhc-application/

UntitledStories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy- A fundraising book is now available for purchase.



Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy is about the evolution of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) from the 1800’s to today.

It is a collaborative fundraising project with all profits going to research in OBH.  You can purchase the book or electronic version via Amazon right here (Stories from the Field).

obhaee-final-sealOBH Accreditation Update

Currently there are 7 member programs that have achieved OBH Accreditation.  Anasazi Foundation, Aspiro, Elements, Open Sky, Redcliff Ascent, Evoke at Entrada, Summit Achievement, and New Vision Wilderness.  Several other programs have completed their site review and are in the process of finalizing their accreditation.  These programs include Legacy Outdoor Adventures, Marimed, and Evoke at Cascades.

As anticipated, we’re starting to see families using the OBH Accreditation as one of the deciding factors in choosing a program for their child or themselves.  When faced with the decision on where to seek treatment, families will likely see an accredited program as superior to those who have not proven to meet those standards.

Here’s a quick look at the process of the OBH Accreditation:


Program completes a thorough internal review of administrative systems, operations and practices using the standards manual.

The purpose of the self-assessment is to demonstrate compliance with applicable standards.

Program completes a narrative response and evidence of compliance (Staff manual, relevant policies, procedures, etc).

The self-assessment is used by the AEE liaison to approve the site visit, and by the review team both before and during the review to assess compliance.

Site Review:

#1 job of review team: verify compliance with applicable standards

“Triangulate the Data” Looking for alignment:

1) Self-assessment

2) Interview staff, students, administration, board, etc.

3) Observe/inspect activities, facility, files, vehicles, equipment.

Learn more here https://obhcouncil.com/accreditation/

When you see an individual who works for any of the accredited programs, please thank them for helping to raise the standards of the industry.

Comments are closed.


Lost your password?