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Our Team

Meet Mickey | Field Wellness Director

Mickey is the big sister everyone wishes they had. Mickey has dedicated her career to working with children and teens, providing guidance and encouragement to support them in becoming the best versions of themselves. Mickey is fun and playful, and creates a warming and nurturing environment, she has a special quality of putting others at ease automatically – just by being herself.

– Austin Rogers, Founder of Rooted Life Adventures
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Mickey Myers, MA, LPCC

Trained in:
• Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
• Eco-therapy
• Somatic Embodiment
• Trauma-Informed Yoga
• Wilderness First Response
• Liberation and Feminist Therapy Somatic Embodiment
• Mindfulness-Based Therapy
• Motivational Interviewing
• Eating Disorders in LGBTQIA+ Community
• Life transitions

Mickey’s Eco Therapy Journey

Mickey has an impressive background in wilderness therapy guiding, yoga/somatic embodiment, and environmental justice. She has committed her career to bridging the perceived separation between humans and the natural world in her role as an eco-therapist. Mickey has a Master’s degree in clinical mental health, with a specialization in wilderness therapy, and is passionate about providing nature-based, somatic, and mindfulness interventions in fun and accessible ways.

Mickey adores working with adolescents and young adults, and has provided care for youth in the foster care system and in wilderness therapy settings for over seven years. She enjoys facilitating nature-based rites of passage for significant life transitions, and balancing recreation with reverence.

As a wilderness first responder and whitewater river guide, Mickey is enthusiastic about managing risk and maximizing fun in the outdoors – it’s where she finds connection and serenity. 

Mickey’s excited about joining the Rooted Life Adventures team in Costa Rica this summer, and is particularly looking forward to meeting the students that she will be living with, day in and day out, over the next six weeks.

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#RLALife #RLACostaRica #TeamRLA

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Our Team

Meet Sophie | Field Wellness Director

Sophie will bring laughter and experimentation to create an environment that fosters safety and spaciousness for teenagers to find their confidence as they discover more of themselves. With a spirit of enthusiasm and laughter, Sophie provides young people with the chance to fully embrace themselves and harmonize with their innate rhythm in life.

– Austin Rogers, Founder of Rooted Life Adventures
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Sophie Salin, LPCC

Bachelors of Psychology, University of Colorado | Masters in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy, Naropa University

Trained in:
• Gestalt Therapy
• Mindfulness Based Techniques
• Somatic Practices

Specializes in:
• Trauma
• Relationships
• Attachment Styles
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Self Esteem
• Life Transitions

Advocate for Therapeutic Experiences

With over a decade of dedicated experience in the therapy world, Sophie brings a multifaceted approach to holistic wellness, specializing in wilderness therapy, mindfulness-based skills and supporting individuals toward their authentic selves.

Sophie has experience working in treatment centers, wilderness programs, and as a mentor working primarily with adolescents and young adults navigating depression, anxiety, grief and transitions. Sophie has witnessed the remarkable impact of adventure-based interventions in fostering personal growth, resilience and self-discovery. By integrating therapeutic modalities with adventure activities, Sophie has created experiences that promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Sophie has a passion for holistic health and a commitment to empowering girls and young women to find their passions, uncover their authentic selves and find joy in the simple moments life has to offer. Sophie’s approach to therapy is based in experimentation and ‘in the moment’ work where she gently challenges old patterns and behaviors that are no longer serving.

Sophie encourages curiosity to facilitate exploration and to guide adolescents to become more aware of both themselves and the world around them. Students are encouraged to navigate challenges with newfound choices and an increased capacity to embrace uncomfortable feelings.. Sophie believes in empowering young women to find their voice through play, exploration and vulnerability. Sophie creates an environment where authenticity and personal growth are nurtured.

Sophie will be onsite 24/7 living with our Rooted Life Adventures students in Costa Rica.

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#RLALife #RLACostaRica #TeamRLA

Top 10 Benefits of a Live-In Therapeutic Coach in Our Wellness Adventure Program

In our wellness adventure program, a live-in therapeutic coach is not just an integral part of the support system; they are a catalyst for transformation. With their constant presence, expertise, and collaborative approach, they play a pivotal role in helping our students embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. At Rooted Life Adventures, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of care and support, ensuring that every student’s wellness adventure is a meaningful and transformative experience.

Top 10 Benefits of a Live-In Therapeutic Coach in Our Wellness Adventure Program

1. 360-Degree Wellness Adventure Insight

When it comes to our wellness adventure program, having a live-in therapeutic coach offers a unique advantage. With their presence throughout the day, our therapeutic coach has an all-encompassing view of our students, observing their actions and behaviors in various contexts. This real-time insight enables them to provide timely guidance and support, making every moment a teachable one.

2. Leveraging Successes for Personal Growth

Our therapeutic coach is adept at recognizing and celebrating our students’ successes during volunteer experiences, cultural immersions, and active adventures. These accomplishments serve as powerful teaching tools, allowing our therapeutic coach to draw on them to support coaching efforts. It’s about turning achievements into stepping stones for personal growth.

3. Real-Life Learning in the Heart of Your Wellness Adventure

Understanding each student’s unique challenges is fundamental to our wellness adventure program’s success. Our live-in therapeutic coach is well-versed in each student’s challenges. They are also knowledgeable about past care initiatives, allowing them to tailor their approach to what works best for each individual.

4. A Collaborative Care Team

We believe in a collaborative approach to wellness. Our live-in therapeutic coach maintains communication with each student’s at-home therapist, acting as an extension of their care team. This collaborative effort ensures that all parties are aligned in their approach and goals, fostering a holistic experience.

5. Continuity of Care

We understand the importance of uninterrupted care. That’s why students continue their weekly sessions with their long-term at-home therapist during our program so no ground is lost. Our stable collaborative environment allows for ease of transition to, and from, program with their trusted at-home therapist helping them adapt to a new environment, learn skills away from home, and then utilizing their newly developed skills when they return.

6. Real Life Learning Environment

Our wellness and core curriculum are a welcomed break from the traditional therapy setting. We create a safe environment that encourages students to learn from one another through real-life experiences. This approach helps build essential life skills and reinforces personal growth, while also bringing in the healing power of play and silliness in a “camp-like” fun and games environment.

7. Group Sessions & In-the-Moment Coaching

Our live-in therapeutic coach facilitates two group sessions each week, providing students with a platform to explore and discuss their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, daily check-ins and in-the-moment coaching are available as often as needed, ensuring students receive timely support.

8. Thoughtful Transition Planning

We understand that transitions can be challenging. Our wellness adventure program includes comprehensive transition planning involving students, parents, home therapists, and educational consultants. This collaborative effort ensures a smooth transition from our program to the next phase of a student’s journey.

9. Progress Tracking & Parent Coaching

We provide clear and detailed written summaries of each student’s experiences, challenges, successes, and gains. We empower families, and their care team, to make well-informed decisions for next steps of that student’s journey with a summary of our 360 viewpoint, including recommendations. Parents are kept informed and involved throughout their child’s journey and offered supportive parent coaching. Three (3) parent coaching sessions at the beginning of our program, and three (3) parent coaching sessions towards the end of program to plan for the transition back home.

Learn more about our Parent Coach Jane Samuel, MA, CPC here.

10. Ongoing Communication for Your Wellness Adventure Journey

Communication is key. We provide weekly updates to parents, home therapists, and referral resources, ensuring everyone is well-informed about a student’s progress and challenges while participating in their wellness adventure. This open dialogue reinforces our commitment to the well-being of each student.

By Sharon Laney

Reflections | Costa Rica Summer ’23

The reactions I get when I talk about my experience leading a wellness adventure 6-week program with 6 teenage girls, staying in the same house as them, adventuring, cooking, cleaning, and doing groups with them in Costa Rica do not surprise me. I receive wide eyes and something like, “Oh wow, congratulations. How did it go?”

Over my years working with this population, I’ve come to realize how afraid our culture is of teenage girls. Yet, I believe they have so much amazing power that they are just beginning to uncover.

Elise Scribner, LSCW

During my time with our Costa Rica Summer 2023 students, I was amazed by how much they discovered about themselves in our wellness adventure program. I got to witness their motivation to return home rooted in their newfound (or rediscovered) strengths. It was such an experience to be with them from sun up to sun down. 

The RLA Difference

Rooted Life Adventures is scheduled so that our students are able to experience a wide variety of new challenges and activities. They learned how to deep clean their rooms, cook a variety of meals on a budget, rappel down waterfalls and fly on a high trapeze, work different positions in an animal sanctuary, and how to handle conflict with each other and ask for help. Embedded within these activities, I facilitated wellness groups and psychoeducational groups that helped form a culture of inclusivity, feedback, reflection, and emotional vulnerability.

During the first days of orientation, I led a group on the Stages of Group Development, including the observable behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and team needs at each stage, and the leadership required to get to the next stage. We wrote these notes out on big papers and hung them in the house to refer back to. Most all the students expressed anxiety about the “Storming” stage, and how they hoped the group could just “skip it”. Conflict was a big fear for most students in the group, as they were used to ignoring it or cutting people out entirely if it came up.

One week later, the group was whispering about each other, expressing frustrations, having small explosions, and communicating passively. I held a group again on the stages of group development. Everyone agreed that we were in the storming phase… and we celebrated! We discussed how conflict is inevitable and productive, and as we practice conflict resolution and communication skills, we can continue to move forward through the stages.

Healing with Silliness

This was a time when play and silliness, very important parts of our program, perfectly intersected with the student’s wellness and personal growth. After this group on storming, we physically played it out and had a huge paint gun fight! Everyone ended up laughing, covered in paint, returning to the house in high spirits.

I must admit, there’s something really cathartic about throwing paint bombs at everyone around you to let out some tense energy.

Elise Scribner, LCSW

The group thrived in a unique way when silliness and play emerged, whether it was a planned glow in the dark pool party or singing and dancing to music while cooking dinner. Our students experienced a safe space to let their walls down and bring out their goofy parts in a safe space. Many of our students had not allowed themselves to show these parts of at home, for fear of judgment by other peers, or because they forgot they had them. Their sense of their true self grew as they accessed these parts again within our wellness adventure curriculum, and the rest of the group welcomed them. This process also had a huge impact on the formation of close friendships; because authenticity is a required part of any healthy relationship, the students grew to have tight bonds as weeks went on.

Benefits of a Live-In Therapeutic Coach

I also witnessed the way that the psychoeducation and wellness groups helped deepen the experience that the students had while on our program. During these weekly groups, they were learning and discussing important concepts such as components to healthy relationships, personal values, and core beliefs. These conversations did not end when the groups were over — they carried on as the students slowly started turning toward each other and took risks like practicing assertive feedback to their peers, or challenging each other’s negative self-talk. Each student made great strides in becoming more vulnerable with their peers and the instructors as they learned the importance of being vulnerable and the tools to be able to do so.

Continuity of Care: At-Home Therapist

The students’ growth was not only limited to the program, because within our wellness adventure approach they also had the opportunity to share it with their at home therapist and receive even more support each week. Their weekly therapy sessions provided a continuation of care, as the therapist learned about their struggles and strengths during the week and was able to help the students generalize and prepare them to re-enter their lives back at home. I also helped coach the students to on how to share their new insights and goals to their parents, especially at the end when we prepared for reintegration.

Cultivating Community & Learning Independence

During the first few weeks running this wellness adventure program, Amalia and I were working on setting firm boundaries while also gaining rapport and doing lots of in-the-moment coaching with the students. As the students got familiar with the daily routines and schedule and learned to trust each other, however, a magical thing began to happen. They began to run themselves. Instead of us instructors setting up after-dinner activities, they would discuss it together during the day and have a plan on what they wanted to do after dinner and present it to us. They began to work out small conflicts on their own instead of asking us to speak to the other student(s) involved. They held each other accountable if someone was skirting responsibility in cooking or cleaning. Near the end of the program, they were excited to return to a check-in group on the stages of group development and were proud to recognize that they were in the “Performing” stage, the highly productive stage involving true interdependence.

Overall, it was a true privilege to see how the students thrived when they were given the skills, space, support, and opportunity to dig into who they are and who they wanted to be within our wellness adventure format. Watch out world, we have 6 more powerful teenage girls coming out of Costa Rica who have learned to own their strengths and sense of self!

View the full photo album from Rooted Life Adventure’s Costa Rica Summer 2023 6-Week Adolescent Girls Program here.

Learn more about Elise here.

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Our Team

Meet Jane | Parent Coach

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Our Team

Meet Amalia | Field Wellness Director

Getting to learn about Costa Rica from a local is an incredible advantage – both culturally and linguistically. Amalia brings so much value to our program including high level outdoor acumen and aptitude for therapeutic engagement with students while in adventure settings like white water rafting or repelling down a waterfall. Amalia embodies the heart of Pura Vida and students will feel that and be inspired to open up to a global perspective.

Austin Rogers
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Amalia Gamboa, CSW

Bachelor of Ecotourism, Universidad de Costa Rica
Utah State University, Master of Social Work, CMSW

Trained in:
• Cognitive Behavior Therapy
• Narrative Therapy
• Experiential Therapy
• AEGIS Crisis De-escalation
• First Aid CPR AED
• Technical Rope Rescue

Specializes in:
Trauma / Substance Use Disorders / Family Systems / Attachment / Lack of Motivation / Risk-Taking Behaviors / Self-Esteem Issues / Depression / Anxiety / Mood Disorders / Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Pura Vida Costa Rica

Amalia’s love for playing tour guide in her home country of Costa Rica began at a young age. As a teenager, when her family hosted visitors from the U.S.A., Amalia was fascinated with the language and interactions between her and her family.

I was just a kid but I got a rush of adrenaline showing them things that were unique to my culture. I knew then I needed to follow that path.

Amalia Gamboa, CSW
Cultural Immersion is one of Rooted Life Adventures' core components. We work with local organizations to curate intentional cultural immersion activities where students can learn about diverse values, world views, skills, and life habits. Through this, students expand their worldview and enjoy a global perspective and new lens to view their lives at home. Click here to learn more.

With Costa Rica known for it’s tourism industry, Amalia pursued her bachelor’s degree in eco-tourism and began working at Outward Bound Costa Rica as an instructor. During this time, she explored her adventurous side with white water rafting, waterfall rappelling, and backpacking.

This opened the door for Amalia to work at Pure Life as a field guide and then a field director. Amalia’s responsibilities included always remaining vigilant in the oversight of the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of students, as well as ensuring policies and procedures were understood and implemented in every part of field operations. Amalia also was responsible for responding to and attending any emergency situation and providing medical care (WFR, AEGIS).

Certified Social Worker

Amalia loves showing students how to live a more simplistic lifestyle. Seeing how much the outdoors and therapy together can achieve inspired her to pursue and successfully earn a Masters in Social Work in Utah.

Rooted Life Adventures Supported Gap Year

After completing her MSW, Amalia was snapped up by pioneer of wilderness adventure therapy Aspiro Adventure Therapy. As field director, Amalia was charged with providing clinical services to students and their families, as well as leading therapeutic groups.

From adventure therapy to wilderness therapy, Amalia has worked with students from various backgrounds, particularly teens and young adults who struggle with risk-taking behaviors, defiance, and substance abuse.

In March 2023, Amalia presented on The value of multicultural group dynamics. “Opening the doors to cultural interchange: Leveraging international diversity in wilderness therapy” at the Wilderness Therapy Symposium in North Carolina.

Amalia uses a mix of different modalities tailored to the needs of both the student and family. These include motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, and narrative therapy. Therapeutic coaching is available to RLA student’s on program 24/7. This is a unique offering as part of our supported gap year wellness adventures program.

I find narrative therapy can be particularly beneficial for helping students analyze and change the stories they tell themselves about the world. From my experience, I’ve seen first-hand how this type of therapy can benefit people who experience mood disorders, or learned helplessness, during their early adulthood.

Amalia Gamboa, CSW
Rooted Life Adventures Support Gap Year

Amalia finds joy in seeing students overcome their struggles and create lasting change in their lives. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Amalia is comfortable working with students in either language.

Amalia is our Field Wellness Director for our Costa Rica 10-Week Fall Program for Young Adults All Genders (ages 18-24) from September 21 – November 29, 2023.

#RLACostaRica #RLALife #TeamRLA

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Our Team

Meet Sharon | Wellness Gap Year Operations Director

Sharon has 30 years of experience in building and launching therapeutic programs for adolescents and young adults; guaranteeing excellence and the highest standards in the industry. As a nationally recognised expert in residential, therapeutic, mental health, and experiential programs, Sharon is dedicated to helping students get what they need, when they need it, with the absolute best care.

Austin Rogers

Operations Powerhouse

Sharon Laney is an operations powerhouse. She’s worked with 26 programs in 11 states during her career, always staying close to her core mission of keeping students at the heart of every program; a perfect fit for our new wellness gap year model.

That drive and determination grew from firsthand experience, not just in her work, but in her personal life. As an aunt, Sharon experienced watching her nephew struggle, and the transformative effects therapeutic gap year adventure programming can have.

At the beginning of my career, I ran a family court system and got tired of seeing kids getting locked up and coming out worse rather than better. I’m continually impressed with seeing the change in students that therapeutic gap year adventure programming helps to facilitate. Programming like Rooted Life Adventures is the future of our industry.

Sharon Laney

Industry Leader

Now, a nationally known industry expert who has been actively involved in all aspects of programming, Sharon’s list of past positions held speaks to her passion and knowledge she brings to the industry.

For over 20 years, Sharon was COO of a large mental health/ therapeutic company serving youth in wilderness, residential, therapeutic boarding and transitional settings. She has also demonstrated effective leadership on a national level as the Vice President and President of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).

Throughout all of her work experiences, Sharon has always kept her love for helping families – and a firm advocacy for ethical, effective treatment strategies – as priorities in her work. She received NATSAP’s Leadership Award in 2010.

What is a Wellness Gap Year?

Rooted Life Adventures is the perfect hybrid programming option for today’s student. This therapeutic gap year model has adventure, without being too “hardcore”, and therapeutic support – without being too clinical – to enable on-the-spot interventions in a timely manner. It’s an ideal program for individuals who would benefit from an adventure program with mental health support, or have completed treatment and are looking for a stepping stone with more opportunity for independence while in a supported and sober environment.

Sharon is also a trained auditor with a national accreditation organization and has conducted various trainings at national conference related to the child care/mental health industry. Previous program involvement includes Auldern Academy, Three Springs, Lakehouse Academy, and Sedona Sky Academy.  Sharon will ensure excellence and the highest standards in Rooted Life Adventures’ new therapeutic gap year programming.

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Our Team

Meet Christy | Mental Health + Wellness Director

Christy is an exceptionally passionate advocate for the transformative abilities of adventure therapy in improving individual and collective well-being of adolescents and young adults. She came highly recommended from Dr. Maurie Lung, a legend in the adventure therapy and experiential education world.

Austin Rogers

Christy joins Rooted Life Adventures as our Mental Health and Wellness Director. Her background comes stacked with firsthand experience working with children and families as a social worker for almost 20 years. She is trained in Child Development and Mental Health, working with children as young as 8, to emerging adults around age 25. Christy has been running New Adventures, her own adventure therapy counseling center, for 5 years.

I use a client-centered approach to my work with folks, as no one knows you better than you know yourself. My hope is to help you see your strengths, and to thrive in them. 

Christy Brock

As our clinical support leader at HQ, you’ll first meet Christy when going through our application process. Her insight will ensure the integrity of our program is upheld, and every student accepted is a fit for our group dynamics. Christy will also support Elise – our field wellness director – while on program, and you may see her on location from time-to-time.

Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist

As an Association of Experiential Education (AEE) Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist (CCAT), Christy has received specialized training in adventure therapy and been recognized for her knowledge, skills, competencies and experience. She is currently serving as the Vice Chair for the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group, a subgroup of The Association for Experiential Education.

The practice of Adventure Therapy is the prescriptive use of adventure experiences provided by mental health professionals, often conducted in natural settings, that kinesthetically engage individuals, families and groups on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels (Gass, et al, 2020).

Independently Licensed Social Worker

Christy is an Independently Licensed Social Worker, with a supervision designation, from the state of Ohio. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work specializing in Children and Families, from The University of Cincinnati, in 2008. Christy also spent two years at Capital University, in Bexley, Ohio, earning her Bachelor of Social Work Degree in 2006.

In her spare time Christy loves indulging in the therapeutic effects the simple pleasures in life hold. You’ll find her sitting around a campfire, swinging in a hammock, hiking, playing board games, reading a book, or stargazing with her family and friends.

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Our Team

Meet Elise | Field Wellness Director

Elise is fun! She’s kind and soft and down to earth with unanimous praise for her work.
She has an incredible presence our students will love and feel comfortable opening up to.

– Austin Rogers, Founder of Rooted Life Adventures
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Elise Scribner, LCSW

Master of Social Work, Portland State University
Bachelor of Social Justice, Quest University Canada

Trained in:
• Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing
• Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (Coping Skills)
• Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
• Attachment Family Therapy
• Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART)
• Art Therapy
• Motivational Interviewing
• LGBTQ+ Safe Zone Certification

Advocate for Therapeutic Adventure

Elise believes in the profound positive impact that therapeutic adventure can have on student’s mental health and overall wellbeing. She’s seen, firsthand, the transformative outcomes; the culmination of combining adventure, time in nature, positive peer group culture, mentoring, and therapeutic support.

A lot of the time, at the end of a student’s stay, they will start, without prompting, reflecting on how they felt when they first came in to the program. The fact that they are so willing to give feedback really shows me that they’re ready to take the next step. You really see an excitement – a glow – in the students. That’s one of my top favourite things to see.

Elise Scribner, LCSW

First-Hand Experience

Elise was already aware of this impact on herself. Her passion for adventures and being outdoors started early, living on a sailboat with her family at the age of two. She has since fallen in love with rock climbing, snowboarding, summiting mountains, foraging, and jumping into cold rivers and lakes with friends. She has spent three summers in the Alaska commercial fishing industry, exploring stunning coasts, and is always interested in seeking out new places to travel to and explore.

elise - our therapeutic adventure field wellness director - conquering a climb

Elise’s work in the industry began in 2015 at Aspiro Adventure Therapy, the pioneer of wilderness adventure therapy. As a field guide, she was in awe of the profound impact this model had on the students she worked with. Wanting to do more, Elise was inspired to further her education and earn a degree in social work. She moved back to her hometown of Portland, Oregon, to attend graduate school at Portland State University.

In 2020, after earning her Masters of Social Work, as well as becoming a Licensed School Social Worker, Elise returned to Aspiro – now as a Wildness Therapist. She also created and facilitated a Wellness Curriculum for her students including psychoeducation on the dimensions of wellness, group discussions, coping skills, mindfulness practices, and art therapy. Additionally, Elise’s Bachelor’s degree in Social Justice that she received from Quest University Canada in Squamish, British Columbia, helped provide a strong foundation for her focus on equity, enabling her to lead anti-oppression workshops at a variety of different programs.

Everyone deserves to live a life worth living. Therapy is one step that can help young people move toward achieving their goals.

Elise Scribner, LCSW

Survivor & Thriver

As a brain cancer survivor and thriver, Elise loves to discuss concepts such as radical acceptance, self-empowerment, helpful humor, and the importance of connectedness.

Elise’s therapeutic approach is strengths-based, student-centered, and trauma-informed. She integrates Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy while maintaining an equity lens with her students. Elise has used this approach while working with children in the foster care system and with teens in academic settings who struggled with challenges such as early trauma, depression, anxiety, and identity development. 

Elise came highly recommended with unanimous high praise for her ability to integrate wellness and adventure and therapy. She’s known for her masterful approach to tricky cases, especially those she took on in her time as a Wilderness Therapist at Aspiro. She has seen – and done – all of the hard stuff with both adolescents and young adults.

Elise will be onsite 24/7 living with our Rooted Life Adventures students in Costa Rica.

Rooted Life Adventures is NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for our Costa Rica 6-Week Summer Program for Girls Ages 15-17 from June 28 to August 5, 2023.

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From Our Founder

The NEW Gap Year Program with Mental Health Support

Our world is an intriguing place. I’ve always been fascinated by what it has to offer. From different cultures and values, to foods and languages, our global community is as expansive as it is beautiful.

Travel changes you from the inside out. It opens your eyes to different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and even how you think about yourself. I believe it is by broadening our horizons, challenging ourselves, and stepping outside of our comfort zone that we are truly inspired to grow into our most authentic selves.

Finding Purpose

In my pursuit of what the world has to offer, I myself left my hometown of Dallas, Texas and went in search of global experiences. It was in New Zealand, where my passion for outdoor experiential education found a natural fit in the international gap year community. 

Over the years, I have managed gap year programs with hundreds of U.S. students on 70-day multi-country adventures, from Nepal, Tibet, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand. It was through this that I developed the greatest sense of self, of belonging, of capability, and purpose. 

I saw, firsthand, the increasing number of adolescents suffering from mental health challenges, and the growing need for increased mental health support in programs. Gen Z has demonstrated a craving for learning about emotional intelligence, social justice, identity, and empathy with an acute attention to their mental and emotional wellbeing like never before.

Addressing the “Gap” in Gap Year

After a research deep dive, it became clear that there were no programs holding the space between Gap Year and full on Adventure therapy, which can be overwhelming and with a price tag out of reach for most families. 

My mission became clear. I needed to create a therapeutic gap year program that would take the best of the gap year community, volunteer service learning, cultural immersion and adventures activities, and pair it with mental health support, psychoeducational development, and wrap around care. 

Rooted Life Adventures is that therapeutic gap year program. I have reimagined adventure, travel, and therapeutic coaching in a way that facilitates exponential growth and deep and meaningful change through the power of community and belonging.

The RLA Experience

RLA students experience what it means to be part of something bigger than themselves. They learn how responsibility, accountability, and transparency creates authentic connections. They build confidence, self-esteem, and cultivate lifelong friendships by being part of a close knit team – travelling together, learning together, and overcoming challenges as a collective.

By immersing students in other cultures, they will be able to find even more humanity. By volunteering and working shoulder-to-shoulder with locals, they’ll learn how to benefit their global community. By testing their limits in every direction – from rock climbing, hiking, surfing, canyoning, kayaking, backpacking, and white water rafting – students will reach inside themselves and realize they are capable of more than they ever imagined. And by supporting their emotional wellbeing throughout the journey, they will be empowered to understand themselves more deeply and connect with those around them more fully.

Explore the world, and yourself, through a Rooted Life Adventure.

Follow our adventures Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin.

#RLALife #RLACostaRica #RLANewZealand