Aspiro guides are critical to the success of the program and Aspiro takes guide hiring and training very seriously. Aspiro hires talented guides that have high moral and ethical standards. Aspiro guides are patient, professional, insightful, and deeply caring. Guides receive thorough training designed to cultivate and refine clinical, safety, and outdoor adventure skills. During their first year, guides spend a minimum of 150 hours in training. Each subsequent year guides spend a minimum of 75 hours in training. The Aspiro community shares a common passion for helping youth make positive decisions; this passion is key to our success.
Woody Crowell -
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.
Woody has been involved in many non-profit organization and clubs, ranging from coaching (football, soccer and baseball), to raising funds to support inner city summer camps in some of the nation’s largest metro areas. He was Central Iowa’s volunteer of the year in 1997, and has worked as a counselor for many crisis intervention hotlines ranging from teen runaways, Domestic Violence to family abuse. For over 10 years Woody was actively involved as a leader with the Cub/Boy Scouts of America.
Being a true desert dweller Woody grew up in Utah and now resides here full time. With a passion for the outdoors and gardening, Woody is quite the green thumb, and spends countless hours designing, manicuring, and caring for his garden’s and yard. When not working or in his garden, Woody enjoys hiking, climbing, and back country camping with his family and friends.
Enjoying his time off with the love of his life, Sandy, he is also helping to raise her son as his own. Having raised four beautiful children, he is now patiently waiting for some grandchildren (the sooner the better, though).
Sharon Clegg – Director of Medical Services and Risk Management
I had the privilege of growing up on the Wasatch Front of Utah spending countless Saturday’s fishing with my Dad and Grandpa in Utah’s lakes. I grew to love the outdoors and the beauty that it provides. After living in Puerto Rico for 18 months, I returned to pursue a career in healthcare.
I attended Utah Valley University and later received my Bachelors Degree from Utah State University in Community Health Education. I hold a Master’s in Curriculum Instruction and Development from the University of Phoenix. During my time at Utah State I worked as a Health Education Intern for a therapeutic program that provided services to low income families. I loved the work that we did and seeing families become stronger and self-sufficient. My background in developing and successfully launching one of Utah’s newest vocational training facility, writing outdoor educational curriculum, teaching medical training courses and working on accreditation committees affords me the opportunity to share my experience with the wonderful people at Aspiro. I have taught and trained hundreds of Field Guides, Logistics Departments and students over my career and gain great joy in watching them find their passion in life.
In addition to my educational background, my passion is in Emergency Medical Services. I have spent 15 years working from a volunteer to part time status as a firefighter and advanced EMT. I have seen first-hand the devastation that drugs and alcohol play on our youth and want to assure that young people have the opportunity to change their lives. It was my career in EMS that took me to first wilderness job were I worked for 4 years as their Medical Coordinator. I instantly was hooked to wilderness and the power of change that comes along with it.
Children have the inherent gift to succeed; sometimes it just takes some additional perseverance for it to shine through.
Billy Nicola – Assistant Program Director. March 2009
Billy grew up in the beautiful, yet often overlooked state of North Dakota. He has always enjoyed being active, playing in the outdoors, and building relationships with others. Billy graduated college with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, but quickly found himself pursuing a different path. He initially came to us with the intention of being a seasonal guide for one summer, but quickly realized Aspiro was not something he could easily walk away from. He worked in the field as a guide and team leader with the boys group for two years before stepping into the position of Assistant Program Director. On top of daily logistics, his primary responsibility is to oversee the hiring, training, and staffing processes for guides at Aspiro. He also manages all of Aspiro’s land permits so our groups can experience the most beautiful places in Utah. Billy says the reason he is with Aspiro is because he has never had a job where co-workers feel like family and everyone is so genuine and caring. Billy has personally benefited from being immersed in an atmosphere that encourages healthy confrontation, growth, and positive change. He desires to continually create and share that environment with not only guides and students but in his personal life as well.
Dan Lemaire -
Staff Development and Special Projects
I grew up in Alaska and had the good fortune of seeing some very remote and very beautiful places in my childhood.
In Alaska, there was only time and money to do just what was necessary to be happy and healthy and no more. There were no stop lights, there was no rush hour traffic, and the nearest McDonalds was a 4-5 hour drive away. I knew more about Moose than I knew about Disney movies, and I could find my way out of a remote mountain valley easier than I could find my way out of a grocery store. I believe in the power of simplifying life – of making life about relationships and the transforming force called love. I began my career in engineering and in research, but found a much better fit in coaching and quickly became a full-time ski coach. After many years of using coaching as a tool to grow and heal adolescent minds, I decided to call it what it is, and joined the therapy industry. I continue to love introducing young people to the joy of mountain sports and outdoor living.
Drew Macfarlane – Field Director
Drew was born in Wyoming and spent the next 10 years moving around the country, from Phoenix to Manhattan, to Denver where he spent his Junior High and High School years. He finally found home when he moved to Utah after high school, and has lived here ever since.
Drew has always been passionate about the outdoors. Growing up he developed a true love for nature and would jump on the chance to mountain bike, rock climb, hike and most of of all go fly-fishing. After studying psychology and language in college, he became a fly-fishing guide. He established his own Outfitter, guiding clients in Utah and all over Patagonia Chile.
Drew has spent most of his adult life volunteering with troubled teens and young adults. He is very active with the youth in his community, serving as a coach and a mentor. He has dedicated much of his time to substance abuse counseling with addicts and their families.
In 2009 Drew converted his volunteer experience into a career in the Wilderness Therapy industry. He has spent more than 700 days on the trail, working with students from all over the world. As a guide he brought a magic to the trail that touched his students and colleagues on a profound level. He has also worked as a facilitator of trainings and workshops, an emergency responder and most recently as a Field Director at Aspiro.
Philip – Field Director – Expeditions. August 2008
Philip grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. He has always been an explorer. As a young child, he was constantly wandering away from his parents and creating sometimes scary adventures for his family. This adventurous spirit has not left him, but only become safer and broader while guiding him in the direction of working with youth in the wilderness. Philip graduated in May 2008 from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in history. A history degree does not usually lend itself to wilderness guiding, but this is just part of his vast area of interests. Philip was a Team Leader and major developer of the Vantage Point program until he became the Field Director of Expeditions. With over 720 field days, he has brought his extensive knowledge of maps, logistics, and understanding of students to the Field Director position. Philip’s primary responsibility is planning weekly therapeutic itineraries for Aspiro ‘s various programs. Some of his favorite activities include running (it is by far the fastest way to explore), hiking, rock climbing, and reading, cooking, skiing, studying history, and traveling. Philip is a certified Wilderness First Responder.
Liz Lemaire – Logistics/Operations
Erik – Logistics Coordinator – September 2008
Erik loves his job!
Adventure has always been a big influence in his life. He continually appreciates the lessons that nature and the wilderness has to offer. Some of his greatest inspiration and insight has come while surrounded by the amazing beauty of the outdoors.
Erik’s love for adventure and the outdoors began when he was quite young. “I have many fond memories of epic hiking trips with my father. He helped to instill in me a love and respect for the wilderness. That love and respect for nature and adventure has played a large role throughout my life.”
Three years ago Erik began a different adventurous journey: marriage. However marriage in and of itself wasn’t enough to quench he and his wife’s thirst for adventure. So, shortly after their marriage, they set off to travel the world. Throughout the year they were traveling, they had many amazing opportunities to provide humanitarian service for others in need.
One year ago Erik and Jana began a new adventure together: parenthood. “What an amazing opportunity!” Erik says.
“My son has been the greatest blessing and source of joy in my life. My wife and I are enjoying every bit of this adventure together, including the tough stuff.”
Today Erik finds himself working in a field that combines two great loves: adventure and helping others. He is honored and blessed to have the opportunity to work with Aspiro and the students who come here. He recognizes the power of the adventure therapy model. He lives it. Every week Erik works, he gains something new: be it a new lesson, a new perspective, new insight, new strength, new understanding. “Never have I worked in an industry where I have benefited so greatly. This is not just a job. It is an opportunity. An opportunity to become better.”