Why I Guide: Open Sky Field Staff Share Their Passion for This Work
FEATURED AUTHOR: Alex Bond
Our field staff are the heart of Open Sky. They are with students day and night, providing necessary structure and containment and supporting students in becoming their full selves. They are compassionate, playful, strong, creative, and essential to our program. Below, members of the Open Sky field team share what makes this work special and why they love what they do.
Alex Bond, Assistant Field Director and Field Guide Recruiter
Before coming to Open Sky, I was a teacher. Although I enjoyed teaching, I was longing for more of the human connection side of the job. During my guide training six years ago, it became clear human connection was at the forefront of everything at Open Sky. I immediately knew this was where I belonged. I was also excited for the outdoors to become my classroom!
Leah Dworkin, Assistant Field Director
It’s hard to describe accurately what being a field guide is actually like. Unless you’ve experienced the magic and challenges of field guiding, words cannot do it full justice. Guiding is a unique and special job, one that requires compassion, firmness, love, strength, and creativity. The relationships that are formed between students and guides often make lasting impressions, which students fondly recall many years down the road. Our guides are some of the most generous, heart-centered humans I know, and I’m grateful to be able to support and learn from them.
Alex Molo, Field Director
The culture at Open Sky really nurtures the guide experience. The students are growing while in the field and guides can’t help but grow alongside them. And that culture permeates through the whole organization.
Ashley Higgs, Assistant Field Director
Many folks talk about the magic this kind of work has on our students. The reality is this magic does not just offer itself to the students but also to us as individuals, as guides. Being a woman in this kind of field, I have learned how to be more direct, firm, confident, and grounded while being able to role model all that with a loving and playful nature. This work allows me to try on so many styles of leading—and allows it still even after all these years.
Nick Loeb, Field Mentor
What I like about the culture at Open Sky is everyone really cares about each other. I feel very supported as a guide, not only in the field but in my personal work outside of the field. I was a student at Open Sky in 2008 and that work has continued since I came back. I feel able to give back to the community and to the students in a way that feels impactful and meaningful to me.
Beth Henshaw, Senior Guide
I love guiding at Open Sky for the magic of the wilderness… getting to breath fresh air with students and seeing them develop skills and confidence. It’s a really supportive culture. It’s exciting to come to work.
Julian McNally, Senior Guide
I moved to the Four Corners area specifically for this job and I love it. I spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s something I value outside of work. Climbing, skiing, fishing – it’s a perfect area to have close access to all of these things.
Candice Oliver, Senior Guide
My favorite part about working at Open Sky is how unique and awesome and strong the students who come here are. It’s a place where we celebrate learning and growing.
Mike Kangley, Senior Master Guide
Many students I have worked with as a field guide have reached out to me years later to share what their lives have become. I have seen students go to college, become nurses, get married, and have kids. I have seen these young people grow up, find happiness, and build careers. The common thread when I talk to them is their expression of gratitude for the transformation that took place in the wilderness. This still fuels and inspires me.
Chris Moeller, Program Mentor
A huge part of this process is the community that is built between the guides, students, and the therapist. This community is at the core of my gratitude for what I do—to be a part of something so impactful with so many wonderful people. Every day I feel grateful, even for the challenges. I hope this gratitude affects others as well.