Meet Don

As an Admissions Counselor at blueFire Wilderness, it’s a position I find I am well suited for from previous work experience and a role in which I am honored to support families in a time of crisis and concern for their loved ones.

Growing up on the Georgia coast, I was outdoors all the time. Fishing, boating, exploring the woods near my house. In college, I realized my sanity was tied to how much time I spent in the outside, and often dragged friends with me for new adventures. Those experiences guided my career choices for a long time. As I began to raise my own children, I saw such a difference with them and our family whenever we detached from the ‘front country’ full of devices and distractions.

I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Ecology. On the path towards working to restore watersheds, I realized I wanted to engage people in the outdoors instead. I began with teaching youth at YMCA camps in Georgia, running challenge courses, and leading rites of passage trips in Washington.

From there, I started guiding full-time for a wilderness therapy program and guiding expeditions in California and Colorado. Spending weeks upon weeks outdoors and seeing the changes that happen to youth in those settings has been one of the most incredible experiences in my life.

From fieldwork, I moved to working in residential programs and running my own program. When I had a chance to return to working in the wilderness therapy world, I took it! I’m lucky to be able to share my experience, my view of the wilderness, and our work with families.

I spend my own outdoor time biking and fishing around the Appalachian Mountains and surfing along the South Carolina coast.

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Liz Santone, LPC