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Stephen Javorski

Stephen is currently a professor in the Child and Youth Care department at Vancouver Island University. He has over 20 years of experience working with youth and young adults as a facilitator, guide, program manager, and counsellor, offering educational and therapeutic programming in settings ranging from schools to challenge courses to multi-week canoe expeditions in Canada’s North. He has a master’s degree in Transpersonal Counselling Psychology with a Wilderness Therapy specialization from Naropa University. He is currently completing his PhD in Outdoor Experiential Education with a focus on Outdoor Behavioural Healthcare (OBH)at the University of New Hampshire.

Stephen is one of the co-chairs of the Adventure Therapy International Committee and serves on the executive of the Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia, When not teaching from campus or the field, you'll find him adventuring by canoe, bikes, or skis with his family.

Place-Based, Interdisciplinary Learning as pedagogy
for training developing nature and adventure-based therapists

Vancouver Island University

The pedagogy and content of training for developing nature and adventure-based therapists and facilitators has been frequently discussed in the International Adventure Therapy community for decades. Drawing on the proceedings from the 2018 Cave Think Tank in Australia, the further explorations of key elements of training in and practice of Nature and Adventure-based therapies from 9IATC in Norway, North American and European facilitation theory, and Place-Based Learning pedagogy, a pilot program was created to offer a two-week, wilderness based, international field school providing training in facilitation of nature and adventure-based interventions to a group of interdisciplinary undergraduate students built around GATE 2024. The intent of the training was to provide an immersive opportunity for students from social work, child and youth care, education, kinesiology, and women and gender studies programs to experience a range of therapeutic nature and adventure-based interventions and consider how they may be applied to support health and well-being across their respective professions.

Workshop participants will learn about the collaborative efforts of Adventure Therapy Latvia, Vancouver Island University, and Canada's Global Skills Opportunities fund in the creation of this training opportunity. The pilot curriculum will be presented with opportunities for discussion between the lead instructor, students engaged in the training experience, and workshop participants. The goal of the workshop is to gather feedback about the unique training format and explore the potential for refining and expanding the training format for future international and domestic applications.

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