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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Aug 31, 2020

Nick Slovak is the Executive Director of Green Hill Recovery located in North Carolina. When Nick was a teen he experienced several challenges including his father dying on Nick's 15th birthday. Nick shares his story of how he struggled and with his mother's support he ended up going to Summit Achievement where his life began to change. He shares how time in the wilderness with supportive peers helped chart a new course in his life. Nick has over a decade of sobriety and is now a leader in the behavioral health care field.

Nick's bio from Green Hill:

Nick Slovak is the Executive Director of Green Hill.  As Executive Director, Nick oversees the administration and integration of the clinical, transitional living, academic, experiential, and holistic components of the Green Hill program. Nick sees his primary responsibility as giving the staff at Green Hill the tools they need to provide compassionate and innovative care. Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern Maine in political science and a minor in international relations. He is currently working to complete a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.  

Prior Experience

Prior to his work with Green Hill, Nick served as the Program Coordinator at Foundation House – an extended care sober living facility in Portland, Maine. In that position, Nick developed and implemented academic and vocational modules, alumni programming, and a variety of experiential and adventure-based therapies. Most recently, he worked at the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) – the largest J1 visa sponsor in the United States. At CIEE, Nick coordinated international exchange programs for over 20,000 high school and college students from 50 countries.

Professional Passion

Nick is passionate about empowering young people to make a successful transition into emerging adulthood. He has direct experience with both the perils of addiction and triumphs of sobriety. His own recovery journey has been paramount to his work mentoring emerging adults through early recovery, giving him a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by newly recovering emerging adults returning to an academic setting. Nick believes in a holistic approach to the recovery and in the importance of a balanced lifestyle.

More about Nick

Originally from Long Island, NY, Nick comes to Raleigh from Portland, ME. He is an avid adventurer and outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, and snowboarding. He is a Registered Maine Guide, and has led multiple expeditions through the mountains and waters of Maine and New Hampshire. He is a strong proponent of the healing power of the outdoors and is always eager to share this passion. Nick is also an ardent traveler having visited four continents and over 15 countries.