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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Sep 15, 2020

Chris Squier is the Family Services Coordinator at Black Mountain Academy in N.C. As a teen, Chris was transported from Florida to New York and attended Adirondack Leadership Expeditions due to behavioral challenges. Chris shares his story of difficulties in the change process as after wilderness he returned home and continued to struggle. He enrolled in Four Circles in N.C. as a young adult and attended it twice. Chris feels that wilderness programs saved his life and is committed to a path of service.

Bio from Black Mountain Academy website:

Chris, a native of Orlando, Florida, has spent many years calling the mountains of Western North Carolina home. Chris attended Asheville Buncombe Technical College and has gained many years of hands on experience working with students on the autism spectrum during his years as a field instructor for a local therapeutic wilderness program.

When asked what he enjoys about his role as lead residential coach at Black Mountain Academy, Chris states, “I believe that our students on the autism spectrum or who struggle with other related neurodevelopmental issues have talents and abilities that other people in the world will never have, and those gifts are often overlooked. I do this work because I believe I can help our students discover these abilities and build confidence in themselves.”

Chris is well knowing for his fun-loving demeanor and ability to get students invested in a game or activity they might feel shy about trying. Outside of work, Chris can often be found buying and restoring wood furniture, hiking with friends, or enjoying a good book.