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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Jan 13, 2020

Tim McMahon and Jason Cox are co-owners of Brightstone Transitions, a Young Adult Transitional Program. They met over a decade ago in Georgia when Tim was directing a state-funded wilderness therapy program, and Jason showed up late for a job interview dressed in a suit and tie. Eventually, they connected as they both believed in the value of the connection between field guides and students. They share why state-funded wilderness therapy camps closed in the South and how they went onto start Brightstone.

Bios from Brightstone Transitions Website:

Tim McMahon is the Founder and Owner of Brightstone Transitions. Tim has been working in the field of therapeutic programming for over 20 years. He has helped design and implement residential, therapeutic, and academic programs across the country. Tim is married with two children. When not at work, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his two daughters.

While managing 10 intensive residential treatment programs located in 6 different states across the country, Tim began to realize that there was need for resources to help young adults who, despite therapeutic intervention, needed support to move forward. These young adults appeared stuck, and were often unable to make plans that allowed them to advance. These young adults needed guidance, but often did not respond to the traditional clinical interventions. It was out of Tim’s passion for helping these untraditional young adults that Brightstone Transitions was born.

Tim has a hands-on approach to running Brightstone. Tim believes that the key to reaching these young adults is through personal relationships. With that in mind, Tim designed Brightstone to be a very small and very individualized program.

Tim brings a wealth of experience and personal knowledge to Brightstone which he uses to help his clients and families build a foundation for success. He helps clients to define clear goals and develop plans to work toward those goals. Tim believes in an action oriented approach that moves clients beyond the classroom and into real life experience.

Jason Cox is the Director of Business Development for Brightstone Transitions. He brings a wide variety of experiences and passions to the Brightstone team. Jason comes to Brightstone with years of management experience in both therapeutic programming and summer camp programs.

Jason has a great deal of experience in designing and implementing programming to help young people. Jason started his career working with inner city youth in the Atlanta area in a wilderness based programming for over seven years. Helping to develop programing for boarding schools on the East Coast became his main focus before moving on to other programing areas. Through the years, Jason has had the opportunity to work with several camps and schools across the country. Jason accepted a job as the Director of Conferences, Retreats and Summer Programming for the Greater Seattle YMCA. Jason then moved to San Francisco to work with the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco where he served as Assistant Camp Director of Programs and helped to connect Bay Area inner city youth with healthier lifestyles through the outdoors. After several years of work with the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco, Jason took an opportunity to run a program near his family in North Carolina. During that work, Jason developed a passion for helping young adults that led him to Brightstone. 

Jason takes an active approach to working with clients and their families, but his work does not stop at the admission process. He continues to be involved with clients and their families throughout their time at Brightstone. A major focus of his work with young adults is helping them find and pursue their individual passions. Jason understands that this often leads to young adults finding newways to be successful. Jason received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in Southern Urban Minority Politics from East Carolina University. Jason enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family. Jason and his wife’s enjoy taking their son on adventures across the country.