The Outdoor program has a unique ability to see each youth grow and confront challenges in real time. Whether it's physically overcoming a whitewater rapid, or mentally conquering fears through canyoneering and skiing, as mentors, we get to be a part of a teen's therapeutic process in unique ways. My favorite part of my job at Gateway is seeing the teens laugh, sometimes for the first time in a while. The joy found in the OE program can help bring healing that transfers to all areas of an adolescent’s life.
Outdoor Experiential Manager
B.S. in Outdoor Leadership & Education
Experience in Outdoor Experiential Education and Intervention since 2012
Extensive experience in outdoor programming, skiing, & rock climbing
Dustin has been with the Outdoor Experiential (OE) Program at Gateway Academy since 2019. His philosophy of mentorship is focused on building relationships and rapport with each youth. This approach creates mutual respect, where hard conversations can happen and feedback can be both given and received. Working with teens in a therapeutic program, it’s important to find a balance between challenging them and supporting them on their journey towards mental and physical health. As an OE mentor to both employees and youth, Dustin is a personable and encouraging team member who supports and guides each person towards professional and personal development.
Dustin holds a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Leadership & Education from Toccoa Falls College. In addition to working at Gateway Academy, Dustin has worked as a counselor at Strong Rock Camp, and an outdoor mentor at Camp Anderson. He has also used his outdoor skills internationally through an internship program in Australia and a sailing expedition in the Bahamas. In 2019, Dustin joined Gateway Academy and the OE team as an outdoor experiential mentor where he worked until spring of 2021. In 2021, he was promoted to his current position as an OE Team Manager. Dustin is highly experienced in all four OE modules and understands how to integrate the residential, academic, and therapeutic programs for a teen's growth while at Gateway Academy.
In Dustin’s free time, you can find him road tripping to National Parks, playing basketball, hanging out at a local park with friends, and trying to make people laugh. Of course, he loves skiing and rock climbing too!
A student’s success story that really stands out for Dustin is when an adolescent that came into the program with walls up in every area of his life. He had major behavioral, authoritative, and interpersonal issues with both peers and staff. Although it was a slow process, all of these problems started to resolve one conversation at a time and one outdoor experience at a time. The youth was able to see value in himself and in his relationships with other people which allowed him to work towards creating a healthy framework and worldview that set him up for success for the rest of his life.