Maybe it was the many hours that she spent hiking the Hundred Mile Wilderness or paddling the Allagash supported by a scholarship from King Middle School. Maybe it was the hundreds of hours she spent chatting with Ms. Applebaum or with Ms. Doyle and Mr. Shibles in their shared office that helped Liz Landry (CBHS 2014) realize that being connected to people in outdoor environments could be more than just an extracurricular activity. “They were there for me all throughout high school, holding me accountable, giving me space to ask questions,” she recalled.
Those questions led her to St. Lawrence College where she majored in Environmental Psychology. Memories of the immersive semester at the High Mountain Institute in Colorado during her junior year at Casco Bay gave her the confidence to try another immersion – this time in Valparaiso, Chile, where she volunteered with the Valpo Surf Project. The project used surfing and academic tutoring to encourage English language skills, personal character development, and environmental consciousness among underprivileged and at-risk youth. “We used the natural world to create a sense of purpose and a framing for the stories that we tell about ourselves and our communities,” she said.
After graduation from St. Lawrence, Liz headed to Salt Lake City, taking a job as a field instructor for a wilderness therapy company. It was there that she realized that she is good with people in crisis moments. She was an integral part of the treatment team, working with kids struggling with suicidal ideation and substance abuse, accompanying them on their journeys toward physical and mental well-being. During her 4 years in Utah she also worked with the Rape Recovery Center, developing Utah’s first confidential advocacy program to prevent rape in prisons and jails.
Liz was deeply convinced of the therapeutic impact of immersion in outdoor environments but needed more training to go deeper with clients (and earn a reasonable living), so she headed to the University of San Diego for graduate work in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Currently in her first semester she’s exploring her next career. “I’d like to work with the American Red Cross doing disaster relief as a mental health crisis worker. Maybe I’d join a PERT (psychiatric emergency response team) helping in situations that law enforcement isn’t trained for.”
Health and fitness are priorities for Liz, as is living near the ocean. “Right now I’m living the Southern California life of pickleball, spikeball and volleyball,” she laughed. “I do miss Maine though, especially the Maine forest – pines, big oaks and old country winding roads, maple syrup and my Nana. She’s 99 and pretty damn cool, still kicking it, eating doughnuts for breakfast.
- The music that best describes high school for Liz:
- Songs that best describe life these days:
How to get in touch: [email protected]