Education and Early Career
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin I moved to Miami, FL to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern. I quickly realized that psychiatric hospitals were taking over the industry and I was not aligned with the ethics of their practices. I wanted to counsel at-risk youth and their families. Fortunately, before I had spent any money on actual classes I returned to The Woodlands, TX and became a social worker at a local United Way agency. I was a counselor for runaways, truants, and youth that were designated as at-risk of doing either from 1988 – 1998 at Montgomery County Youth Services.
The grant that I worked under paid a consistent $18,500.00 per year every year. When MCYS built a challenge course I took advantage of the opportunity to learn a new skill. I had already been using non-physical activities to create awareness within families of their challenges with communication and collaboration. The challenge course was a giant version of such activities.
Eventually, I became the Adventure Based Coordinator (responsible for camping trips, summer camp, and groups that visited the challenge course) and trained a lot of people how to facilitate collaboration-building activities and personal growth challenges (such as jumping off of a 30-foot tall pole toward a trapeze bar with only a rope tied to the back of your harness).