Summit Journeys
Summit Journeys
Creating Connection Through Outdoor Adventure.

About

 
 

we believe in the simple yet profound power of wilderness to transform lives. Through outdoor adventure, we empower youth and young adults build stronger relationships to nature, to their communities, and most importantly–to themselves.

Phones, screens and social media have become increasingly embedded in our day-to-day lives. These technologies captivate our attention and can feel all consuming. Summit Journeys take a positive psychology approach to dealing with these pressures- providing facilitated wilderness experiences for youth to feel a deeper sense of connection beyond screens. Our programs create opportunities for healthier habits to be formed with technology, not by eliminating it from our lives, but by rekindling in-person relationships with friends, family, and the outdoors. Through outdoor adventures, hands-on skill development, and play, participants will leave our programs more confident, connected, and empowered to be the architect of their own lives.


 
 
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 Organization

A project of 7 Summits 7 Seas, Summit Journeys is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that offers low-cost programming for youth (ages 10-17) and young adults (18-26) that is ongoing and integrated into their local community. Summit Journeys currently operates in urban and wilderness areas throughout Utah’s Salt Lake region.

 
 

Our Goals

At Summit Journeys, we believe in the simple yet profound power of wilderness to transform lives. Through outdoor adventure, we empower youth and young adults build stronger relationships to nature, to their communities, and most importantly–to themselves.

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Martin Frey, set the world record holder as the first person to summit the Seven Summits (tallest summit on each continent) and sail the Seven Seas. He didn’t have it in his head since childhood that he wanted to set a world record, let alone one as difficult as this. In fact, Martin didn’t even have a plan to attempt the remaining six peaks until a conversation with his climbing partner at 17’000 feet on the side of Denali. The first time Martin set eyes on Eversets, he was passing by while on a business trip to India – no intention of ever summiting. In fact, he remembers distinctly thinking, “How does anyone even get up that?” Little did he know that after endless hours of training and a few years, he himself would be standing on the highest summit on earth. 

Not everyone’s summits are literal, and not all are as extreme as Martin’s, but the growth and personal development that comes along the path is universal. Having experienced the ups and downs of adventure in many ways, Martin and the entire Summit Journeys team are focusing their energy on creating opportunities and support for more young people to experience the journey to their own summit.

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We facilitate wilderness experiences for youth (ages 13-17) that promote:

  • outdoor adventure competencies,

  • social-emotional skills,

  • character development, and

  • healthy relationships to technology.

Our programs are not traditional once-off experiences. We work with schools, families, and community leaders to ensure skills and new awarenesses gained during our programs are integrated into their lives.


Our curriculum focuses primarily on:

Outdoor Adventure Competencies

  • Support the development of outdoor adventure competencies in youth so that they can be empowered to engage with the outdoors in a fun and healthy way throughout their lives.

Social-Emotional Skills

  • Support the development of critical social-emotional skills in youth participants through challenging group experiences that demand teamwork, communication, and collaboration.

Character Development

  • Build critical character skills of self-efficacy, self-determination, and resilience through outdoor challenge experiences.

Healthy Relationships to Technology

  • Promote healthier relationships to technology by engaging youth experientially in outdoor environments that provide an opportunity to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with themselves and others.

 

How

Summit Journeys collaborates with Venture Out! to run day-long outdoor youth adventures throughout Millcreek and Salt Lake County. Each week, we introduce youth to the beautiful wilderness areas in their own backyards, building their capacity and confidence as outdoor enthusiasts and leaders. Through adventure, skill-building, problem-solving, and play – our programs not only connect youth to outdoor spaces, but to one another.

Multi-day programming brings our participants on overnight outdoor adventure programs to wilderness regions. Each is themed to promote the development of targeted character traits and skills. By removing participants from the routines of their daily lives and their constant state of digital connectivity, Summit Journeys’ multi-day programs provide an opportunity to re-orient each participant’s relationships to technology and to the world around them. These programs are currently run in collaboration with the YMCA Mill Hollow and Camp Rogers Outdoor Education Centers in the High Uintas Wilderness of Utah.

Our programming provides a thread of consistency between youth participants’ day-long and multi-day experiences, and their lives at home. The progressive curriculum is made up of monthly local meet-ups offered throughout the year for past participants on our programs. These meet-ups vary in theme and focus as we collaborate with our youth leaders to listen to what they need and want. From wilderness medicine trainings, to weekend backcountry trips, to evening meet-ups around a fire, our continued engagements provide a space to integrate the skills and mindsets we develop into daily life and community.

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

– John Muir


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the Team

Martin Frey

Martin Frey is a successful business leader, tech investor and an accomplished mountaineer and sailor. In 2016 he set a Guinness World Record when he became the only person to successfully climb the world’s Seven Summits and sail the Seven Seas. Martin’s groundbreaking achievement follows a 30-year business career that included 13 years in Silicon Valley as a senior director for Cisco. In 2004 he moved to Utah, where he served as the managing director of the Utah Office of Economic Development developing and leading programs to create, grow and recruit Utah businesses. Martin’s efforts were instrumental in helping Governor Huntsman lay the foundation for a highly successful economic development model that continues to be recognized at a national level. Martin is passionate about inspiring the next generation of leaders and actively offers his time and talents to a wide array of organizations in the Utah community. He serves on the advisory boards for Brigham Young University College of Engineering, the University of Utah College of Humanities, the Academy for Creating Enterprise and Netsmartz, Utah’s K-12 digital wellness program.


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Melanie Ewing

Melanie is a successful and experienced community activator. She utilizes her unique skills of relationship building and event planning to bring together people and communities in novel, fun ways. With a background in public service, event planning and entrepreneurship, Melanie balances life as a mother of four with her work in entrepreneurship as she works to bring several new projects to life.


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Aaron Ogden

Aaron is a native Utahn who was raised in a family that actively embraced an outdoor lifestyle, using the four distinct seasons of Utah to become proficient at many outdoor activities. He graduated from the University of Utah in Exercise Science. Since sitting at a desk was not in his make-up, he pursued a career in health and fitness. Aaron is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine, has Reebok Neuromuscular Training, is a herbalist from School of Natural Healing, and is a Wilderness First Responder.

Aaron is dedicated to his own self-development using continued education, community service and physical activity that pushes his own abilities. Some of the adventures he has done are backpacking for 6 months across Alaska with just the pack on his back, many adventure races, and whitewater kayaking on more than 100 rivers, including the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. Each of these adventures strip the layers and help him to connect to who he really is.

Aaron has worked with many people and is continually amazed at how many people simply exercise for their health, but then do nothing to reward themselves for the effort put in.  For this reason, he founded KOLIfit, a company that prepares people with the fitness level and skills to accomplish amazing things outdoors. His passion is to help people to experience life in the great outdoors.

Aaron’s spirit animal is the Bear Cub: Work hard, play hard and learn all you can.


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Michelle Lockhart

Michelle has been a Registered Nurse for 32 years. During that time she has practiced at the bedside in Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine, and on the trauma team. She has been involved in education for the last 20 years beginning with teaching at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University Dental School to currently teaching in the Health Sciences department at Brigham Young University-Idaho. She has extensive experience in curriculum writing and program development. She developed several statewide health care programs for the Commonwealth of Virginia working with the Governor’s office. She also built the medical specialties programs for the Chesterfield Technical College in Chesterfield Virginia.

Michelle is a Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Health and Wellness Coach and an Therapeutic Nutrition Practitioner through the Institute of Functional Medicine and a Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She developed the highly successful MoreEnergy nutrition program. Her main focus is to provide nutrition and lifestyle education and coaching to those who want to take control of their disease risks and processes and live a healthier, more productive life.

She loves trying new things, learning everything about everything, and being outdoors and active. Most of all she loves her husband and their 7 kids, spouses and grandkids!


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Gordon Bruin

Gordon S. Bruin is an American Board Certified Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor who specializes in helping individuals heal and reclaim hope from the results of trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Gordon focuses on the whole person in the healing process, mind, body and spirit.  Gordon is trained in EMDR Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and some of the latest Somatic Therapeutic methods.  He has 30 years’ experience in providing individual, group and couples therapy as well as program development and managing highly effective clinical teams.  

He received a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology with Certificate in Addiction Studies from John F. Kennedy University and is also a graduate of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Leadership Institute. 

His passion is helping people find solutions to their challenges and to become more fully engaged in the process of healthy and joyful living.


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Eric Dooley-Feldman

Eric has worked in the field of outdoor and international education, wilderness therapy, and counseling for over 10 years. Throughout this time, he has designed, managed, and guided youth programs throughout the world- from Nepal, to Ecuador, to here in Utah. Eric holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Connecticut College, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Saybrook University, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Utah. On a personal level, Eric uses any free time he can muster to explore the beautiful mountains surrounding his home. Whether backcountry skiing, mountain biking, or trail running, Eric is happiest when he's outside and moving. Eric is certified medically as a Wilderness First Responder, and holds risk mitigation and group management as a top priority in youth programming. In addition to his current role as co-program director with Summit Journeys, Eric teaches Positive Psychology at the University of Utah for undergraduate and graduate students, and coaches alpine ski racing with the Rowland Hall school.


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Stella Liechty

Stella has worked and played outdoors since she can remember – the wonder she felt on her first backpacking trip in the San Francisco Bay at 7 is still there with every desert trip or backcountry tour. A Utah native, Stella has worked as a camp counselor through high school, taught skiing for four years at Snowbird through college, and worked in the outdoor industry in numerous capacities in between, she knows the Wasatch trails and secret swimming holes well and finds great joy in helping the next generation of outdoors people find connection with the earth and outdoor play. Stella has a B.S. in Multi-Disciplinary Design from the University of Utah and is pursuing an M.F.A in Social Design at the School of Visual Arts in NYC where she hopes to continue her work in outdoor education and adventure at a global scale. In her free time, Stella can be found skiing, climbing, practicing yoga & most recently learning to whitewater SUP and venturing into the world of ski mountaineering. Stella is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

 

 “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” 

– T.S. Eliot


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Partners

 
 
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Summit Wellness

Summit Wellness takes an integrative approach in helping individuals connect to their greatest potential. Through nutrition, fitness, and mental health, Summit Wellness offers personalized assessment and training programs for individuals and organizations.

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Venture Out!

Venture Out! is a 501(c)3 non-profit in Millcreek that hosts weekly festivals that are free for the community on Friday evenings. Summit Journeys and Venture Out! have partnered to provide outdoor adventures for youth in the Millcreek community before each weekly festival.

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YMCA of Northern Utah

Summit Journeys and the YMCA of Northern Utah collaborate to offer 5-day to 3-week overnight programs for youth ages 10-17 in the High Uintas and Wasatch wilderness areas.

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Get Screen Smart

Get Screen Smart is dedicated to helping people develop and maintain healthy digital habits. Through tools, experiential activities, and trainings, Get Screen Smart assists schools, families and individuals in establishing healthy relationships to technology.


With Additional Support from

Gregory Packs

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