The call of the wild is very real. For Aaron, it was but a smoldering ember which only glowed through his curiosity for the natural world. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, camping was not part of the family agenda but exploring the local preserves on his own was a near daily ritual. It wasn’t until after serving in the Marines that Aaron acknowledged his passion for nature through the healing abilities wilderness is known for. Aaron has been on a mission to share the rewards of a meaningful connection to nature with others, especially the nature deficient, for several years now. Most recently, Aaron has been designing and implementing wilderness therapy programs for at-risk youth and veterans as well as leveraging the challenges of the backcountry to educate groups and strengthen teams. Adventures Accessed is like NOLS, The Nature Conservancy and a hippy commune had a kid.
“I chose this path because nature has been an outlet for me. It has helped me find myself and be myself. When I came home from the Marines in 2008 I had a rough transition. I made a quick pivot from fire-team leader in Iraq to freshmen in college and the adjustment was not smooth. I was alone and dealt with issues like many veterans do: I’d wash them down with alcohol. As I made my way through college and the civilian workforce I felt successful but never felt in place or at peace. I suffered panic attacks at work from artificial stress and would retreat to the national parks and national forests to decompress. It was a natural calling – to see the trees, hear the birds and breath the life of the forest which truthfully rejuvenates me.”
Aaron is a member of the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program.