“It is an essential part of the Blackwater Experience. It helped [my son] integrate what he discovered into his family interactions and gave him time, with evidence, to come up with a viable plan for the future”
HISTORY OF BLACKWATER
Blackwater Outdoor Experiences is the passion project of Dr. George Bright. Founded in 1980 as a week-long program aimed at developing leaderships and social skills in adolescents through wilderness experiences, BOE has adapted over the years to the needs of those we serve. From week-long, to weekend length programs, from adolescents to young adults, for those with mental health issues, to those with social processing needs, BOE has continually offered transformational programs for the youth of the greater Richmond community and beyond.
Currently, BOE specializes in providing therapeutic wilderness expeditions to adolescents and young adults with substance abuse and mental health issues. Over the course of our flagship 22-day expeditions, participants find themselves canoeing, backpacking, and climbing their way to sounder mental health and sobriety.
Blackwater distinguishes itself within the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) industry firstly by being the only provider to staff a Master’s level Field Therapist on site, around the clock, for the entirety of our programming. For 22 days, our Field Therapists live, eat, and sleep alongside our participants because we know emotional breakdowns and breakthroughs don’t happen on a set schedule. Our guarantee to those we serve is that they will not be without credentialed therapeutic guidance when it is needed most.
Secondly, Blackwater is the only expedition-based OBH program in the state of Virginia. You’ll need to head as far north as Vermont or south to our neighbors in North Carolina to find anything remotely like the programming offered by BOE.
TODAY AT BLACKWATER
We are partnered with the Adolescent and Family Health Center
We have partnered with Longwood University for research on stress hormones and alternative therapies
We are striving for Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Accreditation
George M. Bright, M.D.
Founder, Owner, and Medical Director
Dr. Bright has devoted a majority of his career towards working with adolescents, young adults and families who struggle with emotional, academic and social challenges. Additionally, Dr. Bright works with individuals who are trying to free themselves from their dependance on alcohol or drugs.
Program Director & Logistics Officer
Andrew has eight years experience working with high school age students in small group settings facilitating leadership skills and self-discovery with Rotary International. He is a passionate advocate for the preservation of our outdoor shared spaces and is excited to share his wilderness skills and his perspectives.
Stan Tebbe, M.A., L.P.C.
Family Therapist AHC
vStan brings to BOE and AFHC over 30 years of experience in areas of substance abuse, adolescent and family counseling, anger management and corporate teamwork. Prior to joining AFHC, Stan served in the capacities of therapist, consultant, and administrator with several community services boards since 1973.
Sarah Cazares, MSW
Sarah has over three years of experience working with adolescents in the school setting. She has always found healing through the outdoors and is very excited to begin working at Blackwater Outdoor Experiences in June 2017.
Margie L. Crow, L.C.S.W.
Mrs. Crow brings to Blackwater Outdoor Experiences (BOE) and Adolescent & Family Health Center (AFHC) a deep understanding of the needs of families and expertise in family counseling from over 30 years in practice including 15 years of directing community mental health programs.
Nick Czapla, M.Ed.
Field Therapist and Admissions Counselor
Working with Nick, trip participants can expect a practical, goal-driven approach that is rooted in evidence-based therapy modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focussed Brief Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy. He has worked in a variety of settings and roles including high schools as a mental health counselor, colleges as a career counselor, and wilderness specializing in trauma, addiction, and depression. Education: Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.Ed) from Kent State University, Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Bucknell University
Brandon Wright, WFR
Therapeutic Field Guide
Many of our trip participants express that Brandon’s positive regard along with his challenge by choice and lead-by-example approach made them feel comfortable and confident from the start. Having previous experience as a sober living house manager, Brandon has also helped many of our trip participants process the details of their aftercare plan and envision a brighter future moving forward. Brandon combines his years of backcountry skills and training with a person-centered approach to direct client care.
Specialized Training: Wilderness First Responder (WFR); Wilderness First Aid and CPR