Who We Are
LifeWays is based out of Durango, CO, which lies in the beautiful four corners area: “where the desert meets the mountains.” Our access to public land is unmatched. Upon arriving to the Animas River Valley, you feel the natural world’s gravity, wonder, and beauty. This deep connection to land, to a sense of place, and the natural rhythm of our earth deeply informs all aspects of LifeWays services, values, and how we strive to be in relationship with students and our community.
All of our guides have 7 plus years of experience working with teens and adults as outdoor professionals. No other company prioritizes a model that provides students with access to wilderness skill, rites-of-passage experience and therapeutic skills with sustained relationship before, during, and after wilderness programs. We are leading the industry in or effort to prioritize long-term, heart-centered relationships with students and our planet.
To do so, LifeWays implements evidence-based, therapeutic mentorship strategies in our relationship with our students and in the writing of our curriculum. Our curriculum focuses on the Four Rooms of the whole person: Mind, Body, Heart, and Soul. Nervous system, mind-body connection, nature-map of the psyche, and trauma informed trainings round out our approach to working with our students. We believe our framework and our capacity to build relationship quickly and genuinely, honors the student's unique path while holding them accountable.
Locally (La Plata County, CO), we are offering the LifeWays framework to our non-profit partnership with La Plata Youth Services (LPYS) and their Radical Possibilities (RP) Program. Through our LPYS-LifeWays Partnership we are able to draw consistent client referrals for students who would otherwise never have access to this type of wrap around service. All participating students through the LPYS network are receiving weekly mentorship and will join LifeWays for one backcountry course this summer. Our partnership with LPYS has made this project possible, particularly in our effort to support our local community and families, while honoring our values of social/ecological justice and community. We hope this is a lasting partnership that continues to support the youth and families of La Plata County.
From day one, LifeWays is conducting evidence-based research to test the intersection of mentorship and outdoor programming longitudinally. No other outdoor mentorship program is actively researching the efficacy of its programming from day one! Check out our Student Research Survey!
Most outdoor “therapeutic” models operate as in-patient “treatment centers.” LifeWays LLC is NOT a treatment center and this is NOT Therapy. Instead, we are a voluntary program, community, and network, promoting proactive, preventative, and formative therapeutic skills to support students’ resiliency, self-awareness, and passion. We are in the business of bringing nature, formative outdoor experiences, and therapeutic skills to our students. Find your path with the LifeWays team! Choose your guide, today!
Our Partners and Affiliations
Our programs and services are not possible without these supports!
LifeWays will serve as an independent contractor for La Plata Youth Services (LPYS) implementing its Radical Possibilities mentorship program in a front country and backcountry setting for male-identifying students, ages 14-18. Referred and approved students of La Plata County will be paired with LifeWays guides from May 1st to Oct 1st and will meet in person for 2-4 hrs per week. The summer mentorship program will also include a 5 night, 6 day Intro to Backpacking and Mindfulness Course in the San Juan National Forest. Backcountry Course dates: July 18th- July 23th and Aug 1- Aug 6th. We are excited to partner with LPYS in our pilot year to serve students and families of La Plata County!
If interested, please complete this referral form through La Plata Youth Services. LifeWays/LPYS staff will be in touch.
This opportunity for La Plata County students and families is also supported and made possible by the United Way of Southwest Colorado and the City of Durango. LPYS is a Team UP La Plata partner for our summer scholarship program. For additional financial aid services and access to all Team UP Approved Programs for the Summer of 2023 please complete and reference this application for more information!