Member Spotlight: Collin

Member Spotlight,

Meet Collin Rhoade!

collinCollin (he/him/his) grew up in Elkhart, Indiana and now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where he is the Co-Founder, Program Director and Lead Therapist at Inner Trek

Tell us a bit about what you do at your organization. 
In one part, I'm a therapist, meeting mostly with teens and young adults, often times using adventure-therapy based interventions (ranging from walk and talk sessions, experiential oriented interventions, or weaving in interactions with nature into the process). In the second part, I'm part of a team of 3 (which also include my wife, Brittany, and my brother-in-law, Brogan) where we facilitate outdoor/adventure experiences that include a focus on mental wellness. Practically, this typically looks like camping weekends or single day events that include a variety of activities that focus on connection with others, connections with ourselves, and connection with the world around us. We'll talk about things like being away from technology, increased awareness of our body, thoughts, or relationships, closeness with nature, responding to new experiences or challenges, our values and beliefs, etc. We also host retreat days for other therapists or helping professionals.
Tell us more about yourself! 
I started out my journey into therapy as a Field Guide at a Wilderness Therapy program. I eventually went back to school and got my masters in counseling. Along the way, I got married. We had kids, and then added a few more. Currently we're a family of 6, made up of my wife and I, twin boys (7), and to daughters (4 and 9 months). We started Inner Trek in 2020 and it's slowly been evolving since that time. I enjoy being outdoors. I also enjoy running - it helps my own sense of presence, gratitude, and I enjoy the camaraderie, either casually or preparing for longer distance races. My family and I also enjoy rock climbing. We have a big garden each year where we grow mainly vegetables, and also own chickens (I think it's valuable to have connection to various circles of life and closer connection to our food, as well as a great teaching tool for the kids).
What excites you when you think about the future of Experiential Education?
I'm mostly excited about the way experiential education might be able to change the landscape of society's associations to therapy. In general, I think it's not hard to consider how most people (speaking more specifically about Americans) can benefit from intentional time in community and in an outdoor environment. But I hope we might get to a place where Experiential Education and Adventure Therapy lead the way in helping people make a larger shift in how they live their lives and their values so that we, as a society, can better respond to some of the larger conundrums of our time (mental health crisis, impacts of climate change, racial justice, equity, and inclusion).
Who or what inspires you?
It's inspiring to hear stories and even just be in close proximity to individuals who have been doing this work for such a long time and have seen the field change and develop over time. It's also always inspiring to see someone I don't know and who may be new to the field or have a looser connection to the field do something entirely differently and have great success in its impact and sustainability.
In your free time, we can probably find you:
I don't feel like I get a lot of free time these days, but you'd probably find me running or outside doing something, possibly playing guitar or piano
How long have you been involved with AEE?
I've been involved in AEE for about 3 or 4 years. I think my involvement mostly started when I listened to Kim Sacksteder on a podcast and mustered up the courage to contact her (mostly because she sounded so friendly and like she'd be willing to talk to just about anyone who wanted to get more involved/know more about the field). Since then I've been to a few TAPG conferences, the AEE conference in Asheville in 2022, and got to present a workshop at the most recent TAPG Conference in Portland, OR.
What is the most rewarding part about being a Member of AEE?
Feeling like you're a part of larger body pushing this work forward is really significant. For the most part, I think people are very willing to connect, collaborate, and help you find your way into this work, especially if you're new or are a student.
Favorite Moment at AEE?
A memorable AEE/TAPG moment was the conclusion of the TAPG Best Practices Conference in 2021. We went up the mountain to conclude the conference and took part in a closing ceremony. I was so appreciative of all the things that had unfolded that weekend, the friends I had made, and those who had a hand in welcoming me into the community. Following that "emotional high" of closing the ceremony, I decided to run back down the trails to the base of the mountain, not being totally sure I could do it or whether I'd end up in the right spot. It was the perfect culmination of so many things I loved mixed with an adventure, some level of risk, and unknown. 

Find Collin here:; 513-201-5858

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