Member Spotlight: Jackie

Member Spotlight,

Meet Jackie Spithill!

jackie sJackie(she/her/hers) grew up all over the US and now lives on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Jackie works in Adventure based therapy and is a counselor in training at Pure Life Adventure, and is also studying at Prescott College

Tell us a bit about what you do at your organization. 

I support the clinical team at the Pure Life Adventure Therapy program in Costa Rica. I help facilitate group therapy and individual sessions and support the guide team with clinical training. I do field visits to support our clients, including various activities from surfing to rafting to backpacking.

Tell us more about yourself! 

Jackie feels most alive when she is active and connected to nature.  She began working in the outdoor active travel industry over a decade ago and enjoys sharing the fun active travel brings to her clients.  From a young age, Jackie possessed an inherent talent for creating a secure environment where individuals could embrace their true selves and openly express their thoughts and emotions.  

Jackie's fervor lies in providing unwavering support to individuals as they navigate their personal growth journeys.  She firmly believes everyone has the inherent capacity to attain emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.  With this belief as her guiding principle, Jackie is dedicated to empowering others on their paths toward holistic health.

Jackie took on a life-changing role working for Powerful Beyond Measure, a non-profit organization supporting adolescent girls from California in Africa.  The time spent in Africa gave Jackie the clarity to pursue her graduate and post-graduate education journey at Prescott College, where she is currently enrolled to complete her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  Her love for adventure and supporting others led Jackie to specialize in Experiential Adventure-based Counseling.  Jackie uses a combination of Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused, and strength-based therapeutic techniques to help clients build resilience and create change in their lives.

Jackie's mission is to create an environment where clients can wholeheartedly embrace the chance for growth, reflection, and resilience.  By nurturing this transformative experience, she hopes to provide the necessary space and tools for individuals to push beyond their comfort zones, enabling them to fully explore their potential for personal development, discover their inner strength, and embark on a journey of self-empowerment.

More about Jackie's Work Journey! 

Upon completing my undergraduate work in Psychology, I have embarked on an incredible journey: from the Magic of Disney in Orlando to climbing the corporate ladder in the Big Apple, on to the "Pura Vida" of Costa Rica, and finally to explore the world guiding trips with Backroads Active Travel for the past 12 years. Embracing new cultures and ways of life has expanded my professional talents and ability to work well with all types of people. An internship at Disney World gave me invaluable lessons in delivering the highest value to clientele. Competing successfully in several business development roles in the incomparable atmosphere of New York City gave me the confidence and experience to do well anywhere. In two years, I built a business from the ground up in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. I created a destination experience where people worldwide experienced the magic the country and its culture have to offer. After Jungle Creek sold, I started my next adventure at Backroads Active Travel. I have been guiding groups of people worldwide, from Glacier National Park to Croatia to Peru and, of course, to Costa Rica. In my twelve years at Backroads, I have been trained to handle all levels of logistics, from private charter planes to trains to private sailboats on the Adriatic Sea.

Serving others has always been my passion, so I have embarked on my educational journey, studying to be a licensed counseling practitioner with my master's degree from Prescott College. I spent over a year applying my new education in counseling as a field guide in an adventure-based therapy program in Costa Rica. I am gaining clinical experience during my practicum at Pure Life, where I have switched roles from guide to counselor. I aim to work with young adults in nature, combining adventure and counseling practices to help my clients live a fulfilling and joyful life.

What excites you when you think about the future of Experiential Education?
I am excited to see how this field is growing !
Who or what inspires you?
The therapists at the site I work out continually inspire me as they navigate the demands of high case loads and supporting their clients reach their therapeutic goals.
In your free time, we can probably find you:
Out in the waves on my surf board
How long have you been involved with AEE?
I am a new member and got involved to help my professional development
What is the most rewarding part about being a Member of AEE?

Find Jackie here: @jackiespithill on instagram and facebook.

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