Spencer has been doing Recreation Therapy long before he knew what it was. Heavily involved with The Boy Scouts of America when he was younger, Spencer took part in and often organized high adventure trips for younger scouts, focusing on expanding their comfort zone and doing hard things. In high school, Spencer joined an anti-bullying club that travelled to other high schools, facilitating activities that broke down walls and increased human connection for freshmen. In college, Spencer continued to use activities to lift up others, through cross-country skiing and pottery making with a mental health program for students, teaching mountain biking and climbing with the outdoor activities program, and star-gazing and mountain climbing between semesters at school with wilderness therapy programs for adolescents. Spencer graduated with a bachelor’s in Recreation Therapy in 2020 from Brigham Young University of Idaho. He moved on to complete a 14-week internship at a therapeutic boarding school in Utah, teaching adolescents about positive psychology and using skiing and snowboarding to increase their self-efficacy. Spencer received his Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) certificate and his Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (TRS) license in 2021.
A forever-teenager at heart, Spencer has wanted to work with adolescents since he was one himself. Many experiences when he was younger taught Spencer that life can be difficult and confusing, especially as a teenager, but it is also a wondrous and beautiful thing. After discovering this realization on his own and seeing so many friends in high school struggle, Spencer knew he wanted a career where he could help teenagers experience the beauty in life for themselves.
Originally wanting to be a mix of Mark Twain, Indiana Jones, and Bear Grylls, Spencer has always loved stories, the outdoors, and experiencing all he can in life. When working with teenagers, combining his love for books and metaphor, the outdoors, and experiential learning comes naturally as tools for therapy.
Throughout his life, Spencer has seen first-hand how powerful activity-based interventions can be. From seeing high school freshmen and seniors engaged in deep conversations about human connection, to laughing in the pouring rain with others on Scout trips, Spencer believes experiences are the best way for us to learn and grow. A favorite moment of Spencer’s from working in this field is from a wilderness therapy shift as a guide in 2019. After hours of hiking in the heat, his group reached the summit plateau of the highest peak in the La Sal mountains. One of the students reached the top, sat on a rock, looked over the red cliffs of Moab below, and said in accomplishment, “this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”. Spencer strives for all of his students to experience that same empowerment. In his life, Spencer wants everyone to believe in the quote by Bear Grylls, “our achievements are generally limited only by the beliefs we impose on ourselves”. Spencer always strives to break down artificial beliefs in himself. In his free time, Spencer loves climbing to new heights, reaching faster speeds on his mountain bike, and reading stories of adventure.