Ben D

Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Ben’s love for the outdoors began as a youngster. At age 3, Ben’s parents brought him to the slopes of Mt Hood, where he slowly learned to ski alongside his older brother. His love for the mountains kept him coming back, as he would go skiing almost every weekend from then on until college. Around age 8, Ben took up whitewater kayaking alongside his brother and father, exploring rivers all over the Pacific Northwest. Later on as a high schooler, Ben developed an interest in distance running, much to the delight of his mother. Running trails on weekdays and exploring snow and water on weekends, Ben developed a lasting appreciation for the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

After high school, Ben attended Santa Clara University in the Bay Area, where he studied psychology and philosophy and competed for the team’s Cross Country and Track program. In the summer of 2019, Ben began a fellowship through his university, which allowed him to visit wilderness therapy programs in Oregon and Utah and interview adolescents and adults about their experiences in the field. That summer, Ben heard many stories about immense healing and growth in wilderness, and as a result he ultimately decided to pursue a career in wilderness therapy after graduation. Ben has been at Elements since June of 2020, and so far finds the job equal parts challenging and rewarding.

In his spare time, Ben enjoys exploring whitewater in Colorado and Idaho, scrambling up rocks, car camping, paying too much attention to sports, and skiing. He hopes to become (at least) a mediocre guitar player, and to someday read books regularly.