Staff Spotlight: Shelley Wilson

Shelley started out as a field guide here at Summit, and for the past two years has been in a position of leadership within our program department and organization. In her role she helps manage logistics for the field staff, assists with admissions, and even finds time to help out with marketing and social media! She’s got an infectious, bright personality and we’re all so grateful to have her on our team! 

How long have you been working at Summit? What is your current role? 

I have been working at Summit for just over 3 years! I started as a Field Guide back in October 2020 and I have been working in my current role as Field Director for almost 2 years.

Tell us about yourself! What about your life/background drew you to working at Summit?

I first recognized my love for both the outdoors and for guiding youth at Camp Jewell, a YMCA camp in Colebrook, CT. After facing my own mental health struggles during my Junior year of college, I went back to the place I had gained so much confidence and vibrant energy as a kid. I worked at Camp Jewell as a summer camp counselor and gleaned great purpose from working with kids and teens, especially those who struggle due to their own mental health issues or difficult pasts. After graduating from Fairfield University with a degree in Psychology and concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience, I went to work as a Teachers Assistant in the West Hartford Public School System in CT. I was a TA at an alternative therapeutic school and then in an intensive behavioral program. Upon discovering the field of Wilderness Therapy, I decided I wanted to work with those same kids, but outside in nature! I booked a one-way ticket to Wyoming and received my Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator certification and Wilderness First Responder from National Outdoor Leadership School and after a couple months of road-tripping out West, made my way back to New England and landed at the door of Summit Achievement. 

What is your favorite part about working at Summit?

My favorite part about working at Summit is bearing witness to students climbing up through the program from places of despair, anxiety, or insecurity with incredible strength and arriving at places of great self-confidence, self-love, awareness, and vitality. 

What is one thing you wish you could tell students who are thinking about enrolling at Summit? 

This too shall pass. You will get out of Summit what you put in. Sometimes it is easier to surrender to the program as opposed to resisting it. The six or seven– maybe eight weeks– will go by all the more quickly and you will get more out of it if you lean into the process. We can all benefit from time in nature and time working on ourselves. You are not alone. Nobody has arrived where they are because life has been easy or kind in every moment. Keep your head high and be kind to yourself! 

What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time I hike 4,000 foot mountains as I work to complete hiking the NH 48. I cycle indoors and outdoors and go on bike-packing trips with my mom. I enjoy painting, live music, watching reality TV, cleaning my apartment, attempting to cook, and spending time with friends and family.