PARKER BOUNDS JOHNSON FOUNDATION

Leadership Team

Parker Bounds Johnson

Parker's imagination was always out of the box and outside of the lines. He was a deep thinker and a dreamer-- a lot like his Grandpapa. He dreamed BIG. He dreamed globally. He dreamed universally beyond the stratosphere far into space. He led his life with his heart and everyone who truly knows him will vouch for this fact. He believed in loyalty and honesty and being real. He believed in family and belonging and love. He believed in his country and he loved the principles for which it stands--especially freedom and honor. He believed in his teammates and brotherhood. He believed in being humble and helping others without drawing attention to himself. He loved trees and children and animals. He believed in helping the underdog even at his own inconvenience or peril. He did this since the time when he was very young standing up to the school yard bully. He gave the shirt off his back and the last change in his pocket to a homeless man. He cared so much that it hurt. It finally hurt too much.

Parker's experience in Wilderness Therapy in the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina in the Fall of 2009 was an experience that changed the course of his life and gave him some of his very brightest years as a young adult. He said in Wilderness the fog lifted and he found himself again. He felt at peace and a sense of self-reliance he had forgotten and most importantly he felt hope for his future. We are certain that this time in Wilderness Therapy gave him and us 5 more priceless years together on earth.

As a family, Parker, Dan, Liz and sister Breanna actively talked and dreamed about doing something to help get more young people to Wilderness. A place, a movement, a community...we even talked about how we would build it and what roles each of us would play. Parker even laughed out loud when we asked him, "what role are you going to play?" and he replied, "I will be at the top. I will be overseeing everything. I will be like the head counselor." He then said, "let's do this!" Well the irony is that it now seems that he is taking the lead role in making this happen. He feels very much alive in our hearts as he inspires us to forge ahead and make his dream a reality to help other young people just like him find their way through Wilderness Therapy and beyond.

The world needs more dreamers. The dreamers are those who can see beyond what is and imagine something better. Thank you Parker for your vision and for inspiring us to "just do this!"

Liz
Bounds

My privilege as Parker's and Breanna's mother has shaped me above all else. My children have become my greatest teachers--my dearest treasures on this earth and beyond life. A catastrophic and unfathomable loss occurred that changed me and the course of my life forever. Our son, Parker, took his own life after several difficult years of struggle and suffering just days before his 24th birthday. My grief and healing journey has taken me on a quest for deeper understanding of his plight and of others who may be suffering like he did. It has become my persistent wish to now do something useful to serve these young people who are hurting so deeply. A passionate idea of Parker’s that he enthusiastically shared a short time before his passing is now coming to life under his name: Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation--or PBJWilderness4Life.org

A few facts for the record: I earned my Bachelor or Arts Degree in Business Administration at the University of Washington and an Associates Degree in Interior Design at Portland Community College. I have owned and operated a business in residential and vacation property management for over 30 years. I have been an Interior Designer for nearly 20 years. I have worked for JCPenney as a buyer and merchandise manager and at Nordstom in commission sales. As a teenager I worked through school as utility worker for the City of Bellevue and as a lifeguard and taught swimming lessons to students from pre-school to the elderly at Edgebrook Club and for Bellevue and Mercer Island Park & Recreation. I worked my way through university at Puget Sound Power & Light Company that granted me a 4 year full ride scholarship to the UW. I have taught private art lessons. I have distributed phone books and delivered newspapers door to door. I even owned and operated a pop machine with my husband when we were first married.

My volunteer involvement revolved around my kids--Breanna and Parker, animals, and art. I was enthusiastically involved in the Art Literacy Programs in the Reedville and Beaverton Public Schools for many years. I was selected as a graphic artist for large projects in schools when I was a teenager as well as an adult. I have been involved in my kid's scouting and sports teams and was an assistant to Parker's Barbarian Rugby team--a true highlight. I have been a lifelong personal advocate for the humane treatment of animals and was an involved volunteer at the Oregon Humane Society. I am the Oregon group facilitator of Helping Parents Heal--a grief and healing support group for parents who have lost a child and for their grieving family members and close friends.

Interests lead me toward nature, exercise, family, friends and animals. I am a supporter of Best Friends Animal Society and even visited Angel Canyon in Kanab, Utah with my daughter. We had all just celebrated Parker’s graduation from In Balance Transitional Living in Tucson AZ and were heading back to Oregon. I am a vegetarian. I am learning to climb really big trees. I am a beginning urban bee keeper waiting for my first swarm. I garden. I hike. I backpack. I scuba dive. I ski. I am learning to kite board. I kayak. I water ski. I have run all 200 miles over 12 years from Mt Hood to Seaside in the Hood to Coast Relay with my team. I am privately learning to play the drums in my basement as therapy. I am beginning to practice Xi Gong and Yoga. I draw. I paint. I used to sew all my own clothes. I love animals and have had several pet house rabbits among an array of many scaled, feathered and furry beings. My recent claim to fame is I can make rice crispy treats using just one pan and one spatula. I especially love to spend time with young people and talk about deep subjects about life, the earth, the universe and beyond.

When I am outdoors in the wild places--whether it be oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, mountains, deserts or jungles--in any season-- I can breathe. I can shed my skin. My sadness and anxiety can lift. I feel renewed, nurtured and even empowered when I am in Wilderness. It feels healing of mind, body and spirit and reminds me what is essential. This love of wild places feels innate to my spirit. And it is a gift that has been nurtured by my family to whom I am grateful. I'd like to play a small part in paying this gift forward for another as I honor the legacy of my son's life. It had a significant impact on Parker when he received the gift of healing through a wilderness therapy program

Dan
Johnson

Daniel Johnson is father of Parker Bounds Johnson and Breanna Bounds Johnson and husband of Liz Bounds.

Liz, Breanna and Parker are the love of his life. He has devoted his hands, back, brain, and heart to them. “All that I am, have, do, and dream, is because of them." He was born and raised on a farm in Sunnyside Wa. He has three brothers and four sisters. He learned at a young age to work hard and play hard. He doesn’t sit still well. He would much rather be outside in adventure with family or friends, or working on a “project”. He loves people.

Dan graduated from the University of Washington in 1985 with a BS degree in Construction Management. He went on to construct large commercial projects in San Diego for 5 years before moving “home” to Portland and going to work for Skanska USA Building. In 27 years, he rose in the ranks to become the Vice President of Operations for Skanska’s $450M Portland operations. He has had a hand in many projects covering the Portland, Central Oregon and SW Washington region. He says “Construction is a “people” business like no other. Im lucky to love what I do with great people". His great joy is to witness the success people develop and the benefits that personal and professional growth provides them and their families.

Dan has worked his whole life "making things happen". He has great vision, creativity, organizational and leadership skills. He has proven abilities at turning a vision into actions and reality. He has done a significant amount of public speaking, and has the ability to motivate and inspire.

Dan has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact addiction, substance abuse, mental health challenges and suicide can have on people and their families. He has also seen the power of "Wilderness" and other treatment programs that return young adults back into the arms of their families and friends healthy and with renewed hope for their futures. Dan is committed to sharing with families the possibilities for treatment for their loved ones, supporting the good work of the American Foundation Suicide Prevention and as Parker dreamed--"send one kid a year to Wilderness."

Lynette
Spencer
LCSW, CCAT

I value authenticity and kindness in every personal and professional relationship. I have an investment in the human experience and believe that each person I encounter is the expert on their own life. I thrive when I can let my attention wander, which is best accomplished while swimming laps and walking or hiking outside. The immersive nothingness of the underwater experience and the birdsong on the trail are equally rivaled, but hiking brings about a creativity I don’t get elsewhere. Reading comes in spurts but rarely disappoints, and I am hard-pressed to miss my weekly Thursday morning watercolor class.

I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Social Work from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Masters of Science degree in Social Work from Aurora University. I am licensed as a clinical social worker (LCSW) in the states of Illinois and Utah, and a Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist (CCAT). I have worked in a variety of clinical and administrative social work settings, including inpatient and outpatient behavioral healthcare, crisis intervention, home healthcare, and clinical supervision, in both nonprofit and private practice settings.

Servant leadership is important to me; throughout the years my committee work includes a focus on hospital ethics, juvenile justice, county-wide fundraising, and nonprofit partnership. I deeply value my past executive leadership opportunities with the DeKalb County (IL) Trauma Informed Committee, the Association of Experiential Education and Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group, and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council.

After 30-plus years of parenting, marriage, and my social work career, I have gained the gift of perspective. I’m the first to admit my mistakes and I have learned from them. A growth mindset and believing in goodness are my greatest treasures. I believe that within any one of life’s many challenges, there is hope. I am passionate about and work to achieve whole-self relationships, honoring what feels right, while asserting and establishing healthy boundaries.

I am truly excited and proud to serve as executive director for Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation. This role allows me to honor Parker and his family while fulfilling the mission of serving young people and their families in need of mental and behavioral health support. It’s not just a position; it’s a heartfelt commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those who require assistance. I look forward to contributing my skills, passion, and dedication to lead the Foundation towards creating lasting change and promoting the wellbeing of those we serve.

Tyler
Holmer,
Ed.S, NCSP

I am a childhood friend of Parker’s who grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools, and participated in many of the same activities growing up. Parker and I both played high school rugby and football together. Memories made during this time, in particular our rugby memories are something that I will cherish for a lifetime.

Helping people is something that I have always been passionate about, which naturally led me to the field of education. I received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Willamette University and then received an Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology from the graduate school at Lewis & Clark College. I am currently working as a School Psychologist at a middle school in the Battle Ground School District.

My job affords me the opportunity to work with amazing kids who with added support, resources, and positive opportunities, I have witnessed the resilience they have to fight whatever struggle they may be having. Nature is one of those resources that I believe invaluable to expose young people to and one that I personally use as a coping skill to deal with life’s daily challenges.

Helping to connect struggling youth with the power of nature through PBJF is why I find so much value in being involved with this foundation.

Chase
Bittner

Chase Bittner recently returned to the States after 2 years living abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. While overseas, Chase ran the US sales market and helped to facilitate the day to day operations for an internship placement company which helped international students to study and work abroad in Southern Africa, as well as became a founding member who ran operations and project management for a progressive, forward thinking travel company. Chase now resides in Los Angeles, California where he helped to open a newly Michelin Plated restaurant in the down town area.

Chase’s connection to Parker, the healing power of nature and ultimately the Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation dates back to a therapeutic ski/snowboard trip in January 2010 where Parker was a new arrival in Arizona to a transitional living program. For years Chase helped to co-develop, grow and facilitate therapeutically lead experiences where his understanding of the power of nature proved more transformative and healing than psychotherapy alone. These experiences ranged from ski/snowboard trips at the company cabin in the White Mountains, to annual 5-7 day backpacking trips to the Havasupi Waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, to immersion/volunteer trips in townships in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Chase studied clinical Social Work at Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Social Work, Graduated Magna Cum Laude in College of Public Programs. A natural healer with the gift of intuition and an insightful understanding of the human condition, Chase acts as an adviser and consultant to those seeking a deeper sense of self and more meaning in their lives. Passionate about the heart and mind opening experiences that only travel can yield, his current mission is to help facilitate mindful travel opportunities for those seeking a deeper perspective of life into Southern Africa. Grateful for a brilliant network of worldly friends due to his natural ability to make connections, Chase invites everyone to “travel while you can with empathy and compassion".

A well-versed Behavioral Health Technician at In Balance Continuum of Care with 8 years experience in outpatient, inpatient, and transitional living settings as lead staff, Chase established therapeutic relationship with residents, acted as role model in maintaining hopeful and positive attitude in problem-solving and coping with disabilities associated with mental health challenges, provided support to assist in the recovery process, led therapeutic groups, planned follow-up and aftercare programs for clients, facilitated interventions, facilitated spirituality and healthy living groups, counselled clients to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, and making changes, supervised and trained staff in implementing health programs, objectives, and goals; adhered to laws of confidentiality, participated in individual and weekly group supervision, treatment reviews and other agency meetings as necessary, attended case conference, supervision, departmental, and outside meetings and training as requested, conferred with other counsellors in order to analyse individual cases and to coordinate counselling services, conducted outcome studies for graduates/ discharged clients, and maintained professional code of conduct at all times.

Chase has strong sales, leadership and relationship-building skills. Excellent verbal, listening and writing skills. Adept at multitasking to achieve individual and team goals. Diverse vocational experience includes sales, group facilitation, client-centered empowerment, clinical supervision, and interventions. Extensive knowledge of human and industry behavior and performance, mental processes and assessment methods.

Chase’s personal creed is to live life encouraging affirmative community and inspiring emotionally safe spaces for everyone to tell their story.

Matt
Wood

Matt joined A Circle of Hope in 2018 after working for over 8 years in the fields of Wilderness Therapy and Residential Treatment. After attending the National Outdoor Leadership School, Matt worked as a field guide for wilderness therapy groups, including groups designed for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

His ongoing work in the field of residential treatment focused on young adult transition and substance abuse recovery. Matt's personal and professional experience help him to provide insights on many levels while families in crisis navigate the therapeutic process.

Matt enjoys all things outdoors, including rock climbing, and is excited to work with Wild Hearts and PBJ to help wilderness graduates stay connected to Nature, and sustain the skills they learned in the programs they attended.

Jason
Ledesma

Ricky
Becker,
MSW, LCSW

My life experience is founded on the transformative power of nature and the outdoors have had on growth and change throughout my life and the integral part it has played in my dynamic therapeutic approach. I trace this back to my rural roots from where I was born and raised in a small town (White Salmon) in The Cascade Mountains of Washington State. I later earned my Bachelor of Arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and my Masters of Social Work in Oregon at Portland State University. I have spent the better part of the last ten years working in the wilderness therapy field, further developing my passion for serving others and influencing change.

I found my calling in 2007 as a wilderness therapy field guide. For three years I tirelessly dedicated myself to the work until I earned a role as the field supervisor. Wanting more clinical and educational experience, I enrolled into Portland State University’s School of Social Work.

During my graduate program I focused on youth struggling with mental health and addictions both as a case manager and an addictions counselor. I continued to explore the complex issues of youth and mental illness as a school social worker at an alternative high school in the Portland metro area, until I received my graduate degree.

After graduating in 2012, I quickly returned to wilderness therapy as a therapist for an emerging wilderness therapy program in Wisconsin. When the company opened a new field area in Bend, Oregon, I played an integral role in developing foundational elements of the new program as a Primary Therapist and most recently as Clinical Director.

I am a trained level II Brainspotting (BSP) specialist. My focus is on attachment therapy, family systems and trauma informed care. I specialize in the treatment and placement of adolescents and young adults experiencing acute and complex mental health and addiction struggles. I belong to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and am licensed in the state of Oregon as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

When I am not immersed in my work with clients and families, I enjoy and embrace the outdoor lifestyle of Bend, Oregon and can usually be found on top of a mountain, paddling down a river or traveling and exploring the great outdoors with my partner of 17 years.

Daniel L.
Cavanaugh,
PhD, LCSW

Daniel L. Cavanaugh, PhD, LCSW is passionate about using the outdoors and experiential adventure to support young people and families who face increased levels of risk. Daniel believes in the efficacy of these interventions because of the positive impact they have had on his life, personally. Daniel is working with PBJF because he is excited about working to support young people having access to adventure therapy interventions in their communities. He is invigorated to work with PBJF to build a network of clinicians to support young people who are encountering mental illness and other behavioral health challenges. Kurt Hahn believed in making Outward Bound style outposts called “islands of healing” to deliver facilitated adventure to young people in urban and suburban environments. Daniel wants to help PBJF create some islands here in the Northwest!

Daniel is an avid rock climber, snowboarder, paddler, cyclist, and mountaineer. When he isn’t working, you will find him somewhere in Mt. Hood National Forest or the Columbia River Gorge. Daniel received his BS in psychology at Portland State University in Oregon and both his PhD and MSW from Michigan State University in Lansing. At MSU, Daniel completed qualitative dissertation research exploring how adventure therapy techniques have been utilized to prevent behavioral health disorders in young people. Before doing his PhD, Daniel worked as a clinical social worker at Morrison Child and Family Services in Portland, Oregon providing community and school-based mental health therapy to young people. Daniel currently works as an assistant teaching professor at the University of Washington Bothell’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and as clinical faculty at Prescott College’s Adventure and Nature-based Counseling programs. Daniel is a co-founder of The Adventure Therapy Collective, an international collaboration of scholars and practitioners who work to increase access to experiential therapies that can be delivered outdoors.  Daniel currently volunteers on the board of the Association for Experiential Education’s Pacific Northwest Regional Council and the Therapeutic Adventure Professionals Group.

Emily
Vanderipe

As a mom, I’ve tried to go it alone during times of personal struggle and it never goes as well as when I ask for help and make myself vulnerable to share.

I’m thankful for PBJWilderness4life because we see the great importance of not only helping kids get into an outdoor behavioral healthcare/wilderness therapy program but also we recognize the support we families need during the new and on going journey.

I facilitate our PBJ Wild Heart Moms Tribe in the Portland area. It is a safe place where moms can come and just be, without judgement. An hour or so of release, where our at the end, our problems haven’t necessarily changed but our energy feels stronger to get through the next moment. We also share information about local activities to help connect our kids with other kids on similar paths.

Connecting with other parents who are going through similar situations with their child(ren) in regards to mental health/addiction makes the struggle hopeful. Hearing others stories so similar to my own makes me feel comforted and safe.

I’m thankful to have such a wonderful group of moms whom I get to be around every other week and to help connect people and their kiddos.

My other PBJ role is to help introduce and bring “Wilderness Kids” (and their families) together and invite them to be a part of our Portland area PBJ Wild Hearts Meet-Ups.

Our Portland area PBJ Wild Hearts Moms Tribe meets every three weeks. Please join anytime—come as you are—you are always welcome. Email me for meet up details at emily.v.wilderness4life@pbjf.org.

If you’d like to connect with me to just talk, or join our Portland Area Moms Tribe, or to get more information on local Portland area weekly and monthly Wild Hearts Meet-Ups for our teens/young adults, I am here to help welcome you and get you connected with our other team leaders.

Thank you!

Emily

Bret
Vanderipe

Bret feels it’s important to have a safe community of other Dads who have shared experiences. It’s important because earlier on during Brets journey with his son, he didn’t feel he had anyone with a similar situation to talk with and he felt he was going through this journey alone. Bret is grateful for PBJ who sees the importance of bringing wilderness families together to heal together. He enjoys his Dads group who meet every 2-3 weeks, sometimes at a coffee shop, or restaurant or around a bone fire. He feels a sense of relief after his groups and hopes the same for the other guys who come. He’s thankful for the opportunity to meet other Dads and continue to help build a community of supportive wilderness families.

Kristin
Smith

Born in Portland, Oregon, Kristin is a true Oregonian with a passion for giving back to our communities through many charity partners. With over 17 years’ experience in planning and executing a variety of non-profit events, Kristin knows what it means to give back. She founded and co-owns Event Savvy, a woman owned non-profit event planning company. One of her greatest accomplishments has been partnering with over 100 organizations over the last 10 years to help raise Millions for charities helping to improve lives in our community.

In 2021, just to make sure she keeps growing and learning, she had the honor of taking over as Executive Director of the Oregon Cancer Ski Out! Not only does she partner with other non-profits to reach their goals, but she also helped run a local organization in the fight against Cancer.

Her real joy in life is her family and friends she has been blessed with. She is married to an amazing partner, Jason and they have two amazing boys, Braden 23, and Connor 18. Having two sons has kept her on her toes over the years and been the greatest gift you could ask for. While giving back feeds her soul, travel and spending time with her family and friends is what keeps her grounded and sane!

Those two boys are part of the reason she was honored to join the board of the Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation. Watching how Dan and Liz have taken their grief and passion for helping others and turned it into an amazing organization to help youth, hits home for her. The mission and goals of this organization are making a direct positive impact for many of our youth. The passion and programs to save lives is compelling and it takes a team to share this mission. Kristin is ready to be part of the team and make a positive impact on our youth.

Jake
Turner

Lisa
McKinney

Justine
Keith

Sam
Balka

The Mood
Swings

The Mood Swings are PBJ’s Official Band with Jeff Ward, Adam Coberley, Lee Snow, Dave Bratton & Kim Wick

Wesley

If you or someone you care about are in crisis, please call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
CALL 9-8-8

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