November 17, 2017 | 0 comments

Jefferson Schleifer
Field Team
Position:Field Guide

B.S. Neuroscience; Psychology, Christopher Newport University (CNU)
Security Guard at Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute
Horticulture Technician at CNU
Nightdesk Security Guard at CNU

Personal Approach

My focus as a wilderness staff is to help students observe, listen to, and try to better understand the various lessons of the backcountry, while simultaneously mapping out what these lessons can mean for them when they reenter the urban world. Furthermore, my role is to help them begin to understand that the backcountry works through reflection and response, in other words: the wilderness acts as an active mirror, reflecting who you’ve been, who you are, and who you can become. By empowering the youth I work with to better understand themselves, and how they interact with the surrounding world, I hope to help them achieve a purpose-oriented mindset, tempered with growth and realistic expectations.

As someone who has seen the healing and therapeutic effects of wilderness, not only in my personal life, but also in the countless lives of the students at Outback, the time I have spent working at Outback has been challenging and gratifying. As a Senior Field Staff I feel encouraged  to challenge and invite growth in creative and explorative ways. This propels me to test my own adaptability and keep my thoughts flexible in order to provide an example of healthy adaptation and relationship to our students.Throughout Outback’s program staff and students continuously attempt to creatively troubleshoot and problem-solve together.

Personal Interests

I am an avid backcountry adventurer, enjoying activities such as: long-distance backpacking, climbing, and trail running. I also love to explore various aspects of the frontcountry by cooking/trying new recipes, seeking out live music, and inciting insightful conversations with complete strangers. In the summer of 2013 I fell in love with backpacking and nomadic foot-travel through a college course where we section hiked 100 miles of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. The liberating feeling of traveling with everything you own/need on your back helped me attain a greater sense of clarity both mentally and emotionally, and instilled in me a deeper sense of what is truly necessary to live a satisfactory life. Three years later I successfully hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, and have been pushing my physical, spiritual, and intellectual boundaries ever since.

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