MVPP 09.05.19: Laura Statesir – Executive Director for Chicago Adventure Therapy

Steve Cochran

Laura Statesir, Executive Director for Chicago Adventure Therapy

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Laura is a seasoned outdoor program manager and instructor with experience directing international wilderness schools as well as guiding in both mountain and coastal settings. She is driven by a desire to create lasting connections between people, the outdoors, and their communities. She earned a BS in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences with an Outdoor Education Specialist certificate. Since then she has logged seventeen years of guiding adventure activities in six countries. As an instructor for the DYS Wilderness Challenge Program, she led youth involved with the court system on 31-day wilderness expeditions. Then she began her love affair with Latin America as the Program Director for Exposure Adventure Program in the Dominican Republic. She also spent two years as the Program Director for Costa Rica Outward Bound. Recently Laura was a part of the REI Chicago Outdoor School team. 

Chicago Adventure Therapy:

Their mission is to use outdoor adventure sports like paddling, orienteering, cycling, camping and rock climbing, Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) works with Chicago youth to have a lasting positive impact on their communities and become healthy adults by teaching effective social skills and strong leadership skills, increasing participants’ sense of possibility, and fostering a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility.

CAT was founded in 2006 by Andrea Knepper. Since then, we have worked with close to 2000 youth in twenty-four partner agencies.

CAT serves homeless and street-based youth, LGBTQ youth, youth in the child welfare system, gang-involved youth, youth who have experienced trauma/violence, youth with mental health challenges, youth living in poverty, immigrant youth, and refugee youth. CAT participants come from a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

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