THE WINGATE OPERATIONS TEAM
Founder, Executive Director
For more than 22 years, Shayne Gallagher has provided healing wilderness experiences for adolescents, young adults, and families. With his deep understanding of the innate therapeutic effects of a wilderness experience on the healing of young people, Shayne has become a recognized leader in teen and young adult treatment.
"...Shayne is one of the most intuitive and compassionate leaders you will ever meet. He lives what he teaches..."
In 1986, Shayne designed a program to foster principle-centered leadership, improved self-esteem, and a positive peer culture. The success of this program and his passion for the outdoors led him to the next phase of his career—working as a field instructor at a wilderness therapy program.
Since his start in the field of wilderness therapy, Shayne has worked as a trainer, program developer, field director, and program director. In his role as founder and executive director of WinGate Wilderness Therapy, Shayne continues to be one of the most sought-after consultants and presenters in the wilderness-therapy industry. With over 1400 days in the field working directly with adolescents and young adults, Shayne’s passion for and confidence in wilderness therapy only continues to grow.
Shayne is a popular speaker at national conferences including NATSAP, NATWC, and Naropa. His professional talks include: Ethics in Counseling, Intervention without Coercion, Mentorship in Wilderness Settings, Making Primitive Musical Instruments, The Use of Metaphor in Wilderness Therapy, and Inviting Inquiry.
Shayne is dedicated to helping students and families find hope for the future. As one student eloquently put it, “Shayne found a way to impact my life more than any other person I encountered on the trail. He is truly gifted at reaching inside a student’s soul and bringing to light its innate greatness.”
Founder, Director of Operations
Sheri was born in Utah, however, typical of military families, her family moved a lot. The longest she lived in one place was 2½ years, which was in Mississippi. Her favorite places are Queens Fort in Rhode Island, Yuma, Arizona, Kailua, Hawaii and Fallbrook California. In these various environments, she learned to love the outdoors. Turtles, frogs and lizards are dear to her heart. Through these moving experiences, Sheri also learned to develop friendships fast, this skill has served her in her many years of quickly developing relationships of trust with the adolescents and young adults with whom she has worked.
Sheri has a Masters degree in Recreation Administration from Brigham Young University. Throughout her college tenure, she was chosen to lead many and varied recreational programs and trips with a variety of age groups, and in a variety of venues. Sheri has taught courses from canoeing to rappelling, and from beach and desert survival, to winter camping skills.
While in college, Sheri worked several years for the National Indian Youth Leadership Program, for which she was the Outdoor Recreation Specialist, and served on it's board of directors. These efforts were her introduction to a long career of working with at-risk youth.
As part of her masters degree program, Sheri helped design and implement the 1st long-term wilderness therapy program. She has worked at four other wilderness programs, in many cases helping them develop their curriculum and program features. Sheri is one of the most experienced persons in the wilderness therapy industry. Sheri is listed in Who's Who, and 2000 notable women.
Sheri met Shayne Gallagher while both were field staff at one of the original wilderness therapy programs. They have 6 children. (Tay, Phoenix, Teague, Yanni, Arizona, and Crete.) During one Christmas vacation, they took their children on a 35-mile survival trip when the youngest was 9 because that's how they roll!
James Bowen, M.Ed.; MS, LMFT
Director Of Family Services
James comes to WinGate from the country and cook stoves of Louisiana via Las Vegas. As an Educator and Therapist, he has over 30 years’ of experience working with students and families to resolve life’s toughest issues and encourage healthy sustainable relationships.
His emphasis is working with couples, family systems, divorce/step-families, children, and individuals struggling through life with Addictions and ADHD.Prior to joining WinGate, James was an Educator and Therapist in Las Vegas. As a LMFT and lifelong learner, he brings a vast wealth of how families work and he believes in the family system as a whole.
The challenge he loves to tackle is to help reestablish the framework of a growing, loving, and healthy family system where all the members involved can respect one another as individuals and journey together in a creative and supportive environment.
James and his wife Lu enjoy life to the fullest in the mountains of Utah as a dynamic step-family of 5 wonderful adult children and their spouses. He enjoys hunting, four wheeling, snowmobiling, reading, and playing instruments from around the world.
Assistant Operations Director
With the exception of a two-year period in which Blaine spent performing service in Argentina, Blaine has worked continuously in the Wilderness Therapy industry since 1988. He began as a wilderness therapy field instructor and has more than 1500 "trail days" under his belt. Blaine has been recruited to assist in helping establish new wilderness therapy programs, and to improve upon existing ones. His extensive experience has included holding several positions in multiple wilderness therapy programs across several states. These positions have included; Field Instructor, Senior Field instructor, Assistant Field Director, Field Director, Program Director, and Risk Management Director. Blaine currently has a variety of duties at WinGate including Assistant Operations Director.
Blaine has been a Certified Positive Control Systems (de-escalation techniques) Instructor for the last 10 straight years. He is a contributor to the development of Utah State Code R501-8 state licensing rules for wilderness therapy programs.
With his extreme level of involvement in, and vast understanding of the requisite underpinnings of any wilderness therapy program, Blaine continues to offer his unique insights that can only come from one of the most experienced persons in the entire industry. Very few people can say they have been working in this specific field for nearly 25 years. Blaine is one of those who can.
Chris Traver, LCSW, MA-PSYCH
My experience treating adults, adolescents, children and families in Hospital Acute mental health (MH) and addiction (AD), Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient MH and AD, Residential Addiction Treatment, Wilderness Therapy, and Individual and Group therapy allows me to work with a broad range of clientele with varying psychological, emotional, behavioral and addictive issues. Some of my areas of focus include but aren't limited to: anxiety, depression, grief, co-dependency, and addiction.
I use a holistic and eclectic approach to treat my clients. I believe that we are healthier individually and as a family unit when we are balanced in mind, body and spirit. I also believe that personal responsibility and accountability is important to life and the therapeutic relationship.
I found my passion for helping people gain hope and a renewed love for life while working as a young man in South America. This experience also blessed me with a multicultural perspective and the ability to speak Spanish fluently.
I love of nature. I respect its healing power and balancing influence in my own life. This has given me an appreciation for the great affect Wilderness Therapy can and does have on others.
Walt was born and raised in southern Louisiana. He has always had a passion for the outdoors and spent much of his childhood camping and fishing with his family in the bayous of Louisiana. Walt joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 23 where he served with the Naval Special Warfare’s Special Boat Team 20 for 13 years. During this time Walt discovered the personal fulfillment of helping and leading others.
He also had an unwavering support from his wife and raised three beautiful children; Katie, Veronica, and Walter his son who was also a field staff member at Wingate.
After serving in the Navy Walt dedicated many years to helping others through fitness. He worked as a personal trainer/life coach and owned a personal training studio in southern Florida. He was known to be very optimistic and often thought of new "out of the box" ideas for his clients.
During this same time he longed to spend time outdoors, and started to research the Appalachian Trail. One day he decided to drop everything and head out with just his backpack to pursue a spiritual journey.
Walt says the hike was the toughest, yet most rewarding feat he has ever accomplished. After the trail, Walt knew he must continue to pursue his dream and inspire others through the experience of the wilderness. Shortly after the trail Walt happened upon Wingate during an Internet job search and laughed out loud and thought “wow I put myself through wilderness therapy and didn’t even realize it.” Walt went on to read more about Wilderness therapy and Wingate and very quickly one thing led to another and he was on a plane bound for Utah.
He became a Field Staff member at Wingate and was especially successful at building rapport and motivating students. He also worked as a Senior Field instructor and performed very successfully as a leader. Walt is now the Logistics Director and his passion for Wingate and the wilderness is obvious to everyone he meets.
Walt’s greatest goal is to have a positive impact on all of the teens and young adults that he interacts with at Wingate. And Walt says “It’s tough being so far away from my children, I believe that they understand what it is that I do and they know I am there for them. My children know that this is my calling to be there for those in need at a crucial time in their lives.”
Walt says each time he is called to help a struggling young person he thinks this will be the time it doesn’t work but it always does, and this process just keeps reaffirming his being on the right path. Walt hopes to stay in Kanab and eventually own some land and continue following the path he firmly believes is his calling. Walt also acts for Wingate’s Emergency Response Team and is a certified PCS (Positive Control System) instructor.
For information regarding employment at Wingate Wilderness Therapy, please visit Our Employment Page.