When he was younger, Ryan Heath enjoyed his schoolwork and planned to
pursue medicine and biomedical researchâbut he also felt drawn to the
challenge of experiential, non-academic fields. âWorking in commercial
fishing with my father, my technical/vocational classes, and spending
time in the outdoors might have filled a little bit of a gap I didnât
know was seeking,â he says.
When he started college, Heath began to feel that gapâs presence
keenly. Feeling isolated in his large, theoretical introductory courses
and hungry for active community engagement, Health entered an
experiential learning program called Brown Outdoor Leadership Training
(BOLT)âand his life changed as a result: âI found myself working to
build a set of interpersonal and group facilitation strengths I had
never even conceived of,â he says.
Now, as a Schweitzer Fellow and a student at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration,
Health is working to bring the benefits of experiential learning to
at-risk Chicago youth. He partnered with an innovative organization
called Chicago Adventure Therapy,
and has spent the last several months working to integrate a
service-learning component into their existing therapeutic programming.
Click here to read a “Five Questions for a Fellow” interview with Heath on ASF’s official blog.