We collaborate.

We orchestrate.

We are seamless.

We work with top program developers, educators, wilderness guides, and family therapists to support YOUR group from the ground up.

Our Focus

We provide intentional adventure programming for groups. Any group can participate, so long as they have a common thread. Our experiences normally range from 3 to 10 days. You set the focus. You choose your destination. It’s your trip. We have course areas we most commonly visit, but we are constantly expanding these and welcome new locations.  Breakwater leads both fully immersive wilderness excursions as well as day trips for groups residing in a lodge or retreat center. Strengthen your group, through a nature-inspired adventure, while being supported by professionals trained to recognize and facilitate group dynamics that reinforce both individual and common goals.

Leadership team and head guides

In 2011, after years of working together for premier outdoor adventure and wilderness therapy programs, John Winton, Todd McKibben and Lars Hall came together to form Breakwater Expeditions. Collectively having spent over 4,500 combined days in the field, developing and guiding adventures, they recognized the depth of experience and expertise they could provide as a team.

Breakwater provides responsive, flexible, rock solid programming for a wide range of organizations and groups as well as offering family specific and teen trips. These experiences are guided, built and orchestrated by top industry professionals.  It’s been important for John, Lars and Todd to continue to do what they love and participate hands on in the field, with one of them serving as lead guide for most of Breakwater’s adventures.

Todd McKibben, Executive Director / Expeditions Director / Founder

 

Todd is a seasoned guide, logistical master, and a passionate outdoorsman. He has dedicated his life to helping others change their lives through the power of nature, inspired by his own personal experiences and connections with people he has met along the way. Todd has helped Breakwater support clients in bring more purpose, passion, and intention to their lives. He earned his degree in Environmental Science from Indiana University, and has not left the “great outdoors.”

With over 18 years of experience and 2000 days in the field, he’s had the pleasure of serving a variety of populations. Happiest with a paddle in his hand, he finds power in movement, drawing from it a passion for life which he shares with his wife, two boys, and anyone he meets.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • ACA Sea Kayak Instructor
  • RCABC Canoe Tripping Instructor
  • Avalanche Level 1
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard

Contact: [email protected] | 208.304.3185

Lars Hall, Operations Director / Founder

Lars grew up in Massachusetts, but his heart and mind were always fixed upon the vast landscapes and mountains of the West. From a young age he has been camping, fishing and embracing the wilderness. His passion for the outdoors led him to enroll in the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Leadership Semester in the Colorado Rockies. It was there that he discovered that he could build upon his childhood dreams, draw from his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Gettysburg College, and make a career out of working with people in the outdoors, which he has done for the past 14 years. In his spare time, Lars can be found whitewater canoeing the many rivers found throughout the Northwest and he looks forward to the time when the snow begins to fall and he can put on his other hat as a member of the Ski Patrol team at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

Certifications:

  • Outdoor Emergency Care
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • RCABC Canoe Tripping Instructor
  • Professional Ski Instructors of America
  • Avalanche Level 1
  • Rope Rescue 1

Contact: [email protected] | 208.255.8791

John Winton, Board President / Founder

John has honed his skills as an outdoor leader and guide in some of the world’s wildest and most awe-inspiring classrooms. For 15 years he has facilitated and guided expeditions and experiences in a variety of settings ranging from the mountains to the sea and has logged more than 1500 days in the field working with adolescents and adults. John received his degree in Outdoor Recreation from Radford University, trained with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska. Since then he has worked with at-risk teens and their families, leading and directing creative experiences for wilderness programs and therapeutic boarding schools. John enjoys the numerous outdoor activities the Northwest has to offer. He can often be found rock climbing, sea kayaking, windsurfing, playing music, woodworking and skiing the pristine powder of Idaho’s backcountry.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • ACA Sea Kayak Instructor
  • Professional Ski Instructors of America
  • Avalanche Level 1
  • Lead Climbing Instructor (18 years)
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard

Contact: [email protected] | 208.610.2234

Upcoming trips! June, July & August

Teen & Young Adult Trips | Family Adventures | Custom Retreats

Learn more

Call 208. 263. 0277

Loved the flexibility to let the group grow together naturally.

Program Director

Breakwater, you have found your niche! I am so happy to have collaborated with you and look forward to next season.

Program Director

The expedition was beautiful and exciting without being overly dangerous. Everyone was able to push themselves and also relax.

Participant

Breakwater Expeditions did an over-the-top job. The guides came across as genuine, knowledgable and safety aware. They made the trip both fun and interesting. They know their stuff and clearly enjoy their work.

Participant

Our years of experience have taught us to:

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Set up the best team for your trip.

We pair the right group of professionals to best support each group.

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Make the right calls at the right time.

The details matter. We value in-the-moment creativity, flexibility, and inventiveness.

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Prioritize logistics & safety

We set up. We frame. Beginning, middle and end, safety is always first.

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Prevent burnout

We place a cap on the number of trips we take each year so that we can stay genuinely enthusiastic about what we do.

Interested in Joining Our Team?


See Current and Upcoming Job Opportunities

Expedition Guides

Our veteran guides are creative individuals who customize powerful, fun, safe, and dynamic experiences.

Zachary Burns, Expedition Guide

Zach has over 15 years of experience designing and delivering diverse adventure-based and experiential programming with youth and adults nationally and internationally. He’s a passionate educator and facilitator, dedicated to delivering engaging programming to maximize the client’s experience and growth. When Zach isn’t working, he can be found with friends and family exploring “the playground that awaits” along the north shore of Lake Superior.

A fifth generation Duluthian, Zach’s passion for adventure began at an early age, as he roamed the forests and waters of northern Minnesota. His desire to explore led him to an undergraduate degree in Adventure Education, and later a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on Experiential Education from Prescott College. After an Outward Bound Leadership Semester, Zach continued to pursue his passions for adventure and education as he became a senior staff trainer for Outward Bound, Instructor at Prescott College and a Program Manager for the University of New Hampshire’s Browne Center for Innovative Learning.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • CPR, Infant and Adult
  • Nonviolent Crisis Prevention (CPI)
  • Avalanche Forecasting AVI 1
  • Lifeguard

Renee Brechter Burns, Expeditions Guide

Renee has been working with youth and young adults for over 10 years. She has designed and delivered adventure-based programs to families, youth-at risk, educators, and athletic teams in a variety of settings. Renee brings her experience as a field staff with several different youth-focused therapeutic wilderness programs to the Breakwater team. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with an emphasis on Environmental Science and Outdoor Pursuits from Prescott College in Prescott, AZ. and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in clinical social work. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Renee’s love of adventure has led her to work around the country including, in Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Maine, and Minnesota.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • CPR, Infant and Adult
  • Nonviolent Crisis Prevention (CPI)
  • Avalanche Forecasting AVI

Bonnie Johnson, Expedition Guide

Bonnie has experience working for a variety of outdoor programs in different capacities, ranging from field instructor for a wilderness therapy organization to leader of a trail crew, valuing the new perspectives that working with people in the outdoors continually gives her. Along with guiding for Breakwater Expeditions, she also works as a field instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Bonnie majored in Outdoor Education at Northland College, a small college in Northern Wisconsin. Growing up mostly in Maine, Bonnie had the good fortune to go camping and backpacking as a child and to live in Hawaii at one point. She has always loved spending time in the Rocky Mountains, and feels lucky to be living in a tiny cabin in SW Montana at this point in time. She frequently travels to Wyoming to lead trips in the Wind River Range, and dreams about someday taking a surf trip closer to the Equator.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder

Megan Campbell, Expedition Guide

Megan grew up in New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, where she learned to hike ten miles without complaining. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural and Applied Anthropology with a concentration on Tibetan Studies, and she feeds her never-ending fascination with human connection and the natural world through chance encounters, intentional travel, and meaningful work with people. Her travels have taken her several times to Asia, where she volunteered at an orphanage in Nepal, trekked the Himalayas, and studied yoga in India. She later hiked the Colorado Trail, kayaked for 5 months on Prince William Sound, Alaska, and worked in a wilderness therapy program in Colorado.

Megan guides for Breakwater and other programs in NW Montana and North Idaho, and serves as an Outdoor Recreation Instructor for a program working with teens. Currently living in a cabin in the woods near Sandpoint, ID, her passion takes her to places that involve sleeping in her truck or under the stars, tasting the sea salt on her lips, feeling the rhythm of the ocean, pedaling her bike in wild places, and seeing how sun forms wrinkles on people’s faces around the world.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • RYT Certified Yoga Instructor

Garret Oksness, Expedition Guide

Garret holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology Teaching and a second Bachelor of Science in General Science Education. He easily creates rapport with students, and enjoys educating and inspiring in the great outdoors. He has served as a level II field instructor for a wilderness therapy program in Utah, a field guide for a therapeutic program in Alaska, worked as a teacher’s assistant for students with autism and Asperger syndrome, logged 1450 hours with AmeriCorps, and provided leadership for a crew in the Montana Conservation Corps.

He currently lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Certifications:

  • Montana Teaching Certification in Science, grades 5-12
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Emergency Medical Technician

Mike Fisher, Expedition Guide

Mike grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was an All American Lacrosse Player in High School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies, and has a background working in addiction treatment. Before joining Breakwater Expeditions, Mike served as a program coordinator at an extended sober living facility in Maine, a lead adventure program guide at an adventure based addiction treatment program for young adults in North Carolina, and Operations Manager at a referral network for families with loved ones in emotional crises. Currently living in Sandpoint, Idaho, his passion for fly fishing takes him to cold water rivers around the country.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • CPR

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Family Mentors

Our seasoned family mentors are dynamic, creative and experienced in working with families, individuals and groups.

Heather Menzie, LPC, RYT-500
Family Program Director

Families are set at ease by Heather’s expertise, comfort in the wilderness, and sense of humor. She brings a creative, safe, and fun environment to the process of growth and development of families. During Heather’s ten years studying and practicing the art of wilderness therapy, Heather developed, directed, and implemented a thriving family services program. At Breakwater Expeditions, Heather aids in the development of our Family Program. She listens for what each unique family’s goals are and ensures that a family is paired with a great team and a beautiful location.

As a Family Mentor and counselor, Heather has a keen appreciation and understanding of how challenging it is to incorporate changes that are made in the wilderness setting into daily life. For families in a transitional phase, such as rejoining as a family after months or years of living apart, Heather is well equipped to prepare families and support them through the challenges and rewards that are inherent in this type of transition. Heather works with families that would like to explore an adventure together for maybe the first time in years as well as with families that are seeking an adventure in a non-clinical setting.

Heather is registered with Yoga Alliance as an RYT-500 and loves bringing mindfulness based practices such as yoga and meditation into her work to help families relax and sense into their innate wellness.

Education:

BA in English from the College of William and Mary, 2000

MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, emphasis in Wilderness Therapy from Naropa University, 2008

Heather is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado.

Heather can be reached directly by email: [email protected]. Her additional offerings can be found at http://www.lightquestcounseling.com/.

Sommerville Bevilaqua, LPC
Counselor

Sommerville is a licensed professional counselor as well as wilderness instructor and founder of ARC. She is passionate about facilitating opportunities for individuals and groups to connect with the natural world, to explore their inner-landscapes, and to discover within themselves a strength and beauty more powerful than they previously knew. She has worked in the mental health field since 2010 and in the outdoors since 2000, incorporating curiosity, humor, deep compassion, and respect into her various roles. Sommerville enjoys exploring the rock and water of her home in Western North Carolina, as well as continuing to learn from new places and people around the world.

 

Sommerville can be reached directly by email: [email protected]

Her additional offerings can be found at  http://www.aspenrootscollective.com.

Kyle Stansbury, MSW
Family Mentor

Kyle brings with him over a decade of experience as a guide and therapist to Breakwater. He has earned MA in Clinical Social Work and jokes about having at least the same degree in playing outside. Over the years he has worked for four different wilderness therapy programs, as an in-home family crisis therapist, with the desert Southwest’s severely mentally ill population and a handful of other recreational guiding organizations throughout the country.

With passion and ease, Kyle supports individuals and families in connecting authentically with each other. His love of the wilderness is contagious and can be seen by the wide smile on his face. Adventures into the wild have instilled within him strength, humbleness, connection, and a commitment to explore the beauty in the world. As a Family Mentor and counselor for Breakwater Expeditions, Kyle offers these lessons freely and with joy to the people he works with.

Kyle is registered as a Social Worker in CO and UT.

Kim Mlinarik, LMHC, CDP
Family Mentor

Kim’s greatest passion is exploring cultures around the world. She believes that a good adventure is filled with spontaneity and synchronicity.  Kim uses fun, playfulness, and cultural immersion to guide young adults in using the adventure as a springboard to launch into their authentic selves and create their dreams. She has led treks in Europe, the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Costa Rica and has traveled to five continents to experience the diversity of each culture and discover the common threads that connect us all.Kim enjoys yoga, trapeze, learning the Italian language, and sharing her travels in her writing.

She has a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a licensed mental health and addictions counselor. She has been working with young adults and families for over 18 years in private practice, wilderness, residential, and international settings. She has studied different forms of indigenous healing for the past eight years

 
A few of the folks we work with: