John Winton: Director
John is an engaging and devoted leader who brings over 20 years of experience in wilderness therapy to Echo Springs. John studied therapeutic recreation in college before spending many years as a wilderness guide and lead instructor. Eventually, John and a business partner created Breakwater Expeditions, a company that offers therapeutic wilderness expeditions to young adults and their parents. John is proud to be the director of Echo Springs where he tirelessly inspires the faculty and interacts with the students on a regular basis. John is also a talented musician and passionate athlete.
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John is the big kahuna on campus, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see him leading student trips and attending group therapy sessions with Echo Springs students. John is a hands-on kind of guy and is passionate about meeting every student and understanding their story. John oversees the entire staff and all the students at Echo Springs. He also keeps in close contact with parents and works closely with his senior staff to constantly refine programming and the goals of the organization.
John considers himself to be a conductor who helps bring out the best in the incredibly talented Echo Springs staff and faculty. His long career working with at-risk youth and his experience in running a successful wilderness expedition company have given him the perspective and tools he needs to inject new energy into Echo Springs and to maintain its reputation as the leading young adult transitional program in the country.
“Echo Springs has such a strong foundation in quality programming. The real-life experience of our faculty members is absolutely unmatched, and our students really get the full benefit of their hard-earned wisdom. This team represents a ton of energy, a ton of care, and a ton of experience. Echo Springs is already at an amazing level, but I’m really excited to see just how much farther we can go.”
John earned his Bachelors of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Radford University in Virginia. Since 1995, he has been working closely with at-risk teens and adults, first as a wilderness guide and then as a lead instructor. Along the way, he started to realize the integral role parents could play if they also participated in the transitional process. Eventually, John teamed up with Lars Hall to found Breakwater Expeditions, a company that offered wilderness excursions for teens, families, and school groups. One of Breakwater’s clients was Echo Springs. When Doug Kim-Brown decided it was time to hand over the reins of Echo Springs, he contacted John, and the rest is history.
John is a consummate athlete who loves climbing, wild surfing, biking, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer and more. If it’s a sport, John has probably played it at some time. He also comes from an artistic family and enjoys photography and building his own furniture.
John plays the guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
David C. Barth LPC, MS: Clinical Advisor
David brings a unique clinical perspective to the Echo Springs programming. He uses honesty, humor, and trust to build strong rapport with students and to guide them in breaking through negative assumptions and beliefs. He also ensures that our programming is founded in the latest clinical research.
David brings over 25 years of experience in a therapeutic setting to Echo Springs, including a background in wilderness programming. He is deeply attuned to the young adult population and is able to meet every student where they are. His son, who has special needs, serves as a constant inspiration that every perspective is valid and valuable.
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David helps infuse the Echo Springs program with a more clinical perspective in order to better understand and meet the unique needs of each student. David works directly with the students at Echo Springs, using his strong intuition, compassion, and relational skills to help students break through their perceived limits. David also advises the Echo Springs staff on ways to best support each student.
David is a master of building relationships and teaching on a level of deep honesty, understanding, and openness. Students appreciate David’s humor and his commitment to modeling trust and vulnerability.
“I never write a student off. Instead, I see them where they are and understand them by seeing myself through them. The best part of my job is seeing the light turn on when a student pushes through their perceived limits.”
David grew up in Maryland but has lived with his wife and son in Sandpoint, Idaho for over 20 years. He brings over 25 years of experience in the therapeutic field to Echo Springs, first as an instructor at wilderness programs in central Pennsylvania and Idaho, and then in various positions in therapeutic boarding schools in Idaho and Montana. After accruing many years of hands-on clinical experience, David went back to school in order to earn his master’s degree in counseling from Prescott College and is a licensed counselor in Idaho. In addition, he has taken Level I and Level II training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
He was attracted to Echo Springs for its commitment to relationship-based teaching and the ownership that each staff member takes in the program.
David considers his autistic son to be his greatest teacher and influencer.
When he isn’t guiding students to important personal breakthroughs, David enjoys back country skiing, mountain biking, and getting his hands dirty in the garden. He is also committed to his wife and teenage son.
David loves music and plays the guitar and mandolin.
Karen Glaeser LPC, MS: Primary Therapist
In Karen’s tenure in the industry, she has experienced many programs and many staff who define those programs. That experience extends from wilderness instructor, to therapist and counselor in young-adult transitioning programs, as well as boarding school and college settings. She is thrilled to be working with some of the most respected staff in the industry, and with one of the most respected young-adult programs.
Karen Glaeser grew up in Michigan and New Hampshire, spending her formative adolescent
years in the small paper-mill town of Berlin, NH. She came to North Idaho after spending many years searching for the right mix of small town, community, and wilderness opportunities.
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Karen enjoys working with the students of Echo Springs by utilizing all of her accumulated skills and experiences, assisting them navigating the complicated transitional task of becoming fully functioning adults. She fully believes in the potential of our young adults to achieve their full potential, when equipped with the tools and guidance to overcome obstacles to personal happiness and satisfaction.
“I am thrilled to be working with some of the most amazing staff in the industry, and with one of the most respected young-adult programs.”
Karen Glaeser grew up in Michigan and New Hampshire, spending her formative adolescent years in the small papermill town of Berlin, NH. She came to North Idaho after spending many years searching for the right mix of small town, community, and wilderness opportunities.
Karen is a Licensed Professional Counselor, with specialized training in EMDR, CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Mindfulness. She decided to pursue her Master’s in Counseling after spending several years working with adolescents in various roles and realizing that she wanted to be able to affect change in students on a deeper level.
She began working in this industry in the early ‘90’s as a wilderness instructor in southern Idaho for one of the first wilderness programs in the country. Since earning her LPC in 2003, she has worked as a therapist in wilderness programs , therapeutic boarding schools, and young-adult transition programs in N. Carolina and North Idaho.
Most recently, she spent four years working with young adults as a career counselor and academic advisor for the local community college.
Last year, before beginning with Echo Springs in October 2019, Karen and her husband sold their home and traveled for most of the year in their 20 foot long Rpod trailer, creatively named “The Pod.” In that year they also managed to sneak in a 3 week trip to Spain and Portugal, where they spent some days walking the Portugues Camino de Santiago. They are settled back into another home in Sandpoint, with “The Pod” available for future, shorter adventures. In her free time, Karen enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, reading, and trying to improve on her guitar playing skills.
J ulie K Pitre, MEd, LCPC: Therapist
Julie Pitre is a License Clinical Professional Counselor with over 10 years of experience in the mental health field.
Originally from New Orleans, she moved to Sandpoint in 2008.
Her areas of therapeutic focus include trauma, attachment, depression, and anxiety.
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Julie is passionate about working with the young adult population because of their resiliency and ability to create life long changes. She is a certified yoga instructor and uses somatic awareness in all of her sessions. Julie also utilizes Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) to assist with most treatment goals.
Originally from New Orleans, Julie played soccer and graduated from Louisiana State University before earning a M.Ed. from DePaul University in Chicago. Following her love for all things outdoors, she moved to Sandpoint in 2008. After meeting her husband on a chairlift at Schweitzer, she knew that this would be her forever home.
If she is not working with Echo students or chasing around her own toddlers, you can find her mountain biking on a local trail.