In this episode, co-hosts Xavier Fowler and Jay Hyland will be speaking with Dr. Damion Grasso as we explore the connections between outdoor adventure programs, building resilience, and the power of relationships to heal from trauma and adversity.
This episode includes discussion topics of childhood adversity, trauma, and post-traumatic stress. Take care of yourself as you take this learning journey with us.
Damion is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he is co-lead on the Family Adversity and Resilience Research Program. His research spans the development of validated assessment tools, the study of biological and environmental mechanisms associated with stress and trauma, and the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions for trauma-related mental health impairment.
Damion also created the Youth Excellence Project in 2014. The Youth Excellence Project is a Connecticut-based, volunteer-run program that engages male teens in outdoor recreation and mentorship with goals to promote health and build resilience in the face of life challenges. Each year the YEP hosts a cohort of 10-12 youths participate in activities that include hiking, camping, paddling, and other outdoor expeditions. Some of these are day trips, others involve overnight stays. In the summer, they embark on a multi-day expedition. They also partner with various other programs such as Project Imo to help provide these amazing and positive mentorship experiences for the teens.