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Joe Nagle

Program director

Joe has been seeking real adventure since he was young. He followed a friend to a Boy Scout meeting and never looked back. He was able to find a community and he began to dream of bigger things. As a young man, the boy scouts gave Joe access to climbing, biking, skiing, and traveling in the wilderness. But more importantly, Joe found passion around value systems including integrity, honor, and serving others. 


It also introduced him to his life’s passion. Teaching and team building is where Joe feels like he can be his authentic self. The Scouts gave him a place to explore those skills. He was eventually given the opportunity to build his own challenge course. One of his proudest accomplishments. 


Like many Pacia Life students, Joe’s college path was indirect at first. He explored a career in arboriculture among others before finally finishing his degree in Outdoor Education from Black Hills State University. `South Dakota will always hold Joe’s heart as his favorite home. 


After college Joe found wilderness therapy, he was able to use his guiding skills to help people who really needed it. He knew he had found a calling. His guiding dreams shifted into sharing the outdoors with people who could really benefit from it.  Through his 5 years working in wilderness adventure therapy, Joe was exposed to the concepts of Grit, Self Efficacy, and Flow. He found a way to use the outdoors and active play to show people what’s really going on inside themselves and how to make a positive change in their lives. 


Joe has an extensive background in curriculum development. He has contributed to the development of curriculums in rock climbing, backcountry travel, canyoneering, skiing, mountain biking, and team building. All with a primary focus on helping people with self-discovery and building grit. Recently Joe has applied this unique skill set to work as an expert witness in lawsuits that focus on program best practices and risk mitigation in the backcountry. 

At Pacia Life Joe has gone back to his roots. “I feel fortunate to be able to bring all of these wilderness skills into the arena of daily life. I have been able to see what growth and development look like at many stages of treatment. Pacia Life gives me the opportunity to help students at a pivotal moment. When they are preparing to launch into their own self-reliant adult lives.” -Joe

“The world disappears when you go into it.” - Martin Heidegger

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