About Buckey

Experiencing a struggle is what brings deep meaning to life. Without the lows, the highs have no meaning.

Here's what I mean...

As a young kid growing up in a small town in central Connecticut my days were mostly made up of playing basketball and rummaging around in the woods. I was lucky to have a solid home life, but it was pretty clear that classroom learning was going to be a challenge. Basketball took center stage in my adolescence and kept me on track through high school, but I always felt a strong pull to the wilderness. This drew me to Plymouth State University, a small school nestled in the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire. I was lucky enough to get one of the last spots available in their Adventure Education program where I learned how to use the outdoors as a place for adults, children, and at-risk populations to achieve personal growth and self-discovery. Throughout my time at Plymouth, I began to recognize that the leadership and discipline I had honed while playing high school sports translated to outdoor activities and facilitation in an outdoor setting. It was here that I fell in love with a new and challenging sport, rock climbing. I spent my college summers working a rock wall at a nearby adventure park where I picked up lots of new skills including a new appreciation for customer service and contributing to positive guest experiences.

In the late summer of 2012, just before my senior year, I embarked on a cross-country road trip with my older brother who was relocating to Los Angeles. It was during this adventure that I fell in love with the wide-open spaces, starry nights, and mountain ranges that the west is well known for. In the spring of 2013, I graduated from Plymouth State University with a BS in Adventure Education. After graduation, I fulfilled an internship requirement by working at Acadia Mountain Guides in Bar Harbor, Maine for the summer. It was another experience that helped further develop my technical and leadership skills. Immediately following that, I made the big decision to make a move out west to Denver, Colorado. It was time to launch and learn a few lessons.

As a new graduate in a new city, I was not able to land a dream job or find any sort of clear path as to what “my calling” was. I took the first job that was offered, an Arborist with the City of Aurora, Colorado. Here I had the opportunity to learn a great new skill and gain some work experience. What I quickly realized is that principles that applied to sport and outdoor education also applied to be a part of the workforce. Being humble, willing to learn, taking small steps forward, and communicating clearly would be fundamental to my progress and growth. While in Colorado, I rock climbed and went on occasional hikes, but my time in the wilderness was few and far between at best.

After two years in that position and a change in relationship status, it became clear that it was time for something new, and while I had no clear path forward, moving forward was the only option. I landed in California with my brother and was able to lock down a temporary gig working with WOLF (Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation). It was here I rediscovered my love for working in a wilderness setting and also working with people. A few months later, I reconnected with a classmate and friend from Plymouth State and learned about an opportunity in Utah.


Keep moving forward, build self-awareness, and align your actions with your values.

This timely reunion got me started at Evoke Therapy Programs in southwest Utah in the spring of 2016. At Evoke, I was a Field Instructor, and my responsibilities included acting as a guide, teacher, role-model, and constant support to Evoke Therapy clients, including teens, young adults, and adults. I also helped manage the inherent risk of the wilderness while backpacking in the beautiful backcountry of Utah’s high desert. I was in the wilderness for 8 days and nights at a time with nothing but a backpack. During this time, I taught hiking skills, camping ethics, yoga, and helped facilitate group therapy sessions. I facilitated team building activities aimed at fostering honest and effective communication, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills.

The experience at Evoke confirmed that when you combine effective communication skills with the power of the wilderness setting, healing and growth occurs. In my own life, I realized that building your own path can be tricky, even scary. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing process that’s built on following the cues that life puts in front of you. Things happen and sometimes don’t go your way. It’s how you respond to and navigate the unforeseen and unplanned that determines your future.


Experiencing a struggle is what brings deep meaning to life. Without the lows, the highs have no meaning.

Decisions can be hard, sometimes dicey, but ultimately once a decision is made, it is discipline, focus, and adaptability that helps you build the path forward.

In the spring of 2017, a unique opportunity came my way. A colleague was heading to Nepal for a long-haul hiking adventure. Her travel mate canceled at the last minute, and I volunteered to join her. Even though I was cash poor and would need to find a way to take extended time off at Evoke, I made the decision to go. We did a 1000 mile trek in 4½ months. The experience was both the craziest and the best thing I had ever done. The sights, the culture, and the people gave me a new and stunning perspective on our world. To say that this trek required doing many uncomfortable things is an understatement.

In hindsight, this was a version of my Hero’s Journey. I arrived home late that summer weighing 120 lbs and looking rather tattered. A burger never tasted so good. The lessons learned were many, but perhaps most poignant was seeing first-hand the way families worked together to survive and thrive. Children as young as 3 prepared and served us our meals in the small homes we stayed at along the way. These kids were so small, so happy, and so incredibly kind. A wise person said, “Learn to be happy with what you have, while you pursue all that you want”.


It’s the simple things in life that are the most meaningful. Joy and meaning result from contributing and connecting to others.

This brings me to the here and now. A few months back John and I reconnected. We had worked together at Evoke Therapy programs and developed a powerful working relationship. When we spoke, he told me all about his work here at Red Cedar Transitions and that he was ready to expand. Now, here I am in Asheville working side by side with John, someone I consider a good friend and professional mentor. We have similar backgrounds and perspectives and a variety of shared therapeutic strategies that will assist our clients in finding their unique, individual pathways to fulfilling futures. Together, we will learn more lessons, teach more lessons, and guide our clients through their personal journeys.

I could not be happier to be here in the lush forests and rivers that Asheville is known for; a definite contrast to the Utah desert but a great location for the next phase of my life.

I'm also an ACT/Prosocial Matrix certified coach.


Introduction VIdeo

Please take a few minutes to hear from Buckey about his experience in Asheville.


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