Joe Early, LCSW

Joe Early is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with experience providing mental health services, mentoring, and creating positive relationships with youth in a variety of settings.

His journey working with adolescents began at Camp Skylemar in Naples, Maine where he was a full-time water-ski instructor, certified ropes course instructor and camp counselor.  From here he moved on to provide contract services for the Department of Families and Children in Georgia, supervising family visits, providing transportation and over-night supervision for foster children and coordinating with multiple community agencies.  While in this setting, Joe realized he needed to return to school to increase his education and training in order to make more of an impact.

From 2006-2008, Joe attended the University of Georgia Social Work Program, participating in two internships and learning with students and teachers.  His first internship was with The Alcove, a group home for runaway youth and youth experiencing sufficient difficulty at home to require out-of-home residence.  He facilitated therapeutic groups, provided support and encouragement, and assisted in times of crisis with residents.  His second internship was as a Juvenile Parole and Probation Specialist with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.  Here he worked with adjudicated youth, providing mentor services, accountability, and supervision.  Experiences in this internship further solidified his perspective that meeting youth in the home, school and community is an important adjunct to meeting in a formal office setting.

Since graduating with his Master’s of Social Work, Joe has focused his energy in providing community-based mental health care to children and adolescents.  He created and facilitated a Life Skills Group for 12-18 year old males, was trained in and facilitated 7 Challenges substance abuse groups, and has provided individual and family therapy for the past 5 years.  Along the way, he has creatively utilized natural settings to enhance the therapeutic relationship and provide opportunities for youth to relax, grow and enjoy themselves.  These experiences have included taking a socially isolated and anxious 15-year old on an individual kayaking trip, hiking with groups deep in the valleys and high on the mountain-tops of Western North Carolina, and being invited on multi-day trips with Outward Bound and Leadership Challenge.  For the past year, Joe has also worked as a School Social Worker in Buncombe County Schools, further expanding his opportunities to engage youth in the community.

Joe is extremely excited about the possibilities that lie ahead with Blue Ridge Treks and his business partner, Alex Hersey.  He believes in the power of the therapeutic relationship, the ability for nature to provide opportunities for personal and communal growth, and most importantly the ability for positive change to occur with an individual who is dedicated to this pursuit.