School for Adventure Based Learning and Exploration for Discovery 

Randy Dowd​, Psy.D.
Executive Director
(907) 953-5360

Our Staff

Amanda has over 15 years of experience coaching and inspiring others to further improve the quality of their health and wellbeing.  She has worked in the fitness industry as a USA Swimming swim coach, American Council on Exercise personal trainer and group fitness instructor.  She has also worked in mental health as a wilderness guide/behavioral health technician, activity therapist and as a yoga therapist.  

Her Bachelor of Arts is in Outdoor Studies in which she focused on the therapeutic benefits of outdoor recreation.  For her Masters of Arts Program she studied holistic health, and her thesis was on developing holistic teaching methods; fully supporting others along their own unique path of personal growth.    ​

Amanda is an avid outdoor recreation enthusiast and passionate about health and wellness. She holds professional certifications in both of these fields:

  • Adventure Based Counseling through Project Adventure
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Training
  • Risk Management Training with the National Outdoor Leadership School
  • Ayurveda (Holistic Health) Practitioner​ with the National Ayurveda Medical Association
  • E-500 Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Swift Water Rescue Technician  
  • Avalanche Assessment and Rescue, Level 1 and 2 
  • Basic Archery Instructor

Amanda Montavon, M.A.
Programs Director
(907) 982-4144

We embody the practice of nurturing strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to ​​thrive. 

Fulfilling this potential occurs best in the form of experiences and moments of connection between self, others and nature.  

Our core values are based on the principles of positive psychology and are developed upon authenticity, purpose and relationships.

Programs for Teens and Adults

"Unity is Strength... Where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." 

​~Mattie J.T. Stepanek

  • Low & High Ropes Course
  • Team Building 
  • Professional Development
  • Experiential Learning
  • ​Holistic Education 

As the Founder and Executive Director, Randy leads the organization’s mission to strengthen youth and community by advancing education through the integration of meaningful experience and positive psychology.  

Prior to Onward & Upward, Randy spent over a decade in other youth-serving capacities including counseling troubled youth and families and providing outdoor environmental education. Several years of social work and teaching taught him that, in order to be successful, most youth need exposure to more than just traditional academic subjects in school.  They need experiential opportunities that are designed to strengthen, inspire, empower, and connect.  To create a solution for this gap in education, after receiving a BA in Psychology and MA in Therapeutic Adventure Programming, Randy completed the Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology program at Alaska Pacific University, where he focused his research and dissertation on developing a positive childhood behavioral health and development curriculum.  He also holds level 1 and level 2 challenge course instructor certifications through Association for Challenge Course Technology, Wilderness First Aid, and Certificate of Nonprofit Leadership. 

With help from an amazing, passionate, and committed board of directors, he founded Onward & Upward with the aim of fundamentally improving, advocating for, and promoting interventions that foster positive youth development and wellbeing.  Randy is married with two young boys and enjoys spending time with family and friends doing anything and everything outside.


  • Backcountry Expeditions
  • Outdoor Education ​ 
  • Therapeutic Adventure
  • Community Focused
  • School Based Programs 

Onward and Upward offers experiential education and therapeutic adventure as a community based nonprofit organization in Palmer, AK.