As the Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Randy Dowd leads the organization’s mission to strengthen youth, families, and the community by promoting positive learning through the integration of meaningful connections and experiential education.
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. Many 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 his Doctor of Psychology (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 certifications in:
- Challenge Course Manager/Faciliator through the Association for Challenge Course Technology
- Level l & ll Challenge Course Facilitator through the Association of Challenge Course Technology
- Wilderness First Responder
- Nonprofit Leadership
- Science Based Innovation Training for Child Development
- Social and Emotional Learning through Adventure through Project Adventure
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.