CRUZ OUTDOORS is owned and operated by Brandon Cruz, a New York State Licensed Outdoor Guide and Nationally Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with 10 years professional experience leading outdoor recreation, team building and therapeutic recreation activities with youth and families. Brandon is certified in CPR, First Aid and Water Safety for Guides. He is also a Certified Outdoor Leader with the Wilderness Education Association.
Since our beginning in 2017, we have provided hundreds of individuals including families, youth groups, corporate groups, athletic teams, etc. with safe and rewarding outdoor adventure experiences including guided river trips, backpacking trips, team building, wilderness skills and more!
Brandon’s Adventure Story
In the summer of 1995, at the age of 16, Brandon laced up his boots, shouldered his backpack and hiked 30 miles into the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana with 7 complete strangers. As volunteer with the Student Conservation Association, there mission was to reroute 1500 feet of new trail for the National Forest Service. For 5 weeks, they worked as a team, camped like a family and frolicked like grizzly bear cubs, swimming, fishing and finding their way in the pristine rocky mountain wilderness. For the young dreamer, this was the experience of a life time!
5 Week Wilderness Skills and Outdoor Leadership Practicum, Wilderness Education Association, Adirondacks (1997); Summer Phish Tour (1997); Cross Country Trip (1998); 300 mile backpack, Colorado Trail (1999); 2 month backpack and surfing adventure, Kauai, HI (2000); Key West to Mexico sailing adventure (2002); 4 months study of Indegenous Culture and Sustainability in rural Oaxaca, Mexico (2003); 130 mile solo thru hike of the Northville-Placid Trail, ADKs (2005); Cross Country Trip and Mushroom Study (2005); 10 day ecological study and surf safari, Panama (2009); 4 month ESL adventure, Jiangsu Province, China (2014)
Upon deciding to pursue an education in Therapeutic Recreation, Brandon quickly took to the streets of his home town, Binghamton NY, to gain experience working with “at-risk” youth, first as a Youth Mentor, then Skill Builder and later as a Chemical Dependency Prevention Coordinator, all experiences that would inspire him to continue his work with youth and families with special needs and circumstances. Eventually, an internship lead to a full time position as Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Stillwater Residential Treatment Facility (now Stillwater Children's Center), in Chenango Forks NY, where Brandon worked for 5 years leading adventure-based therapeutic recreation programs for youth 8 to 18 years old with severe and persistent emotional disturbances. During his time at Stillwater he complete his Master's Thesis: Therapeutic Recreation Mindfulness Programming with Youth in a Residential Treatment Facility, teaching youth about the power of mindful awareness practices for improving mood and effectively dealing with stress.