Our staff is selected from the foremost team leaders and specialists in the region.

Field Team

STEVE LEWANICK
FIELD DIRECTOR
Steve@VillageLeadershipExpeditions.com

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Steve Lewanick is the founder and president of Ascents of Adventure, Inc., a climbing school and guide service. The company has been operating since 1985 in the capital district area of New York. Having over two decades of climbing experience, he has climbed extensively throughout the United States and Canada. He has taken first place in several climbing competitions, and has put up several “first ascents” in major climbing areas throughout the country.

Steve is one of a small number of guides to achieve national certification by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). He also serves as an AMGA Accreditation Review Member, reviewing other guide services and climbing schools for, risk management and safety standards. He is also certified by the American Sport Climbers Federation (ASCF) as a Sport Climbing Judge, enabling him to judge local, state, regional and national ASCF sanctioned climbing competitions. Steve is also a founder and ex-partner of A.I.R., (Albany’s Indoor Rockgym), a local indoor climbing and caving gym, (the nation’s first and only caving gym!)

Licensed by New York State as a professional rock and ice-climbing guide, Stephen teaches high-angle rescue classes and has a Guide-Apprentice program. In addition, Steve works with various agencies and corporations, providing growth-through-risk experiential programs, (Project Adventure, self-esteem, team-building, etc., both high & low elements). He has taught and worked with Management Development Program at RPI, Omega Institute, General Foods, Planned Parenthood and Reckett & Coleman. He works on an ongoing basis as a consultant and adventure programmer with kids-at-risk in several residential treatment programs and shelters. He currently works part-time for Equinox Inc. as their Adventure Based Counselor with a variety of clients, (youth-at-risk, domestic violence, counseling, etc.).

In August of 1994, Steve organized, trained and successfully led a team of blind climbers up a challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa (19,340 ft.). Steve specifically developed specialized training and guiding techniques for this project. He trained the team under very harsh conditions for a year prior to their trip.

Steve is a Nationally Certified Wilderness First Responder. He is also a trained Emergency Medical Technician and an Instructor for over 20 tears with the American Red Cross teaching CPR & First Aid. He teaches other classes including Emergency Response Training and Wilderness Skills I & II. He is a member of the local cave rescue call-out team. Steve has taught climbing classes for the Adirondack Mountain Club, numerous summer camp programs, various Scout troops as well as individuals and businesses. He was a past president of the NY Climbers Exchange and an official sponsor of the Access Fund.

His experience working as a Crisis Worker in the psychiatric nursing field of crisis intervention (12 years), as well as his enthusiastic, light-hearted approach with students makes him a favorite with the beginner and advanced student alike. He lives in Albany, NY with his two white German shepherds, “Kilimanjaro” and “Annapurna”.

ELIE GANZ
FIELD DIRECTOR
Elie@VillageLeadershipExpeditions.com

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Elie Ganz was born and raised in Scranton, P.A. where he spent much time exploring the beautiful Pennsylvania backcountry on foot and horseback.

After returning from a post-high school stint studying in Israel, Elie took his first position as an educator, in a behavioral modification high school program, before his 21st birthday. Two years later he returned to yeshiva to pursue his rabbinic ordination. He has since taught Judaic Studies to high school students in various institutions including the prestigious Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan.

In addition to his s’micha, Elie holds certifications as a teacher from the New Teacher Center of the University of California, a frontal-line therapy and behavioral modification counselor and an IWLS wilderness instructor.

Elie is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Management
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Clinical Team

ERIK (TZVI) TISCHLER, L.C.S.W
CLINICAL DIRECTOR
Tzvi@VillageLeadershipExpeditions.com

TzviErik (Tzvi) Tischler is a licensed social work in New York state. He has advanced training in addictions, trauma focused CBT, and crisis intervention. His professional experience include Emergency Room Crisis management assessment and counseling, In Patient Psych, Drug Rehab and detox units, doing one on one therapy and leading therapy groups. Erik has extensive experience working with the “frum” and Chassidish world and speaks hebrew and Yiddish as second and third languages.

Erik brings his past experience as a wayward youth, artist and adventurer to the table as part of who he is. His love and respect for each person he meets is his greatest strength. He sees his mission in life to bring light to where it is still dark through the principles of empowerment and faith in the ultimate good and truth that each individual person has within themselves.