The SWAT Team

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James Shoffeitt CADC-II

Founder

Surf Instructor/ Group Facilitator

Serene Waters Adventure Therapy was founded in 2016 By James Shoffeitt in Orange County California.  James has a deep passion for helping guide men and women of all ages to discovering their own internal peace, sense of serenity, & character strengths. He has been clean and sober since 2008, and has been counseling since 2011.  James learned to surf at age 7, and rekindled his relationship with the ocean in 2009. He is an avid waterman and loves to spend time with his family, hike, and camp He started practicing surf therapy in 2014 at a local substance abuse program. From there he founded Serene Waters Adventure Therapy specifically to promote happiness & serenity, and help others open up in an alternative therapeutic environment.

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Kara Beres, MA,  APCC, ATR-P

Lead Clinician 

Surf Instructor/ Group Facilitator 

As a therapist, Kara utilizes experiential therapies to empower individuals to dive deep into their experiences to connect with their own past and present processes of maladaptive patterns and habits to be able to achieve personal growth and self –awareness.  Kara graduated with a Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University.  Her professional background consists of working with addictions and co-occurring disorders.  Kara grew up surfing on the east coast and was an ocean lifeguard for 15 years on the Atlantic City Beach Patrol.  Kara believes that gaining insight into new perspectives, and mastery through self-exploratory activities such as surfing, builds confidence and inspiration toward a continued path of personal growth and wellness.

 

 

Kylee Gollar Surf Therapy Instructor

Kylee Gollar RADT-1

Surf Instructor/Assistant Group Facilitator 

Kylee grew up and still resides in South Orange County. She has a passion for all things beach and adventure. Kylee is devoted to helping men and women who have struggled with substance abuse and addiction through exploring the therapeutic benefits of Serene Waters. Kylee has been in recovery since November 2017, and she enjoys giving back by working with others who have struggled staying sober or are getting sober for the 1st time.

 

 

Samantha Surf Instructor  (Orange County surf therapy)

Samantha Thek

Surf Instructor/Assistant Group Facilitator 

Samantha is a California local & U.S. Air Force Veteran. She has been clean and sober for 6 years and loves working with others in the ocean. When she is not instructing with Serene Waters she is teaching at O.C.C or spending time with her dogs. She loves dogs more than people! In fact she is the primary dog handler for our pet therapy sessions we offer.

 

 

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   Cassie McCoy Yoga Instructor                                                                                                             

Cassie grew up in Southern California. She was first introduced to yoga when she was 17. Her commitment to a yoga practice really began a few years after that. She has been teaching for the last 2 years and loves sharing the joys yoga has brought her to other people. She has joined our team specifically to be a apart of our surfing and mindfulness events where she will lead yoga and mindfulness exercises.

 

 

 

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Nala- Great Dane

Interactive Therapeutic Pet

Meet Nala. She is a 2 year old Great Dane and apart of our adventure team. She has had experience working with non-profit organizations; where she has gone into seniors nursing homes. She has also been apart of studies that track how interacting with dogs can impact college students under stress during mid-terms and finals. She has been trained by a Great Dane specialist at P.C.F. K-9 and is considered a service animal. She thinks she is a lap dog & isn’t one to play fetch but loves to play catch with a tennis ball.If you bounce it off the group she will jump in the air to catch it!!!!

 

 

 

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Simba- Dachshund/Mix Breed

Interactive Therapeutic Pet

Simba is 2.5 Years old and a great companion. He is considered a service dog in training and is fun/ easy to work with. He has passed basic obedience & socialization training. He loves to cuddle, and play fetch with a ball. He is a fast and keeps up with the big dogs. He has been screened and approved by other non-profit organizations and has participated in sessions at senior nursing homes and local colleges.