Pacific Quest Named Big Island of Hawaii Small Business of the Year

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Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy, an outdoor behavioral health care and sustainable treatment program for struggling adolescents and young adults, was the #1 Big Island small business selected by the SBA in 2011

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy Founders

Founders (from left to right): Chris Kaiser, Suzanne McKinney and Mike McKinney

"We're surprised, really honored and humbled by this recognition"

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy was named the Big Island’s top small business in 2011 by the Small Business Administration. Pacific Quest was recognized for job creation, growth in annual revenue, innovation, staying power and contributions to the community.

"All (of the winners) have demonstrated the business acumen, tenacity and achievement -- particularly in the face of adversity -- to excel. Each was evaluated on job creation, growth in annual revenue, innovation, staying power and contributions to their community," the SBA stated.

Over the past seven years, Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy has worked with more than 500 at-risk children and young adults in environments that allow them to make discoveries in safe, structured, experimental and natural ways. At a 7-acre certified organic garden and a 3-acre retreat, they garden, learn sustainable life skills and work with licensed professionals in individual and group settings. They also learn to eat, sleep and exercise in the best way for their body, mind and emotions. The students develop a plan to help them determine what's important in life and how to achieve their goals- "we call it Sustainable Growth, the students call it Papaya Therapy", said Executive Director Michael McKinney.

"We're surprised, really honored and humbled by this recognition," added McKinney. "Pacific Quest has 55 employees, all of whom work hard, are dedicated, have a passion for their work, enjoy being part of the island and are committed to helping youth and young adults realize their full potential," McKinney noted.

About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program for struggling teens and young adults, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Their wilderness programs offer a clinical, yet holistic approach to treatment, going beyond traditional wilderness therapy and teaching sustainable life skills. Pacific Quest’s proprietary therapeutic model is a ground breaking approach that uses organic gardening to create concrete metaphors for its students as they cultivate their own health and happiness. Pacific Quest provides an environment that allows for a true discovery process for its students, a place that is safe, structured, experiential and natural. Owned and operated by a veteran team of professionals with hundreds of years of combined wilderness program experience, Pacific Quest offers a unique approach to treatment that is individualized for each student.


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Mark Agosto
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