Growth, Resilience, and Connection

Tools and strategies to help young adults succeed.

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Guiding and Empowering Young Adults

People often ask why we started individual mentoring for teens or what made us decide to develop mental health programs for adolescents. The simple truth is this – each member of the Octagon Mentoring team is passionate about helping teens and young adults learn to navigate the obstacles of growing up. 

Seeing the principles we teach in our personal development coaching programs take hold and ignite within someone keeps us going day after day. We do what we do because we’ve seen the program work, and we believe in the power and potential of today’s young adults.

Our Mission: To Cultivate Growth, Resilience, and Connection

Many people dream of a better life but don’t know how to achieve it. At Octagon Mentoring, we’ve made it our mission to teach teens and young adults the skills they need to enter adulthood and thrive. 

We act as a life coach for teens as we work one-on-one, in groups, or with families to guide individuals and make sure they feel confident and ready for the road ahead. 

Our mental health programs for young adults have the same goal – to give people a new perspective on life and equip them with the strategies and tools they need to succeed.

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Learn more about Octagon Mentoring

Find out more about how we can support you and your family.
Andrew Taylor Octagon Mentoring profile
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Andrew Taylor


A native of Utah, Andrew grew up playing in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working with young people in the outdoors in 2002 and has made it his life’s work. He founded Pure Life Adventure, a Therapeutic Gap Semester program in Costa Rica where he has worked with many  young adults and their families struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other related issues. He has a Master in Business Administration from Westminster College and he received a certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling from the University of Utah.

Andrew is able to draw from his business and clinical backgrounds along with his personal experience and research to provide a well-rounded approach to help young people. He hosts his own podcast that explores the insight of those committed to living a better life and helping others do the same. His latest outdoor obsession is surfing. With his freetime, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children.

Sidnee Kassing Octagon Mentoring profile
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Sidnee Kassing

Business Development

Sidnee brings over 12 years of invaluable experience in behavioral health. She has successfully supported numerous families in challenging situations, fostered strong connections within the mental health and substance abuse community, and actively promoted mental health awareness.

Sidnee’s passion for helping others shines through her work, and she finds immense joy in her profession. Beyond her professional commitments, she cherishes moments spent with her son and family.

Sidney Kay Garrido Octagon Mentoring profile
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Sidney Kay Garrido


Sidney considers her “Super Power” as a mentor to be her aptitude for asking questions that encourage clients to find their own answers. One of her primary focuses involves helping adolescents and young adults incorporate accountability and intrinsic motivation into their lives. Sidney invites her clients to examine what habits help them and what habits hinder them, and together, they work to create new, better habits.

Born and raised in Utah, Sidney is the oldest of five kids. With two younger siblings on the Autism Spectrum, she has always understood the importance of tailoring communication and learning styles to individual needs. Sidney attributes her ability to help those struggling to her own struggles growing up. At the age of fifteen, she was diagnosed with ADD and Depression. Sidney’s pivotal turning point began when she started to pursue her passion for the outdoors. Engaging in nature enabled her to build the self-efficacy that then transferred to all other aspects of her life. Sidney’s love for the outdoors has led her to work as a ski patroller, a fisherman in Alaska, a Wildland firefighter, a backcountry snowboard guide, a meditation and yoga instructor, and a permaculture farmer in Hawaii and Southeast Asia.

Sidney was first introduced to the concept of Adventure Therapy and Wilderness Therapy in 2017 while studying Outdoor Recreation Management at Utah Valley University. She felt an immediate connection to these fields, and she has passionately pursued mental health ever since. Sidney spent three years as a counselor for adolescents and adults recovering from trauma, addiction, and different psychological disorders. She also worked as a Crisis Interventionist for two years.

In addition to working as a mentor for Octagon, Sidney manages a women-led snowboard company in Salt Lake City that strives to get more women and underrepresented populations into snowboarding. She is happiest in the mountains and tends to average 100+ days a year on her snowboard—both at the resort and in the backcountry.

Audrey Abbott Octagon Mentoring profile
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Audrey Abbott


As a coach for Octagon Mentoring, Audrey works to empower young individuals in their quest to create vibrant, independent, and fulfilling lives. She offers specialized support with executive functioning, accountability, relationship building, emotional regulation, life skills development, and managing transitions.

Audrey earned her Bachelor of Arts from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The summer after graduation, she began to lead biking and hiking trips with an active travel company, and what started out as “one last hurrah” before settling into “the real world” turned into a lifelong passion and career. Audrey developed a deep regard for adventure travel, as well as the wilderness experience, and she believes strongly in the innate connection between outdoor exploration and self-reflection and growth. Before moving to Utah in 2018, Audrey lived and worked all over the world. She spent significant time in Catalonia, Spain, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Patagonia, and Southeast Asia. Once she returned stateside, Audrey began working in mental health. She spent four years with Evoke Therapy Programs and joined the team at Octagon Mentoring in 2021.

In addition to working as a coach, Audrey coordinates and runs Octagon’s family retreats and adventure trips. She plans and executes complex logistics with a focus on communication, conflict resolution, and risk management.

When she is not working with young people and their families, Audrey spends her free time exploring Southern Utah, where she enjoys a multitude of outdoor activities from climbing and canyoneering to bikepacking and boating. In between adventures, Audrey can be found relaxing with a cup of coffee and a stack of books on the front porch of her home outside Zion National Park.

Max Becker Octagon Mentoring profile
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Max Becker


Max spent nine weeks at Pure Life Adventure, our founder Andrew Taylor’s other program, after struggling in his first year of college. Max had a fantastic experience at the adventure therapy program in Costa Rica. After Pure Life, Max moved from Orlando, Florida to Utah. Since living in Utah he has been a guide, certified in yoga teaching through Yoga Alliance, worked at Patagonia, and went to school at the University of Utah. Max graduated from the U in 2019 and accepted a position working for the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute (GPI). Max is still working at GPI as a full-time policy analyst while pursuing his masters in public policy.

Max works as a mentor for Octagon Mentoring because of his own therapeutic experience. He believes in Andrew’s vision and wants to help others find their way through young adulthood. He knows what it is like to struggle, and helping others navigate through their own experiences is a passion of his.

Max is an avid skier, a semi-decent climber, and a below average trail runner. He also thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2018. Max is admittedly a bit of a music and movie snob, but not above enjoying Pitbull or the latest Marvel movie.

KJ Walters Octagon Mentoring profile
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Kjrstin J. Walters, LMFT

Clinical Parent Coach

With experience in therapeutic programs spanning almost two decades, Kjrstin (KJ) has expertise and understanding working with adolescents, young adults, and parents. Having worked in both wilderness and residential programs, she understands the needs of a struggling child and the overwhelm and strain on the parents in supporting that child.

Kjrstin’s passion for healing families motivated her to earn her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, with a specialization in systemic family work. She is specifically trained in working with family systems, and she has extensive experience in helping families work together to overcome familial and individual struggles.  

In addition to family relationships, Kjrstin also offers support with mood & anxiety disorders, personality disorders, failure to launch & life transitions, addictions, trauma, ADHD & executive functioning, and self-harm & suicidality.

Kjrstin started joined the Octagon team in 2021. She enjoys being able to work alongside parents while their child receives support from Octagon. In her free time, Kjrstin enjoys mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting, and hanging out with her family.

PJ Mannion Garrido Octagon Mentoring profile
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PJ Mannion

Collaborative Therapist

I am a Psychotherapist that loves to think creatively and learn about different points of view. In my personal life I get to play the parts of brother, son, husband, father, artist, friend, and student. I find joy in exploring the mountains and being with my wife and four kids.

The best part of my job is getting to know people and helping them kindle their own growth and fulfillment.In my career I have had three years of work in an inpatient adolescent treatment center as well as seven years in an outpatient young-adult program where I was able to serve as a Therapist and Clinical Director.

In addition to running my own outpatient mental health practice I enjoy opportunities to collaborate and lead regular coaching groups for parents across the nation. I enjoy working with individuals in various life stages and feel fortunate to have a career that allows me this rewarding opportunity.

Caitlin Galt Octagon Mentoring profile
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Caitlin Galt

Collaborative Therapist

Caitlin has over 16 years of experience as a clinician and clinical director working with parents, families, children, and young adults in private programming sectors and private practice outpatient therapy. As a therapist, Caitlin has been sought after for her direct, collaborative, and relational style. She combines psychological counseling skills through a multifaceted approach. Caitlin supports her clients in working through challenges stemming from anxiety, depression, family conflict, attachment issues, and difficulties that can arise with neurodivergent presentations. 

Caitlin has extensive experience in guiding adolescents, young adults, and their families through the stages of healthy growth and appropriate boundaries that arise during this transitional phase of life. Caitlin’s approach guides clients to develop insight into their decision making and emotional growth.  She seeks to bring out the best in others while challenging them to try something new.

When not working, Caitlin enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dog going on adventures, listening to live music, and playing in the mountains. 

Amy Gelwix Octagon Mentoring profile
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Amy Gelwix


Amy is originally from Salt Lake City, but has lived in Chicago for the last twenty years. Armed with a double major in political science and communications from the University of Utah, she’s not only a dedicated professional but also a loving wife and mother to three daughters. Beyond her academic achievements and familial responsibilities, Amy finds joy in various pursuits. Whether it’s showcasing her tennis skills, engaging in lively MahJongg sessions with friends, or embarking on exciting travels, she leads a vibrant and fulfilling life. Spot her either basking on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan or embracing the majestic mountains of her Utah roots.

Kevin McCartan Octagon Mentoring profile
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Kevin McCartan


Kevin grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, attended John Hersey High Schools, and then Harper Community College where he earned his Nursing Assistant certification. Since obtaining his CNA, Kevin has devoted his career to helping others in need, specifically individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He currently works full time at Misericordia, Heart of Mercy on Chicago’s northwest side- an organization that houses, employs, and teaches every day life skills to individuals with disabilities and supports them through a continuum of services including developmental training through structured daily programming. Since starting at Misericordia, Kevin has worked his way up from being a direct caretaker to lead job coach for his building and now a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional. Kevin brings the same passion that he has for helping individuals with disabilities to his work with Octagon Mentoring. Through octagon’s mentoring program he seeks to help individuals struggling to find their footing take ahold of the reigns and make positive and long lasting changes to create a healthier and more productive life for themselves. Kevin is motivated by how fast Octagon is growing and hopes to help more clients grow into their full potential. In his free time Kevin enjoys riding his bike, skateboarding in the summer, and going to concerts with family and friends.

Sara Madsen Octagon Mentoring profile
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Sara Madsen


Sara graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in communication. Over the past 20 years, she has been actively involved in the wellness and health industry. Currently pursuing a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at National University, Sara works in a clinic, assisting patients with post-concussion syndrome or brain injuries. As a mother to three teenage sons, Sara is especially committed to helping teens and young adults find success and direction.