Raven Rising is Helping Individuals Rise Above Adversity

Written by: Brady Drake

Courage, Resilience, Strength; Those are the three cornerstones of Raven Rising. Meet Steven Peterson, founder of Raven Rising and life coach to so many individuals rising above adversity, which you will get to hear testimonials from later.

Steven Peterson’s dream for Raven Rising first began when he was a bail agent and bounty hunter in the late 90s. Peterson was able to see first-hand the stress and anxiety these individuals were facing with their addictions, and he was filled with love and compassion as well as a mission to provide them the tools they need to face adversity and reclaim their lives.

Raven Rising began as an organization in 2015, selling tactical gadgets and wilderness gear to raise funds for a high ropes course, which supplemented training and therapy for individuals facing addictions. Peterson understood the vicious cycle people struggling with addictions face, and wanted to create a facility to help them find freedom—and Raven Rising was born. We sat down with Peterson to learn more about the mission and work that goes into the entire program.

Q&A with Raven Rising CEO Steven Peterson

Steven Peterson, Raven Rising CEO

Tell me about the history of the C.O.P.E. program in Minnesota: Who all helped orchestrate and bring it to fruition?

The C.O.P.E. program has been with the Boy Scouts since 1981. Locally, Chad Swenson of Fargo was one of the original Scouting Staff to offer these activities to youths. Originally only for Scouts, we in the late Eighties were lucky enough to expand the program to include different groups around the region. By the Nineties, we were able to include groups from adjudicated youth programs. In the early Two Thousand’s, through my involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous, we were able to organize AA trips where they too could participate in various portions of C.O.P.E. activities and methodologies. Since those original small groups, they each have turned into their own entities that have grown into annual events that have seen thousands of people over the years.

Your goal has been to bring this program to North Dakota. What did you see lacking in the ND region that this program could solve?

In 2019, I was able to work as a lobbyist during the North Dakota legislative session. That work had me listening to and hearing the concerns of the Human Services committees of the House and Senate. Many different concerned parties came to speak about many issues during that session. I took the time to speak with many of those who came to testify on their various subjects. When I brought up and explained the C.O.P.E. program in Minnesota, many said they’d love to bring their students or patients, but that the hours of driving and related costs were prohibitive. Others identified current and past political differences with the Scouting organization as a reason not to participate. The simplest solution I saw was to bring a facility to North Dakota and centralize it in the state to increase access. We also have no connections to the Scouting organization, and their current legal problems nationally. We are creating a hybrid, where with cross-training of already established therapists, that we are able to service groups that have never had access to this methodology before. While based on the Scouts program, its focus at our facility will be on helping people with PTSD and other issues find the tools and skills to enjoy a fruitful life.

Who and what inspires you the most about this program, and what are you most excited about looking ahead?

The who’s that inspire this is a long list of people who go back decades. Col. Dick Bourne (Rt.) and Bob “Ya Gotta Wanna” Young were critical people for me when I was younger. Bob especially, as a Bail Bondsman, help me see people in an entirely different light. My experiences with him helped frame how I see alcohol and drug dependence, and its impacts on people’s lives. What inspires me is the future, the unseen potential energy becoming kinetic. Even more so with the hope that we can make this accessible to adults and youths across North Dakota.

Testimonial with Jenna Vanhorne

Jenna Vanhorne

How were you introduced to Steven and how did he help you overcome adversity?

I met Steven in 2019 while we were both working in the capital during a session. We became friends and worked through a lot of issues separately, but together. Steven has a way of putting the world into terms I can understand. We both have frequented some of the same spaces on our life’s journeys, be it from opposite sides of the spectrum. Because of his understanding of my past, he has been instrumental in shaping my future. No one has put as much faith and belief in me in my life as much has Steven has.

What positive takeaways did you apply to your life after working with Steven?

Positive takeaways….I’ve never had a conversation with Steven where he wasn’t teaching me something. No matter what action I take in life, I hear Steven’s voice and encouragement in my head while forming my decisions. He’s changed my way of thinking completely and I have grown because of it. Because of him, I have trust and faith in humanity, because he’s proved without a doubt that he will be there for me no matter what. I can’t imagine my life without him.

What would you say to someone considering looking to participate in a Raven Rising event?

Do the thing but don’t do it with half a heart. Throw everything you have into it emotionally and mentally. If you do this, you cannot fail.

Testimonial with Chris Kenney

How were you introduced to Steven and how did he help you overcome adversity?

Steven and I became acquainted through work at Hector International Airport during our time at Vic’s Aircraft Sales and Flight Training. I was a hangar attendant, and Steve worked in sales for the office. We quickly became friends, and he did me the honor of taking me under his mentorship as well.

What positive takeaways did you apply to your life after working with Steven?

Stevens’s guidance has been applied to nearly every aspect of my personal and professional life. Through his guidance, I’ve learned to manage my finance, goals, and business acumen.

What would you say to someone considering looking to participate in a Raven Rising event?

To all those who wish to participate in any RR events, they will be provided with some truly valuable networking and mentorship. Stevens’s experience
in a multitude of disciplines and areas of expertise will be invaluable. The work that RR will provide is a testament to progress and the values that Steven represents every day.

Testimonial with Brandon Fitzgerald

How were you introduced to Steven and how did he help you overcome adversity?

I was introduced to Steven through a mutual business associate. Steven and I share a mutual passion for helping others. The cornerstone of this passion is the belief in true harm reduction and evidence-based practices. Raven Rising is dedicated to bringing opportunities to all people regardless of the individual’s identity, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.

What positive takeaways did you apply to your life after working with Steven?

As I continue to work with Steven, we are working towards finding creative ways to bring recovery and empowerment programs to all people. This creativity and outside-the-box thinking can be utilized in almost every area of a person’s life.

What would you say to someone considering looking to participate in a Raven Rising event?

You will be challenged. The high ropes courses will challenge you mentally and physically. In the end, you may be surprised at what you can accomplish on your own and with a team of individuals who believe in you. At the very least, expect to have fun.

To help support Raven Rising’s mission. Visit their website and e-commerce store where proceeds go directly to funding Raven Rising’s mission.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.