We were founded in 2004 as Manaia Youth Programs by Wayne Mortimer and Lisa McNamee. While no longer with the organization, Wayne brought over 20 years of experience working with experiential learning programs for teens all over the world and was eager to provide these opportunities in his own community. Lisa is still an integral to our curriculum design and implementation and offers over 10 years of doing this meaningful work at Shift.
In the beginning, we offered our five-week Youth Empowerment and Leadership Program (YELP) in Bozeman and then in Livingston. Organizational restructuring in 2007 allowed us to steadily increase our capacity and we now offer six distinct community- and school-based programs ranging in length from one day to one year. To date, over 1000 teens and young adults throughout Southwest Montana have participated in one of our programs.
In late 2012 we changed our name to Shift Empowerment Programs because we wanted a name that reflects what we do well – creating the opportunity for change, or shift, in behavior and thinking. Our mission remains the same; empowering individuals, families and communities through transformational personal development.