Growth Outdoor Wilderness Programs
Therapeutic outdoor programs use the wilderness
as a tool to
quickly and effectively impact students/youth at risk. Experiential
in nature, emotional growth programs provide struggling adolescents
an opportunity to challenge themselves physically and emotionally
while exploring the unhealthy behaviors that have prevented
from making progress in their lives. The outdoor environment
provides a supportive, non-judgmental arena in which students
can process their limiting beliefs and core issues, and begin
to view themselves and their abilities from a different perspective.
The challenges inherent in a wilderness setting provide daily
success experiences which
serve to challenge old, negative beliefs and lead to new,
more positive self-perceptions.
Trained counselors work with students to help
the long-term value of their wilderness experiences, and to
assist in the development of strategies for applying its unique
lessons to their daily lives. Students begin to learn to accept
for their actions, and to better understand the correlation
between cause and effect, action and reaction. By taking advantage
of the heightened sense of awareness that an outdoor setting
produces, students are guided to a clearer sense of self,
The majority of therapeutic programs' staffs
include licensed clinical counselors responsible for screening
applicants, and developing and overseeing treatment plans
for each student. Daily individual and group therapy, and
the opportunity for psychological testing are standard within
the therapeutically oriented environment, and activities are
specifically geared to facilitate personal growth and development.
Students exhibiting at-risk behaviors, including
defiance, rebellion, running away, experimentation with drugs
and/or alcohol, sexual promiscuity, poor performance in school,
etc., are ideal candidates for therapeutic outdoor programs.
Proven successful in impacting and helping students who have
not responded to more traditional treatment programs, these
experiential environments provide students a solid foundation
on which develop the values of responsibility, hard work,
and respect of self and others. Additionally, such programs
serve as an excellent transitional step for children moving
on to long-term therapeutic placements.