Teens in trouble face all sorts of problems. One way to help these troubled teens is to send them to a wilderness camp for a number of weeks. The aim of the camp is to help the teens break free of their problem and to give them confidence and skills to return home and be a happier and healthier individual.
Wilderness camps have two solid aspects to their programs and sometimes a third. The main two aspects are therapy and outdoor education. A third aspect is academic study although this is a lesser factor.
The therapy sessions are specific and intensive. They are specific in that they target the precise problem faced by the teen be it depression or rebellion or whatever. The therapy sessions are both one on one and in small groups. One of the main reasons parents send their child to a wilderness camp is because of the quality and quantity of the specific therapy sessions.
Then we come to the outdoor education. This serves several purposes. Firstly it is fun. Instead of teens facing boring classroom based sessions, the kids get outside and into the wilderness. There are all sorts of healthy pursuits like climbing, hiking, river based activities and more. Most wilderness camps include a week or two week long camp where the kids go away from the base and live in the wilderness. They have to make their own fire, cook their own meals and find their own water supplies. This is a real challenge and can have enormous benefits for the young campers. It builds self confidence, a spirit of friendship and teamwork and brings out the best in most kids.
The main purpose of a wilderness camp is to produce lasting change with the participants. These are not summer camps where the teens have fun and their folks take a break. These are life-changing experiences where troubled teens discover skills and an attitude which breaks them free from their problems and gives them hope for the future.
The best wilderness camps follow up on their charges. The goal is to see the teen well and staying well as they return to their family and school and friends. The benefits are potentially enormous and the key to the success lies in the programs on offer.
Most wilderness camps offer some sort of academic study program. It is not the main feature or purpose of the camp but participants are given every opportunity to stay involved with their school studies. Of course much of their written and oral expression can concentrate on their new lifestyle – their freedom from their problem gained via therapy and their wonderful outdoor adventures.
One significant aspect of a wilderness camp is the specific nature of their therapy program. The camp concentrates on the condition facing each teen be it depression, ADHD, rebellion or whatever. General therapy in group sessions is always a help with the teens able to share stories and triumphs but it is the one on one specific session which give the teens their greatest source of help and inspiration.