InnerRoads Wilderness Program is a therapeutic intervention for teenagers that places emphasis on wilderness, family, and community. We give adolescents the opportunity for growth, healing and empowerment. To parents we offer a chance for self-reflection, active support and guidance. InnerRoads is open for placements every April through September. Our staff are experienced, and we utilize a low staff to student ratio. InnerRoads Wilderness Program helps struggling teens change direction, find motivation, build self-worth and insight, develop interpersonal skills, and better understand the connection between their actions and consequences.
Our 2015 field season is coming to a close. Thanks to our wonderful staff and community sponsors for making it another successful season. We will begin taking applications for the 2016 season in February. In the mean time please call Katharine Sampson (program manager) at (406) 541-1642 for more information.
"Two years ago, my mom decided she could no longer care for me, so I moved in with my dad and stepmom. The transition wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Everything at my house always seemed to be a constant battle. Because I never felt safe, I started using drugs. My dad recognized the struggles I was having and placed me in the InnerRoads Wilderness Program. This program is designed to help teens grow, heal and develop stronger relationships with the people in our lives. In September, I set off into the wilderness with three other teens for 30 days. From that point on, we hiked for 110 miles carrying 50-pound packs! This experience proved to be more worthwhile than I thought it would be. I had lots of time to think about how I reacted to my problems and how I could do better. Now I find that I am honest, own my emotions, identify my feelings and communicate better. Overall, I am more aware and empowered. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, this trip was the hardest thing I've ever done...and the most rewarding."
Scott, age15, entered Inner Roads for help with substance abuse issues. For Scott, being in the mountains was one of the best experiences of his life. Through that time he developed a great love for the woods. The staff on the trip treated the kids wonderfully; they engaged intellectually with them and yet were fun and positive. It showed because the kids really treated them all with admiration. While the kids were in the mountains we as parents had to attend our own counseling sessions. These were useful to facilitate our new beginning with our kids. We also got to relate to other parents in the group and learn from them. There were some extremely difficult times where we had to face some hard issues but with the help of InnerRoads, we found some new solutions and got through it. It was well worth it. Since this summer we as a family have had stronger communication, trust has developed on both sides and we have had little problems with Scott. We haven’t experienced that for many years. Scott is going to school and doing well; he is in driver’s education and has a job. He is still in drug court and due to graduate soon. Scott has remained clean since July and has aspirations for a future. He has grown into a better person and we owe it to his time at Inner Roads Wilderness Treatment Program…..We are forever grateful for the learning experience.
Today, if I could introduce you to 17-year-old Caleb, you would instantly feel comfortable in his presence. Caleb would ask you questions about yourself and would be genuinely interested in what you had to say. He is a very likeable young man. His laughter and smile are contagious. This was not the situation one year ago… Last year, Caleb came into our program angry and confused. He hated his Mom and despised the Dad whom he had met one time in his life. His Dad came to his 7th birthday party at Caleb’s request, promised to return, but never came back. Caleb was heartbroken. Caleb’s childhood was unstable due to frequent moves, siblings’ mental health issues, and mother’s self acknowledged abusive behaviors. Six months before entering our program, Caleb was struggling with depression and anger towards his mother. Caleb and his mother knew they needed help. Both were extremely motivated to participate in InnerRoads. It was the only thing they had agreed on in the last couple of years. While visiting Caleb in the field, it was obvious he was a natural leader. His positive attitude and unwillingness to give up was contagious. It spread to the rest of the group. He was one of the most determined teenagers that InnerRoads has ever had. After completing InnerRoads, Caleb worked hard to get his GED, got a job, and has plans to attend college in the fall. He and his Mom continue to work on their relationship, taking steps towards trusting each other again.