Our Philosophy

We believe that everyone we work with has the innate ability and desire (however well it may be masked) to change and grow when given an environment that is safe, supportive, and challenging. We know that caregivers play an essential role in their youth’s healing and in their families continued success. Our staff utilize relationship and strength based approaches to therapy, rather than punitive or coercive techniques, to help youth find their own empowerment and direction. Finally, we realize that each youth is an individual and our therapists works with contemporary therapeutic methods to facilitate the powerful healing impact of wilderness to fit the needs of each family.

Every teenager that comes to us wants things to be better. While they usually act defiant, angry, or depressed, deep inside they all want change. Our job is to find this motivation, nurture it, and support it until it is strong. Upon graduation from our program you should expect your youth to be motivated to live life in a positive manner – because they want to. Our belief in a person’s innate ability to heal and grow informs everything we do. Because we believe that lasting change comes only when it is wanted, not when it is forced, your teen will not be subjected to coercive or punitive interventions,  or punishments.

Caregivers have an essential role in the treatment process. Each caregiver can have a direct and powerful impact on their youth’s growth, and because of this we request that each student have one caregiver who is able and willing to deeply engage in the process. You can expect our staff to be respectful, supportive, and compassionate while encouraging each caregiver to look carefully at what they can do to support their youth and their families long-term success.

The relationships that form between staff and students have strong therapeutic value. Our staff’s primary role is to provide a safe and supportive environment in which there is a balance of structure, challenge and nurture. Because the field staff live day in and day out with the youth, eating the same food and walking the same miles, there is a unique opportunity to build a powerful relationship — a relationship in which each youth can explore different ways of behaving and engaging, and in which each youth can feel the warmth of acceptance and belonging. We believe that this relationship is powerful and best served by a low staff to student ratio.

We believe in the healing power of wilderness. Wilderness provides challenge, refuge, and a break from the hectic, technology filled, world our teens face today. The Outside world offers ample opportunity for powerful and direct feedback of both positive and negative behaviors. The difficulty of living in the wilderness gives us the chance to experience a genuine pride that can only come from successfully facing tangible challenges. Above all, wilderness provides a quiet that forces us to face what we’d rather ignore, gives us the time to reflect, and allows us to connect with ourselves and others.