Parents dealing with a troubled teen might be interested in learning more about therapeutic camps for teens with behavioral problems.
Wilderness-based therapeutic camps take teenagers out of their old environments and put them into a situation that they cannot manipulate with the negative behavioral patterns that have served them well in the past. They are then forced to complete challenging, or even frightening, activities that they have never tried before. By completing these difficult tasks in a rugged environment, it forces the teens to reevaluate themselves and their preconceived notions about family, teamwork, education and friendship. Often, teens that complete a program at therapeutic camps emerge with a newfound maturity and self-confidence.
Outward Bound is one of the most famous of the wilderness therapeutic camps. Outward Bound’s website tells teens that their program “may be the hardest thing you have ever done. It will challenge you mentally, physically and socially. Outward Bound philosophy maintains that by facing the challenges the course will offer you, you will emerge physically and mentally stronger, with an increased mastery of expedition skills as well as a better understanding of your own capabilities and how to make a difference in the world. You learn how to work as a team and become a leader. We think that the payoff is well worth the work, but you should be aware of what you’re getting into and excited about tackling the challenges.”(outwardbound.org)
The SUWS wilderness program of Shoshone, Idaho, is another well-known wilderness camp. Its program is similar to that of Outward Bound, and seeks similarly to help teens improve their respect for both themselves and others. “By living in a group with their field instructors and peers, teens learn the value of being part of a team and contributing to a larger cause. Each group completes initiatives on a high and low ropes course, allowing them to face their fears and develop bonds of trust. The teens also learn basic search and rescue skills such as first aid and emergency response, getting them excited about working as a team and helping others.” (suws.com)
If you would like more information about therapeutic camps, please visit one of the links below, which were referenced in the article:
- “Typical Day at SUWS” SUWS Wilderness Programs. Undated. Retr. 22 Mar. 2012 <http://www.suws.com/wilderness-programs/typical-day-suws>
- “What is wilderness therapy?” Wilderness Programs Info. 2010. Retr. 22 Mar. 2012 <http://www.wilderness-programs-info.com/wilderness.html>