As a unique approach to Outdoor Behavioral Health, the Journey Wilderness takes teens (ages 13 to 17) back to a simpler time and uses Woodcraft philosophy and skills to invite change in their lives. It is designed to teach self-reliance through the use of turn-of- the-century outdoor technology.
Our integrated curriculum is crafted by a psychologist for teens who are struggling with behavioral, emotional, or substance abuse concerns, and combines skills/craft instruction and academic credit, with therapeutic lessons.
We believe that every experience has the potential to teach through active metaphors, allowing the teen to learn at multiple levels. The teens have direct contact with animals (dogs, pack goats, etc.) to learn about taking care of and appreciating their contribution to the expedition. Teens participate in nature rather than merely passing through it. They cook their own meals, they are responsible for their own shelters, they deepen their understanding of the environment, and they learn the value of meaningful work.
Young Adult Program
The Journey provides a program for young adult males and females ages 18-28, with a history of substance use/abuse and chemical dependency, moderate to severe emotional and behavioral problems, low self-esteem, academic underachievement, or family conflict. (Young adult and youth teams are never mixed.)
We know that many young people today are in pain and struggle with feelings of frustration, anxiety and depression due to the stresses of modern life and the personal challenges they face. Oftentimes the struggle leads to feeling out of control and afraid, and even to thoughts of giving up. Unfortunately, a growing number of youth and young adults turn to drugs, alcohol or other forms of self-medication as an escape or a means to deal with the stressors of life.
We have a firm conviction that every person is infinitely valuable and capable. Life is a journey of exploring our potential, discovering possibilities, and becoming a better person every day. We invite and encourage teens and young adults whom may have lost their way to begin the process of realizing their true selves, while treating each one of them with the utmost respect. To emphasize this, our field instructors experience the wilderness in the same way the students do. They eat the same food, use the same equipment, and hike the same miles as the teens they lead.
We recognize teens may be resistant to change, and may not see a reason to change, so we are patient and caring in allowing them time to come to their own conclusions about when and how to change. The Journey approach helps to build self-esteem and confidence, the first steps to making life changes and good choices. We emphasize positive reinforcement and natural consequences. We know that active, hands-on learning experiences help our students learn the process of problem-solving and self-discovery. Each student’s treatment is prescriptively designed by their personal therapist to meet their needs while supporting the parents to continue their teen’s process of growth and learning.
Why Location Matters
A significant contributing force to facilitate change in the Journey Wilderness is the location. The high Uinta Mountain range in the Summer and Fall and the wide expanse of the Western Desert of Utah in the Winter and Spring, provide not just a backdrop, but are the active ingredients for teens and young adults to explore discover and become. By providing them with continually changing displays of mother nature’s most dramatic environmental landscape, adaptation and learning are constant and meaningful.
The Role of the Parents
At the Journey, parents have a critical role in developing a treatment plan designed specifically for their teen. Then, together with the therapist, they learn methods and develop skills that will bring the family together as a more loving, peaceful unit. Parents participate in weekly consultations on the phone with the therapist. We have a vast library of recommended resources to help parents better meet the needs of their teen. Our parent coordinator makes sure that parents are continually updated on the progress and activities of their youth through Family Bridge. So, as their teen is changing, parents are invited to explore, discover, and become. At the completion of the program, parents and their teen participate in a two-day growth seminar, which solidifies the things they have been learning and helps them successfully enter the next phase of their journey.
We feel that insuring the safety of the students in our care is a sacred trust and takes precedence over all other aspects of our program. We are passionate about making sure that risks are assessed and reduced, and everyone is safe. In addition to being licensed by the State of Utah as an Outdoor Youth Program, we constantly monitor our safety procedures to create the best possible outdoor learning environment. Instructors use state of the art communication devices, are trained in wilderness first aid and safety protocols, and follow stringent safety guidelines for every activity. Two-way satellite communications to readily available back-up personnel are used at a minimum of twice daily. Over the years, our wilderness safety record has been excellent.
Troubled Teens and Young Adults Experience Joy
Through living in nature at our troubled teen camp, students experience the joy of connecting with the earth, the water, the sky, themselves and their families. The expedition of discovery at our outdoor therapy program is not just teaching teens how to thrive in the wilderness, it is helping them to explore new horizons, the things they love and the things they are capable of developing. They have the opportunity to grow their talents, their dreams, and their ability to make healthy choices while increasing an appreciation for the good things they already have in their lives.
Your son or daughter is invited to find their true potential in a healing, nurturing, natural environment with qualified instructors and therapists who understand the way that change happens and can facilitate each teen’s personal journey at our wilderness therapy camp as they… become.
Therapeutic Adventure Programming (TAEs)
• TAEs are short (1-6 day) excursions focused on addressing therapeutic needs by utilizing different activities to elicit awareness, discussion and change.
• TAEs always have an identified purpose, goal and instructions in order to maximize the therapeutic opportunities available during the excursion.
• TAEs may include activities such as river rafting, rappelling, horse-packing, canoeing on Flaming Gorge Reservoir, snow-shoeing, handcart treks, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and woodcraft skills (i.e. Blacksmithing, rustic carpentry, and hide tanning).
The sincere empathy, understanding and unconditional love exemplified by our caring staff and therapists help our students embrace life with confidence. The result is young people who begin to experience true happiness because they accept the challenges in their life as opportunities to grow and develop a new level of maturity and healthy ambition.
We invite you and your family to join us on the path toward healing, hope and happiness!