Troubled Teen Wilderness Programs
Wilderness Programs can be an effective option for some families. A wilderness Program is labeled as such because it takes place in the wilderness. There is a lot of camping, hiking, and quiet time to think. There are some very successful Wilderness Programs and some that may not be so successful.
Like any type of business there are those that follow the rules and those that donít. There have been articles in the new the last few years, horror stories of teens being abused and deprived of basic needs. An over zealous untrained instructor can make some very unwise decisions. Some Wilderness Programs will hire former military personnel that may place unrealistic standards on the youth they are responsible for.
Monarch Center Colorado - Family Wilderness Therapy
The Monarch Center is an organization dedicated to working with families to reconnect and move through events and issues that have caused dysfunction and stress to arise. In particular, we effectively support parents and youths who are struggling with issues specific to the parent-adolescent relationship by utilizing both wilderness and relationship-based therapy in an intensive and transformative manner. These issues may include disrespecting authority, delinquency, substance abuse, academic struggles, emotional troubles, and peer conflicts. The vision of The Monarch Center is to work with families in crisis by interrupting and altering the processes which are causing damage to the family system rather than through a long-term exclusion of the child from her or his home environment. The result is a family which enjoys greater authenticity, healthier communication, and deeper connection.
The Monarch Center is able to respond to families through a range of services which include:
* Short & long-term wilderness-based interventions for adolescents
* Single and multi-family intensives
* Parent support groups
* Crisis interventions
* Family-based wilderness programs
* Community-based service programs for youths and their families; aftercare support
Monarch Center Colorado
P.O. Box 797
Georgetown, CO 80444
Not all Programs are the same
It is unfair to lump all Wilderness Programs together, just because some programs have had deaths and abuse doesnít mean that the entire concept should be abandoned. A Wilderness Program or Wilderness Camp can be an effective component of a troubled teen program. Some students will respond favorable to a Wilderness Program, followed up by longer term follow up program. Some students will make enough significant changes after the Wilderness Program that they can go home and behave appropriately.
Wilderness Programs are typically 30, 60 or 90 days in length. Many teens will need 12-18 months to make sufficient enough changes to go home and live appropriately. The reason that some teens are able to make changes with only a Wilderness Program is the shock factor of the entire experience. Hiking all day, going to the bathroom behind a bush, no shower, and having to build a fire to get warm are very dramatic teaching tools.
In conclusion, a Wilderness Program when properly administered can be an effective part of a troubled teenís recovery. As with any option, a Wilderness Program requires that parents do their due diligence. Complete references, licensing, and a personal visit should be part of a parentís research.