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Wilderness Programs and Teen Help

MountainsFor the many people that know me, they know I don’t believe in  Wilderness programs  nor do I advocate for short term programs.  This doesn’t mean there aren’t reputable Wilderness programs in our country.  There are, however chances are very good, after your teen attends one – within the first 30 days, the program will tell you it is likely you will need to go on to a residential therapy program.  Which means….

  • More money (start-up fees)
  • Another trip
  • Another therapist, more new staff to become familiar with (again)
  • Another schedule
  • Another campus
  • Etc….

Back to the first one – the costs are exuberant for wilderness, and to combine it with another at least $50K for a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or Therapeutic Boarding School (TBS) is simply out of the equation for many families.

We are about educating parents in all aspects of the teen help industry.

I’ve worked with families that have taken the wilderness road.  Now they are out of money and need  a program, but the funding is no where to be found.  What do you do?  Their teen is back to the streets – smoking the dope and failing in school. (Let’s also remember most wilderness programs don’t offer academics).

One thing these at-risk teens need is consistency.  Usually for the past several months, even years they have been spiraling out of control, driving down a negative path with a negative peer group.

Going to wilderness can be great experience – they get to vent to their counselor, talk about their feelings and dig deep inside.  They even get a new appreciation of sleeping in their bed or a bed.  They are also knowing that once they just get through these next 6-8-10 weeks – they are home free.

Now, you tell them they are not home free – they are going to the “next step” – a longer term program.  Now they have to get over the disappointment, anger, resentment and most of all, they have to start all over again with a new therapist – a new staff and a new setting.  Sigh…..

Of course this is the case for the families that can afford that next step.  If they can’t – some will be facing a probation officer or public defender within a few months.  Solid changes and “lasting” changes cannot be made within 6-8-10 weeks.

This is way an average successful program is 6-9-12 months (not weeks).

Consider taking the costs of a pricey wilderness and putting towards a quality RTC or TBS. If you have PPO insurance it can be beneficial also for these programs. Some IEP’s will cover a portion of an RTC and TBS also.

Are Wilderness program worth it?  It’s my opinion, since 2001 I have been talking and working with thousands of families – no, they simply are not worth it.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful to some families, but from the many I have spoken with – their reflection is that it was a good experience, however not always a necessary one when you know you are continuing to an RTC or TBS.  Of course, we all are different.

Contact us if you would like more information.

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    23 hours ago

    Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc (P.U.R.E.)

    Excellent read by Kari Kampakis, WriterA mom of five kids (all teenagers) once told me that something they discuss a lot in their home is RECOVERY.

    Her husband’s big question to their five kids is: "What will your recovery be?" He tells his teenagers, “You’re going to make mistakes, and hard things will happen, but what will your recovery be? How will you respond when things don’t go as planned?”

    I love this concept because it’s so relevant – especially to teens. More often than not, this is the stage of life when adult-sized problems, disappointments, and heartaches begin to manifest.

    An accident they didn’t see coming.

    A romance that ended with a broken heart.

    A mistake they'll always regret.

    A dream that didn’t come true.

    A curve ball that changed their plans.

    A setback that felt like punishment.

    I’ve read many articles – you probably have too – about the importance of resiliency in kids. I’ve heard it said today’s kids often have high performance skills but low coping skills. Their talents and achievements are off the charts, but when it comes to the interior stuff, that grit that helps them handle the unexpected twists and turns of life, it often doesn’t develop to a mature level.

    I’m all for resiliency, but I don’t like watching the adversities that help build resilient kids. I don’t enjoy seeing my kids or others face bumps in the road or mountains that put their character and resolve to the test.

    What I’m trying to grow more comfortable with, however, is the truth that pain and life interruptions can serve a purpose. The obstacles our kids face often prepare them for blessings down the road or open up new doors they didn’t see coming.

    Most importantly, God will comfort them in their pain so they can comfort others. Whatever happens to our kids – good or bad – never goes to waste. God can use it all to grow His kingdom and draw them closer to Him.

    I believe helping a child recover begins with compassion and sensitivity. It means comforting them, crying with them, and confirming we’ll walk beside them. Whatever the next steps are, we’ll take that journey with them, because as long as we’re alive and able they will never walk alone.

    The next step is to instill hope. To give them something to cling to and remind them how the pain they feel is temporary. It won’t last forever, and things will get better.

    Nobody is guaranteed a problem-free life, and what every child realizes at some point is how fragile life circumstances can be. How bodies, hearts, and spirits can break from one unfortunate event…one devastating conversation…one poor choice…one bad performance…one painful punch in the gut.

    We can’t always prevent the trials our kids face, but we can influence their next chapter. We can empower them by asking, What will your recovery be? How will you make the best of this situation? What choices will you make from here that keep you moving in the right direction?

    And then, we can celebrate their recovery. We can applaud them as they work diligently to bounce back, move forward, and develop the grit and character that can be the hallmark of their story.

    For more inspiration join Kari Kampakis, Writer, or check out these books for teen & tween girls, used widely across the country for small group and church studies.

    #10truths --> amzn.to/2niGdf9

    #likedbook --> amzn.to/2na8fds
    ...

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