Troubled young people make a lot of bad decisions, causing a lot of emotional distress to themselves and their families. Parents often turn to different kinds of therapeutic interventions to help their children through their destructive phases. Young people who are left without help oftentimes don’t make it through these phases because of the high-risk attitudes that they have, or they have very troubled adult lives ahead of them.
Youth at risk behavior involves any kind of behavior that puts the youth at negative risk for the future such as injury, death, or sickness. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), at-risk behaviors could include the following:
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
- Sexual behaviors that exposes youth to unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
- Eating disorders or unhealthy dietary habits
- Physical inactivity
One of the most effective programs for youth at risk is wilderness therapy. Since most wilderness camps have programs that run over several months and not just over the summer vacation, these programs typically have an academic program built into them as well. This could be a better option than letting young people go through regular school where they will not be monitored as effectively and their individual needs will often go unaddressed. Young people with at-risk behaviors often don’t benefit much from school because there are a lot of distractions and a lot of opportunities to give in to these distractions, especially after school where their time is not monitored by responsible adults.
What makes wilderness therapy more effective in dealing with youth at risk is that young people are monitored even after school hours. Without the usual distractions such as malls, TV, video games, internet, and the likes, their after school activities are limited to healthy and wholesome ones. Proper nutrition completes the balance of a healthy lifestyle and environment.
Wilderness therapy isn’t a long camping trip. It’s a focused, individualized therapeutic model that is in a wilderness setting. There’s just something about being outside and exposed to the beauty of nature that, in itself, is already therapeutic. Using the wilderness settings to help push clinical therapy could be a great way to help troubled young people deal with the issues that they are facing in life. Add to that the advantage that lessons taught through wilderness therapy involve ones that will instill self-confidence, self-reliance, trust, and cooperation with peers. Valuable lessons that one doesn’t always learn in a conventional classroom.
Children who go through wilderness camps learn the value of hard work, and symbolic activities such as making a fire, cooking food and the likes help young people gain a sense of accomplishment and achievement which is extremely essential in building up their self-esteem.
All these things will be helpful for teens with at-risk behavior and makes wilderness camp an option that is worth considering.