So your son or daughter is having problems and you’ve heard that wilderness programs do wonderful things for troubled teens. And you’re right, they do. But wilderness camps are not all the same. They offer different services, charge varying prices and have individual histories. Before you choose a particular program, ask some questions. You’ll find some samples below. Feel free to ad or delete any and change whatever you think will best help you choose the right facility.
- How does the facility operate?
- How many staff will be on duty when my child is there?
- Is there a doctor or a nurse resident on the property? If not how far away is the nearest medical treatment center?
- How many therapists are on staff?
- What are their qualifications and experience?
- Are the members of staff licensed?
- If so, with whom?
You may obtain answers to some of these questions simply by visiting the web site of the wilderness camp or from reading their literature. And remember you don’t have to telephone or visit in person although both are possible. You can email your questions and receive the answers by same.
- How long has the camp been in operation?
- What is the student to staff ratio?
- How long does a stay at the camp last?
- What are the costs?
- Do you have a payment plan facility?
If you feel the answers are too short or the facility is being deceptive in answering your questions, forget them and move to another.
- Do you have a follow up program for students who attend?
- If so, describe this program.
- Do you allow/encourage the parents of the child to be involved in the camp? Are parents allowed to write or visit?
It’s most important that your child is right for a particular facility. Beware of any operator who is keen to take your teen without knowing their needs.
- What tests do you apply to assess possible candidates for your facility?
- How long have members of staff been employed here?
- Has any member of staff been charged with a criminal offence?
- Has the facility been sued by any parent or former student?
- What are the physical aspects of the facility – the dormitories, the eating areas, the bathrooms?
- When sleeping away from the base, what equipment is provided?
- What is the menu when in camp?
- What is the menu when sleeping away from the base?
Remember you are leaving your child in the care of the adults at the wilderness camp. You need to know as much as possible before your child enrolls. Do not leave anything to chance. And besides, once you settle on a facility, you want to tell your teen all you can about the benefits and safety factors of the camp. Allay the child’s fears and give them optimism about the forthcoming experience.
If all goes well, this could be the beginning of the rest of their life.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in: