Utah’s natural beauty makes it one of the most ideal locations for wilderness camps. In fact, there are quite a few wilderness camps that deal with troubled youth in the state. Wilderness camps are sometimes also referred to as outdoor education. It’s an adventure-based program that is designed to be therapeutic in nature. Some troubled youth programs in Utah may self-identify as therapeutic by themselves, and some use traditional methods of psychotherapy which are integrated into a wilderness environment. The aim of wilderness therapy is to guide participants through symbolic and practical activities to find self-relience and self-respect.
Parents of troubled teens can look into a few troubled youth programs in Utah to see if any would fit into the needs of their children. Here are a few examples of wilderness camps:
- Majestic Ranch (co-ed)
- Aspen Ranch (co-ed)
- Turn-About Ranch (co-ed, Christian)
- Falcon Ridge Ranch (girls only)
- Mountain Homes Youth Ranch (co-ed)
- Eagle Valley Youth Ranch (girls only)
For parents who are reluctant about letting their children go to wilderness camps, it would probably be helpful for them to know what questions to ask when looking around for places with good troubled youth programs in Utah. Here are a few suggested questions:
General questions about the program:
- Which government agency licensed the program?
- How long has it held its license?
- According to the license, how many children can the camp keep at one time?
- How many children are currently in the program?
- How do you pick children that will be admitted to the program?
- How do you know that my child is appropriate for the program?
- Has there been any lawsuits filed against the youth program recently (in the last 5 to 10 years)?
- How can I get in contact with my child while he/she is in the program?
Questions about the staff:
- Who is the Director of the program? What are his/her qualifications?
- What are the qualifications of the staff involved in the program?
- What is the staff to child ratio of the program?
- How high has the staff turnover rate been in the last 5 years?
- Who will be responsible for transporting the children during activities in the program? How will the children be transported?
- Do staff members receive ongoing training? What kind of training do they receive?
Questions about the education program:
- Is the school licensed to provide education programs? If so, what government agency gave you the license?
- Will the credits my child earn during the program be transferrable to a regular school afterwards?
- What is the structure of the educational program?
Medical and emergency care questions:
- Will there be a doctor on call 24/7? Are there nurses on call 24/7 too?
- How equipped is the infirmary/clinic? Who takes care of sick children while in the program
- If my child needs medication, will the staff make sure that he/she takes these medication? Is it part of the staff’s responsibility to look for my child and make sure that he/she takes his/her medication?
Questions on safety
- Do you have a safety plan in place?
- Do you have a plan in case of extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, etcetera?
- Does the program carry a blanket liability insurance?
- Are children briefed of the safety plan and are the details posted prominently in places where children can see them?
- Is the staff trained in CPR?
As a parent, you have every right to make sure that your child is in a safe place when they are not at home. Finding good troubled youth programs in Utah doesn’t only mean looking at their therapy programs but also how they handle simple day-to-day activities that have a huge impact on the efficiency of their operation and on the safety of their residents.