- Staff ratio. For your child to get daily one to one therapy as well as group sessions, the camp must have a healthy number of therapists. Look for the number of staff and their tasks. Therapists need to be licensed.
- State registration. As an approved institution in your State, the wilderness camp should have recognition within the State regulations. Check out their registration.
- History. Look out for the time the camp has been in operation and the plaudits it has received. A long-running camp with heaps of testimonials from parents and even the kids is the sort of information you need
- Costs are important. Look out for their overall cost, what you get for your money and if the camp offers financial terms such as in-house loans. Also do they charge a cancellation fee and are you required to pay an upfront fee?
- Location. A pristine wilderness area sounds ideal. Remember a large part of the program involves outdoor activities so you need to look out for the details of their outdoor program.
- Academic recognition. Many camps allow time spent in camp to be counted as a credit for the teen when they return to their high school or college. Look out for this factor.
- Quality and specific therapy programs. Look for the appropriateness of the help sessions, the expertise of the therapists and their experience. There are many wonderful wilderness camps but you want the one which is ideal for your teen.
- Is there a pre-course program and if so what does it require? So much hinges on your child’s visit to this camp. You want all bases covered. A pre-course program will tell the teen what is expected of them and assess their current situation. Measuring progress is a vital part of any good camp. Look out for this issue and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Does the camp have a policy of shifting the teen’s direction from staff orders to group consensus? This is important. Your teen will leave the camp and move back into society. They need the skills to make the adjustment and to continue living as a responsible and contented teenager.
- Leadership. Many troubled teens find they are capable of taking a leadership role in the camp. With this new responsibility comes renewed interest in others. All this helps create a skilled and energetic leader able to help others when back in the real world.
Understand that wilderness camps are basically a combination of summer camp activities and therapy. But the camps vary in length and type of emphasis. You want to look out for the best form of therapy for your teen’s needs. Have a check list from the points above. When scouting for an appropriate c amp, check the box if your inspection means the camp comes up trumps.
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