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Adventure programming offers a dynamic and innovative approach to therapeutic treatment for young people where the great outdoors becomes a canvas for healing and growth. By integrating adventure-based activities into the primary therapeutic setting, our clients are provided with unique opportunities to explore their strengths, overcome challenges, and develop essential life skills in a supportive and immersive environment.

Whether scaling a rock wall, navigating a wilderness trail, or working together to conquer a high ropes course, adventure programming encourages teamwork, resilience, and self-discovery. Through these exhilarating experiences, clients not only gain a deeper understanding of themselves but also forge meaningful connections with peers and therapists alike. Adventure programming transcends traditional therapy boundaries, offering a pathway towards empowerment, confidence, and lasting positive change.

Our Approach

Every 7-14 days, Elements clients will have the opportunity to participate in an adventure activity facilitated by our adventure program staff. Adventure activities include: rock climbing, rappelling, slacklining, team building, yoga & mindfulness practices, leather working & drum making, and mountain biking. In the summer, fly fishing and stand-up paddle boarding are also offered. The goal of adventure programming is to provide novel challenges that call for clients to step out of their comfort zones into a space of self-empowerment where they can draw connections between the challenge at hand and their therapeutic journey.

Therapeutic Connections

Adventure is defined in the therapeutic context as “any activity that encourages someone to expand their comfort zone by working through challenges.” Accordingly, the adventure activities offered may not always be the typical high adrenaline activities one immediately thinks of like rock climbing. Sometimes the vulnerability of sharing a piece of art with others, trying a new skill like drum making, or needing to work in a team with their peers is more challenging to a client than the solo experience of rappelling over the edge of a cliff. 

Embracing challenges and expanding one’s comfort zone are powerful teachers. Adventure program staff will help clients make connections between their adventure experience and what they are working on in daily camp life and in therapy. Common discussion points and outcomes from the engagement in adventure activities include increased self-confidence, self-efficacy, problem solving skills, effective communication, self-awareness, trust, and the implementation of healthy coping strategies.

Challenge by Choice

Adventure program staff and field staff create a safe space for clients to feel supported and empowered to try something new. While the expectation in adventure programming is for every client to challenge themselves at some point during the activity, no client is ever forced to do an activity they do not want to do. Rather, clients are given the opportunity to define what challenge looks like for them in any given activity and then to embrace that challenge. For example, the challenge for one client might be to make it halfway up a rock climb, while for another client the challenge might be for them to put on a harness and belay one of their peers. 

Expedition Model

Due to the expanse and varied landscape of the field area in which Elements operates, clients do not need to be transported out of the field area to an adventure activity location. Rather, all adventure activities are activities that exist within the Elements field area. Each week, adventure activities are woven into hike plans. As clients hike from campsite to campsite, they are also hiking towards their next adventure activity. This allows for clients to remain in the immersive therapeutic wilderness journey. 

Adventure Program Instructors

Adventure program instructors are a fully separate team who specialize in facilitating the risk management and therapeutic connections of the adventure activity. Through our commitment to provide high quality programming and risk management, Elements requires adventure program staff to obtain, at a minimum, a Single Pitch Instructor certification through the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA). The AMGA is established as an international industry leader in training and certification for climbing and mountaineering.

In addition, adventure program staff receive thorough in-house training for all adventure activities, with strong oversight until they can demonstrate an ability to maintain the physical and emotional safety of our clients in those activities on their own.

Adventure Team

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