Wilderness programs get personally involved in outdoor adventure activities as metaphors for everyday lifelong skills. This process also enhances self-esteem and self-confidence. Wilderness programs range from 3 to 6 months to year round. The Department of Juvenile Justice, Social Services, Mental Health, Public and Private Schools refer youth to these types of programs yearly.
Most wilderness programs accept students who are substance abusers, beyond parental control, experiencing low self-esteem, and self-confidence, depressed, emotionally troubled, struggling with school, angry, defiant, bright but not achieving, choosing the wrong friends or about to enter the juvenile justice system.
Wilderness Programs, also recognized, as Outdoor or Therapeutic Adventure Programs, are commonly the first intervention in a strategy plan to help a family with an at-risk teen caught up in harmful, negative and self-defeating behaviors.
The programs run approximately three to fourteen weeks long, depending on the current situation and needs of the child. This starts the process of development for the student in gaining imminent insight into their behavioral patterns.
There is little expectation that the adolescent or teen will go freely and willingly.