SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs Finds Holidays Are an Effective Time for Troubled Teens to Attend Wilderness Camp

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Heightened emotions, stress and family conflict around the holidays make this time of year ideal for struggling teens to get away to wilderness camp.

It's an intervention that would absolutely help their self-esteem and self-worth.

The holidays are traditionally a time of family and togetherness. But for families with troubled teens, the holidays may be a time of extreme stress and anxiety. To avoid spending one more holiday season with teens who are acting out, disobeying house rules, or engaging in risky behaviors or substance abuse, some parents give their teens the gift of wilderness camp - and an opportunity to get away from the stress of the holidays and work on themselves.

According to the experts at SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs, a wilderness therapy program in Shoshone, Idaho, the holidays can be an ideal time for struggling teens to get help, focus and reevaluate priorities.

A wilderness therapy program can improve a teenager's coping skills, communication skills and self-esteem in a safe and nurturing environment, providing them lifelong benefits and a chance to make future family holidays memorable for all the right reasons.

"It's a great time to take advantage of the opportunity that students are already out of school and help them return from winter break successful," said Dan Kemp, director of admissions at SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs. "It's an intervention that would absolutely help their self-esteem and self-worth."

Because short-term wilderness therapy programs run 28 days, teenagers miss less school than they would if parents sent them during the school year. "They have the ability to make drastic changes in a short time," Kemp said.

Wilderness programs can help teenagers identify and work through their conflicts and emotions, making them better able to deal with family and school. With the guidance of licensed therapists, the programs help teens recognize and build upon their self-worth while they learn the value of helping others.

Not having their teens home for the holidays may sound like the last thing many parents want to do. But they probably don't want to spend another holiday season wondering why their teens keep acting out, either.

The stress of the holidays can trigger teens' behavioral issues. Sometimes a change of environment can give teens a chance to get away from those people or situations that are causing them to act out.

Just because teens won't be home for the holidays doesn't mean they won't have a chance to celebrate. Wilderness program staff members are aware that teens are away from their family on holidays, and work to instill some holiday cheer. Programs may treat students to a turkey dinner, or have them make homemade decorations that they can use in the wilderness.

Making the decision to enroll teens in a wilderness therapy program during the holidays can be a difficult one. But if a teen's behaviors have gotten so bad that their parents are considering not having them around for the holidays, then help is needed, and waiting until after the holidays won't make things any better. Enrolling them in a wilderness program can take their focus away from the stress of the holidays and set them up for a more successful new year.

About SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs
SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs is the longest running wilderness therapy program in the United States. Experienced therapists and highly skilled wilderness guides provide therapeutic and academic support to teens ages 11 to 18. Using the transformational power of the wilderness, SUWS helps students identify and work through internal conflicts and emotional obstacles. For more information about SUWS wilderness programs, call (888) 879-7897 or visit

SUWS is a proud member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. CRC offers the largest array of personalized treatment options, allowing individuals, families and professionals to choose the most appropriate treatment setting for their behavioral, addiction, weight management and therapeutic education needs. CRC is committed to making its services widely and easily available, while maintaining a passion for delivering advanced treatment. For over two decades, CRC programs have helped individuals and families reclaim and enrich their lives. For more information about CRC Health, visit

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Dan Kemp, Director of Admissions

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