Preteen girls face a unique set of challenges compared to their male peers or even older teen girls. They are just beginning to enter the world of teen girl social dynamics, higher expectations in school, and negative peer pressure. This can be an overwhelming time in their lives, and for some, a wilderness therapy program with an adventure therapy component can be beneficial during this transitional time.
Benefits of Adventure Therapy
During adolescence, many preteens begin to push boundaries and take more risks. One reason for this is that as they transition towards adulthood, teens desire independence. They are becoming their own person with their own interests and opinions and they often crave autonomy. This desire for independence combined with the fact that the teen brain is still developing can result in teens taking dangerous risks.
Taking risks is an important part of learning and gaining life experience. Preteens who are unable or unwilling to take risks can get stuck in their comfort zone. But without direction, risk-taking can look like dangerous social media use or experimenting with drugs and alcohol. There are ways to help your daughter satisfy her need to push herself in a controlled setting that focuses on experiential learning.
Adventure Therapy In Action
Adventure therapy is the perfect tool for creating an opportunity for inherent risk, while also operating in a controlled environment. An adventure therapy activity like rock climbing provides a variety of life skills learning opportunities such as:
- Communication: When you are relying on another person to hold the end of your rope and keep you safe while climbing, effective communication is crucial. Before a climber even leaves the ground, climber and belayer communicate to make sure that everyone’s safety gear is correct and that both people are ready for the climb. Once climbing, the entire experience is a practice in communication. Do they need more slack in the line? Is the belayer watching the climber as they traverse through a tricky section? Is the belayer ready to lower the climber back down?
- Resiliency: Climbers, novice, and experienced, rarely climb a full line the first time they try. Rock climbing is all about trying, failing, learning, and trying again. Climbing teaches students about experiencing the journey rather than just focusing on the destination.
- Trust: In order to even get on the route, the climber must trust their belayer. The belayer’s job is to pay attention to the climber and keep them safe. They are in charge of catching the climber when they fall, which can be the most intimidating part of climbing. Even if you trust your gear, you still have to build trust with your belayer as well.
- Confidence: A study found that girls’ confidence drops by 30% between the ages of eight and fourteen. That’s over a quarter of girls who go from having the same amount of self-confidence as their male peers to less over the course of six years. Learning and mastering new skills can give young girls a much-needed confidence boost. Instead of worrying about how others perceive them, they can focus on what they have achieved and know that they can continue to achieve in the future.
Trails Carolina Can Help
The Trails Carolina Girls Youth program is specifically designed to meet the demanding developmental needs of pre-teens in a wilderness camp environment filled with consistent routines, structure, and concrete experiences needed to create lasting behavior change.
Research has shown that pre-adolescents thrive in safe, predictable, and structured environments like those in our youth wilderness therapy program, which has been carefully crafted to support the specific developmental needs of 10-13 year old girls.
Our goal is to break the cycle of troubling behaviors and teach the skills needed for students to make responsible decisions and create healthy relationships. Throughout your student’s time at Trails, we’ll help them find internal motivation for change leading to long-term success in the home environment. For more information please call (828) 469-0903.