Building Healthy Living Skills: Highlighting Trails To Wellness Programming
At Trails Carolina, we believe that lasting success and happiness comes from healing the entire individual, not just one specific “problem area”. To help instill healthy habits into a student’s everyday life, we have developed a week full of classes and experiential activities focusing on overall wellness. This program, known as “Trails to Wellness”, helps teach students skills that they can use to practice self care in their everyday lives after leaving the program.
Trails To Wellness Class Schedule
During the Trails to Wellness week of programming, students cycle through afternoon classes that focus on specific topics within wellness. The schedule is as follows:
Monday – Mindfulness
Monday mindfulness classes help students build their own mindfulness practice. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety within teens and adolescents. It can provide instant relief for students who struggle with anxiety throughout the day.
Tuesday – Expressive arts
On Tuesday, students have the opportunity to explore the mind-body connection through a variety of art mediums such as visual arts, movement, drama and writing.
Wednesday – Yoga
Guided by a trained yoga instructor, students engage in a gentle yoga class that also incorporates mindfulness practices. Yoga is a relaxing, low-impact activity that provides a chance for students to reconnect with their bodies.
Thursday – Experiential Self Care
Students take a wellness class where they learn about different modalities and activities that help promote self care. For example, they learn about soothing ways to take care of their hands, feet, and skin. They learn about the benefits of aromatherapy and its impact on the limbic system and emotional function.
Friday – Group Wellness Discussion
During Friday’s wellness activities, students take part in a therapist led discussion centered around the connection between emotional and mental wellness with physical wellness. Students are introduced to healthy living and grooming habits and how to care for their growing and changing body and brain.
Saturday – Culinary Arts
During their culinary arts lessons, student learn how to make healthy snacks and meals with a trained chef in a commercial kitchen. Students incorporate practical math, learn to follow recipes and create healthy food that tastes good!
Students also cook healthy breakfasts and family style dinners at their campsite. They learn new recipes that they can take with them after they graduate from Trails.
Typical School Week Feel Helps Build Executive Functioning Skills
Students transition to the Trails to Wellness program after their time on expedition. During Trails to Wellness, students are staying at Trails Carolina’s Sky Valley campus. This base camp feels very much like front country camping. Students sleep in yurts which are heated during the winter time and have access to bathroom facilities. They start each morning by cooking breakfast in the outdoor kitchen. When breakfast is finished, they head over to science classes with Science Steve. After their lunch break, they take part in their Trails to Wellness classes.
This week full of classes and camping at base camp helps simulate what a school week might feel like back in the “real world”. Students have to make sure they are doing everyday tasks like:
- Making sure they are waking up in time for school and breakfast
- Deciding what to cook for breakfast each day
- Preparing supplies for the day such as water bottles, notebooks, and pencils.
- Engaging with peers in a family style setting each day during breakfast and dinner
- Cooking meals and cleaning up dishes
By planning and executing everyday tasks each day, students practice executive functioning skills that will be very useful to them long after they’ve completed the program.