Coronavirus Update

      Director of Trails Family Programming Discusses Holiday Traditions On Campus

      One of the most powerful things about being out in the wilderness is its ability to bring us back to our roots. During the holiday season, being out in nature helps students look at the value or intention behind the holidays and traditions their families celebrate.

      In many ways, wilderness therapy can be a great way to reconnect with the heart of family traditions and holidays. During the holiday season at Trails, we encourage students to focus on spending time practicing gratitude. Taking a moment to be present and looking at the bright side of life can be very powerful for students.

      The holidays can be a whirlwind of parties, family outings, and other festive activities. Within that hectic environment, it can be easy for families to lose track of the true meaning of the holiday season. At Trails, students  often share their gratitude towards family members and their good health. Wilderness therapy provides teens with this perspective check which they would not have had without the therapeutic assistance of Trails.

      Trails Students Create Their Own Holiday Traditions

      At Trails, we are very respectful of each family’s traditions. Within their groups, students participate in a variety of activities based on their own traditions. For example, students may take part in gift exchanges with other students. During these exchanges, students draw names to determine who each gift is for. Students create gifts out of natural objects which requires a great deal of creativity and intention. This can be very meaningful to students and a great way to show appreciation for their peers.

      Out in the wilderness, students are removed from the materialistic side of the holiday season. They are given the opportunity to look inwards and come up with their own unique and powerful holiday traditions.

      Holiday Celebrations at Trails

      During the holidays, we often celebrate with a surprise feast for students. During this feast, there are a variety of foods students don’t normally experience during their time at Trails such as pies and freshly baked bread.

      This feast serves as a positive surprise, which is a welcome change for many students who are used to the surprises in their lives carrying a negative connotation.

      After the feast, students participate in a fun activities within their groups. Students come up with creative games and sing songs with their peers. The holiday celebrations at Trails, such as the feast and other activities, are something students remember long after they graduate. Many times over the years,  former students have shared that the holiday season they spent at Trails was among the most meaningful.

      Trails Carolina can help

      Many of our students have struggled with behavioral or emotional challenges in the past. Trails Carolina wilderness therapy has helped hundreds of struggling young people and their families  move forward on a path towards success.

      For more information about Trails Carolina, please visit:



      Jacob Thomason, LPC

      Jacob is a Licensed Clinical Professional. Jacob began working in the wilderness therapy field nearly a decade ago and has worked in wilderness programs in Utah and Wisconsin. Additionally, he worked at an extended care sober living program in Maine and ran adventure camps while in college. Having had a family member in treatment, Jacob understands first-hand the value of including parents and siblings in the process. He is passionate about keeping attuned to the wants and needs of parents and siblings throughout the wilderness therapy experience. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.

      All stories by: Jacob Thomason, LPC