Wilderness Therapy For Girls 10-13 Tailored To Meet Their Developmental Needs
We offer the only single-gender program in the U.S. for students’ ages 10-13 years. This 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.
In the pre-teen girls group, we have tailored programming to specifically address the developmental needs of 10-13 year old girls. This unique programming includes a focus on:
- Love languages: Students and parents take love language assessments, facilitated by their therapist during the therapeutic process. These are quizzes that help families better understand how each member of their family gives and receives love. This helps them learn how to communicate more effectively with one another.
- Universal Human Needs: If a student is exhibiting a challenging behavior, instead of trying to eradicate these behaviors, we want students, staff, and parents to put on their detective hat and ask ‘what need are we trying to get met?’ For example, one universal human need that we see frequently is the need for certainty. If a student is asking a question repeatedly, instead of trying to simply put a stop to the badgering, we invite everyone to be curious. When we establish that the student is trying to get the need for certainty met, we can help foster an environment where they are learning how to meet their needs in a prosocial way.
- Attachment-Focused Therapeutic Work: Phase work for pre-teen students also focuses on attachments and relationships. Many students at Trails struggle in their relationships with others. Trails utilizes recent research to approach attachment-related behaviors with curiosity and playfulness, which is developmentally appropriate for pre-teens. This is also taught to parents. It helps students feel safe in their relationships and allows them to make changes.
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.
Nature Immersion Free From Social Media
Technology and social media are part of this age group’s every waking moment, and young girls are bombarded with media telling them how they are supposed to be within their gender. However, their brains have not yet developed the cognitive abilities to compartmentalize these messages. With so many unfiltered influences, girls at this age often end up engaging in behavior of a much older teenager.
In the wilderness, girls do not have access to technology, mirrors, and makeup, or other distractions, which frees their minds to be vulnerable and live in the moment. This is an ideal time for our team of field instructors and therapists to engage with your child to support her as she develops courage and self-identity.
Curriculum In Tune With Student’s Abilities
Girls are typically more comfortable expressing their emotions than boys and thrive in an environment that allows for connection and support from their peers. Trails curriculum, promotes healthy expression and asks students to explore how certain situations make them feel and act.
Students participate in activities that require them to express emotions through creative modalities and teach social skills including expressive art, story writing, and improvisational skits. After each activity, the students discuss what can be learned from the group interactions throughout it.
Other activities that younger students have been participating in recently include:
- Low ropes course activities
- Backcountry baking (apple crisps, campfire cookies, baked potatoes and with all the fixin’s)
The middle school girls also participate in all fundamental program elements including wilderness expeditions, primitive skills workshops, individual and group therapy, traditional classroom academics, experiential science classes and equine relational programming, all tailored to meet the individual needs of each student. During activities, therapists and staff help students set goals and stay on course, holding them accountable for their actions. Our staff is specially trained to let these students be kids while teaching them skills that will help them mature into their teenage and emerging adulthood.