The Peace Country Wilderness Program is designed to facilitate emotional growth opportunities for youth and adults. Through the use of challenging outdoor activities, group educational sessions, individual counseling, and the routine process of surviving in the wilderness, participants find themselves learning about accountability, responsibility, and the importance of relying on one another. Operating within a “team” based model, participants are able to successfully accomplish individual and team based goals and tasks within a supportive environment, where accountability, responsibility, and commitment to yourself and the group are the key guiding principles. Participants gain confidence, heightened degrees of self esteem, and self worth through this process. Our goal is to use this growth to assist participants in establishing a healthy sense of self, self in relation to family, and to their community. Our belief is that participants need to experience the consequences of their choices. Choices made in the wilderness environment result in consequences that will have an immediate and significant impact upon an individual as well as the groups well being. As the group treks, paddles, sets up camp, cooks, cleans up, and takes part in scheduled activities, each individual will learn that they have a distinct role within the group that needs to be fulfilled. Participants learn that there is a direct link between their choices and the outcomes of their choices. They learn accountability as they see that their choices do not only impact themselves, but others in the group as well. Through this process, participants will learn a sense of belonging and how it feels to be a part of an effective community. They gain confidence by being able to complete the tasks that are set out for them, and begin to take on a sense of independence. The participants also learn that they need to give and take in order to be a part of the functioning group, thus learning the need for reciprocity. In the wilderness, participants are removed from the distractions and conveniences of their normal daily lives. Safety and survival is the priority, and one’s actions result in clear and concise consequences from nature in her simple, direct way. It is strongly believed that until participants experience the negative consequences of their choices, they will not experience their behavior as a problem. The wilderness environment holds participants accountable for the choices they make, and helps them rediscover the values that are important to lead successful lives: family, responsibility, honesty, trust, and respect.
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