Families Stay Connected Through the Blue Ridge Alumni Network
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness, an immersive wilderness therapy program serving adolescents ages 13-18 and young adults ages 18-29, is dedicated to providing students and their families with resources to help them connect in healthy and meaningful ways. To enhance each family’s post-wilderness experience, Blue Ridge launched its Alumni Network in 2021 as a way to offer former students and families a way to stay connected. The network is managed by Blue Ridge’s Alumni Coordinator, who helps students and families keep in touch with the program and each other by facilitating monthly alumni parent Zoom calls, student and parent mentorship opportunities, sharing updates in the alumni community and more.
Since the network’s launch, parents have embraced connection and vulnerability during monthly alumni parent calls. Former students have also expressed consistent interest in lacing up their boots once again to provide peer support as returning student mentors. Alumni families and students have offered to support Blue Ridge and Emerald Arrow through contributions to the Alumni Newsletter, the Blue Ridge website, and donations to future Blue Ridge families via Sky’s the Limit Fund.
The scope of outreach from alumni students and families has demonstrated how impactful their time at Blue Ridge and Emerald Arrow was. One alumni parent, whose daughter attended Blue Ridge in 2021, shares “Our daughter found healing and hope at Blue Ridge… [She] found her voice and became a mentor to others. She is the first to tell people that Blue Ridge saved her life, and I share her story with her permission. Today, she is so much healthier, physically and mentally. She graduated high school and is awaiting college admissions decisions. She is committed to her recovery and hit her 1-year anniversary. While she will continue to need support to navigate her life in recovery, I can honestly say, none of this would have been possible without the care she received at Blue Ridge. As a family, we are forever grateful.”
Light, a returning student mentor who first attended Blue Ridge as an adolescent in 2018, also offers his experience as a program alum: “I’m able to confidently say that I’m brave and strong and confident and kind: all of the things that I wanted to be, and couldn’t bring myself to think about myself. I have a lot of respect for this program… and I have a lot of faith in it.”
Blue Ridge continues working to provide families with not just opportunities to connect, but a platform from which they can share their experiences, support and feedback. Consistent engagement with alumni students and families is central to supporting Blue Ridge’s commitment to evolving with the needs of the families it serves.
More information about the Blue Ridge Alumni Network, including ways to support current and future families as well as Returning Student Mentorship applications, can be found by visiting www.blueridgewilderness.com/alumni.
About Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness and Emerald Arrow are honored to participate in the healing and recovery process for individuals and families like Dawn’s. To read the full story, purchase a copy of Chasing Carson online by visiting Amazon or Barnes and Noble. To learn more about Emerald Arrow: A Bold Path for Young Adults, visit the program’s website at www.blueridgewilderness.com.