Finding Direction at Trails Carolina: Geocaching and Wilderness Therapy Programming
At Trails Carolina, geocaching is a great metaphor for life. When a compass (or GPS) reading is wrong by a few degrees over a long distance, students can find themselves wildly off course. However, when a student catches it early, it may only mean they need just a couple degrees of change to reach their goal. This activity helps demonstrate to students that success in their own lives can be just a few degrees of change away.
Trails Carolina, based in Western North Carolina, is a wilderness therapy program for youth and adolescents ages 10 to 17 specializing in clinical sophistication, extensive family involvement, and intentional transitions. Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity where participants use Global Positioning System (GPS) and other navigational techniques to hide and find containers called “geocaches”. Geocaches are placed at specific locations all over the United States and then marked by specific coordinates that can be tracked. Currently Trails Carolina has six caches located on the Shuttleworth property for students to find.
“Geocaching is a great way to get our youth students engaged in hiking and excited to strengthen their map and orienteering skills, which later becomes extremely useful when they are on expedition week and backpacking,” explains Executive Director Jeremy Whitworth.
Like most activities at Trails Carolina, other by-products of geocaching include spending time in nature, slowing down the pace of life, which in turn reduces anxiety and stress, and reflecting on their experience. Geocaching is also a unique way for students to leave a concrete mark in the world. With each cache having a ledger to sign upon completion, they add their name to the growing list. For many students, this is a creative way to prove something to the world and enhance their own sense of accomplishment and significance.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy for pre-teens and adolescents ages 10-17. The clinically sophisticated and time-tested program engages students through wilderness therapy, intentional transitions, academic engagement, natural horsemanship, and mindfulness. Recent outcome research demonstrates efficacy. Trails Carolina was created to help families reconnect and heal. For additional information about Trails Carolina, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.