All Kinds of News for December 07, 2016
Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, offers support and guidance for families and students during the holiday season.
Throughout the holiday season, students are encouraged to reconnect with family traditions and take time to practice gratitude and graciousness. Often, while spending holidays with their families, the meaning behind holidays gets lost behind superficial aspects of the holiday season such as expensive gifts and holiday parties. At Trails, we encourage students to share things they are grateful for, such as their health and their family.
During the winter holidays, some Trails students take part in gift exchanges. Students will draw names within their groups and create gifts out of natural objects. These handcrafted gifts allow students to express appreciation for each other in an intentional, creative way. The intentionality of these gifts can be very meaningful to them.
“This gift-giving hits on the various love languages that we incorporate into programming,” says Jason McKeown, MS, LMFT, CPE, DCC, Family Clinical Director at Trails. “Each group at Trails come up with their own traditions during the holiday seasons. In a wilderness setting, students go without familiar traditions during the holiday season. Instead of focusing on the materialistic aspect of the holiday season, students are encouraged to search inside themselves and create powerful traditions for themselves based on the true meaning of the holiday season.”
During the holidays, students are often surprised with feasts which feature foods they do not normally experience during the wilderness. This positive surprise, along with the other meaningful traditions they create while at Trails, can be some of the most powerful holiday celebrations students will ever experience.
“Throughout the years, many students have told me that the holiday spent at Trails was the best holiday they ever had,” comments McKeown. “Students tend to look at holidays in a very different way after experiencing the holidays at Trails.”
For parents with children in treatment, the holidays can be a lonely, isolating time. At Trails, the weekly parent support call can be helpful for parents struggling to process difficult emotions that emerge during the holiday season. Other parents of Trails students are on this support call, which helps to normalize the experience parents are going through.
“Hearing how other families are navigating the holidays can be helpful and empowering for many parents,” says McKeown. “The families can take ideas from other families and really be intentional about how they want to work through the holiday.”About Trails CarolinaTrails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy.