All Kinds of News for December 04, 2019
Northwest Passage, a residential mental health treatment program for children located in northwestern Wisconsin, has a unique way to usher in the change of seasons while promoting time spent in nature. They call it the November Outdoor Challenge - specifically the “Prairie Challenge” at their Prairieview campus and the “Peninsula Challenge” at their Riverside Campus. It is a month-long nature treasure hunt that changes daily.
"Time Spent in Nature" is one of the eight core elements of the PassageWay approach to living a therapeutic lifestyle. In addition to traditional approaches to residential treatment, Northwest Passage fosters Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes in their clients, which they call the PassageWay. The PassageWay includes the elements of relationship building, balanced nutrition, exercise, service to others, recreation, relaxation, spiritual meaning and time spent in nature.
The November Outdoor Challenge achieves not only time spent in nature, but also exercise, relationship building, and recreation, to name just a few. Each day groups head out into their “backyard” and search for clues, make scientific observations, document signs, and sightings of wildlife, identify plants, and look for hidden objects. They also check photos on the wildlife cameras and log distance hiked to earn points for their house. It is important to clarify the term “back yard”: the Prairieview Campus is 20 acres of rolling grassland crisscrossed with over a mile of trails, while Riverside Campus is a 12-acre peninsula on the Clam River covered with 100-year-old white pine trees.
This activity is an extension of and brings focus to similar activities that take place regularly at Northwest Passage throughout the year. The strategic timing, however, is an important factor in encouraging outdoor activity during a time of year that is not necessarily conducive to getting outside. November is typically the beginning of winter in Wisconsin. Winter snow cover can often extend into April. Encouraging year ‘round outdoor time is important at these latitudes, as is educating clients on dressing appropriately for the weather.
Given the long winters in Northern Wisconsin, this activity is just the beginning of winter long outdoor recreation that includes snowshoeing, cross country skiing and wintertime nature photography.
About Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage is focused on blending traditional mental health treatment with arts and nature-based therapy to restore hope in their clients. By investing in the lives of marginalized youth, Northwest Passage is influencing and changing how mental health is ultimately treated and viewed. The transformations seen are no less than extraordinary.