Passages Alaska Wilderness Therapy Program Is Having A Great Second Season With Nomadic Canoeing
Passages Alaska is a nomadic canoeing wilderness therapy program in Southeast Alaska for adolescent males 14-17 and young adult males. It is now in the middle of its second season as a private wilderness therapy program but ran for four years earlier as a state program. Each group consists of eight adolescent boys struggling with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, school refusal, parental relations, and minor substance use. The young adult groups work with similar issues along with struggling to accept age-appropriate responsibility.
The program uses paddling canoes and Alaska to build an environment that supports the work the students come to do. The study of “Blue Space” speaks to how being on the water creates different neuron-pathways which help with depression, changes perspective, and stimulates creativity. The waters of Alaska add a special piece to this as the students are seeing whales, sea otters, and sea lions as well as being able to eat fresh salmon and crab. Good nutrition is very important for their well-being since they are physically canoeing five days a week. Along with therapy and the engaging dynamic field guides, the area provides a true wilderness where the distractions of life outside are taken away allowing an atmosphere of self-awareness.
Since Passages Alaska is a relational program everyone from the founder to the therapists to the field guides are all part of the team. When a student arrives they are told they are part of the team as well. The student receives their curriculum, is given top-of-the-line gear, and taken by boat to join the rest of the group. Once with the group, they begin their journey of learning to paddle, navigate on the waters, cook and start to look at the reason they are at wilderness therapy. To aid in the later piece the students have individual and group therapy along with a truth circle each night. In the truth circle, a themed subject is chosen and every member of the team shares. It can be a subject from the curriculum or something fun the students may be interested in.
About Passages Alaska
Passages Alaska is a unique wilderness program in Southeast Alaska serving adolescent males and young adults aged 18-28 in gender specific groups. As participants come into the Alaskan Wilderness the coastal waters offer a fresh perspective and a new path. Hands-on therapeutic interventions include paddling, whale watching, fishing, primitive skill building, and service to others. Extensive therapy and coaching is built in for those with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and failure to thrive.
Skookum House is an adventure high school with educational support designed to keep students engaged, active, and progressing toward graduation. Skookum House is for high school boys who have not been able to thrive at home or in a virtual school environment. Students may choose to use their home high school platform or another virtual platform. While living at SH, students will benefit from a more normalized social life, participate in outdoor Alaskan adventures while learning unique, confidence-building skills, and gain a respect for serving others.