Traverse Clients Gleam Triumphantly Over the Spectacular Black Box Canyon
After weeks of preparation, Elements Traverse clients embarked on a 3-day adventure, descending the legendary Black Box Canyon from July 24-26, 2022. Located in the San Rafael Swell, Black Box Canyon is one of the most highly regarded of Utah’s famous slot canyons. Accomplished canyoneers have labeled it one of the most beautiful and exhilarating canyons to experience in the world.
“The adventure program here at Elements truly sets us apart from other expedition-style wilderness programs. Our adventure staff are not only professionally trained in high angle safety by the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA), but also in all the clinical modalities and interventions that are used by Elements field mentors. They also facilitate these adventures alongside the regularly scheduled field mentors, creating an even higher staff to client ratio than our teams usually enjoy. This allows our team to fully integrate an adventure as incredible as this with each clients’ individual treatment plan. The combination is phenomenal,” says Andrew Powell, owner and CEO.
Weeks in advance, clients were fully educated in the physical challenges that would be present, including a 120-foot rappel to access the canyon floor, obstacles requiring additional small rappels, climbing, and wading or swimming in the river that formed this canyon millions of years ago. This strenuous test is made even more exciting as the Traverse team takes in the sheer red rock bluffs rising as much as 450 feet above their heads. In preparation for the activity, group members identified a theme for the adventure: “Going Deeper”.
“Knowing that we have a dedicated person at the office watching the weather in combination with our safety and emergency evacuation plans, made us confident in our decision making throughout this expedition,” reports Ray W., Elements Adventure Programming Staff. “Throughout the expedition all clients shared a lot of introspection and insights; it was truly a powerful experience for both clients and staff”.
Although adventure programming is a pillar of the experience for both groups and individuals, Elements utilizes a “challenge by choice” philosophy that never forces clients to participate. “One of my clients had arrived at Traverse several weeks before this activity. They manifested a significant fear of heights, yet they truly wanted to challenge themselves and partake in this activity. I observed them working in therapy, with their field guides, and with the AP staff to build the mental strength and trust, in preparation for this rappel. It is remarkable on several levels that they achieved this goal”, states Eric Fawson LCSW, owner and Clinical Director. “As a therapist at Elements Traverse, I have witnessed the Adventure Program become key in clients’ building of self-efficacy and resilience as they experience interpersonal doubt and physical fear, overcoming the barriers holding them back.”
Elements boasts a full-time 4-person Adventure Team that develops and facilitates adventure opportunities weekly. The AP team works closely with the clinicians and field mentors to offer activities that are appropriate to the abilities and needs of the group and individual clients. Each member of the adventure team is a certified outdoor recreation guide with AMGA.
If you would like to visit, in person or virtually, or get more information about Elements contact Brandi Bradbury at (435) 231-3961 or Brandi@ElementsWilderness.com.
Since 2008, Elements provides a specialized therapeutic intervention for adolescent boys as well as all-gender young adults. We at Elements envision a world in which everyone has the skills and support necessary to live a full and healthy life. Through innovative therapeutic and psychiatric intervention, a comprehensive outdoor living experience complete with expeditionary backpacking and adventure programming, a robust family program involving the family at every step, and evidence-based substance abuse treatment, we strive to provide our clients with intervention, treatment, and assessment. Elements is licensed and supervised by the State of Utah Department of Human Services and accredited through the Outdoor Behavioral Health Council and the Association for Experiential Education.