Northwoods Preteens

Preteen Program mixed gender groups ages 10-12

Northwoods Wilderness Therapy operates a preteen group that is specially designed for students between the ages of 10 and 13.  We love working with this age group as it is such a pivotal time in adolescent development.  Engaging in therapeutic work during these early teen years allows underlying needs to be identified and addressed.  The work is inherently hopeful as early engagement decreases the likelihood that a student will need intensive support later in adolescence.   

Adolescence is a time for developing independence and prioritizing peer relationships.  These precious preteen years find our students in a stage where parents and primary caregivers are still central in their lives.  It is an advantageous time for us to dive into family systems work as caregivers may feel more empowered than they do while parenting older adolescents.  It is often easier for students and caregivers to examine their roles in current family dynamics before social influences like peers, school, or substance use take root.  

The field of neuroscience tells us that young brains have great plasticity; regulation skills and positive coping measures can be learned!  Practicing these skills repetitively with attuned and attentive caregivers paves the way for healthy development.  For this reason, the relational approaches practiced within Northwoods’s clinical models are a strong fit for students in this age group.  The robust clinical training that all staff receive sets Northwoods Wilderness Therapy above other programs in our ability to address emerging behavior or symptoms of developmental trauma.  

There are several unique elements that make Northwoods Wilderness Therapy ideal for preteens: 

Trauma-Informed, Attachment Focused Staff Training

Once again, ALL staff at Northwoods Wilderness Therapy receive weekly training in trauma and attachment.  We like to think of trauma-informed care as work with the brain/body/behavior connection, and attachment as the relational space within which we do that work.  Our staff is taught how to work directly with a student’s nervous system in order to identify and heal root causes of distress.  Preteen students benefit from this trauma-informed, relational approach which includes our 4 Pillars of Care:  Therapy, Mastery, Canine Therapy, and Academics. 

Location

Northwoods Wilderness Therapy’s location offers back country” immersion experience that integrates a hometown feel.  Our location’s easy accessibility to town increases contact time between students and staff, and has contributed to Northwoods’s setting of an industry leading safety record.  Preteens have a Home Base space from which they launch their activities and expeditions.  This setup provides predictability and safety as preteen students know they will reliably return “home” after completing outings and adventures.      

Transferable Attachment Work

Through intentional and carefully designed experiences, students at Northwoods Wilderness Therapy build up their attachment skills then practice transferring these skills to relationships.  Opportunities to partake in Canine Therapy, pinnacle Adventure Experiences, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Stewardship Program are among some of the ways in which this is learned.   

felt-sense of safety is required to complete attachment work.  Our preteen program fosters safety by providing a consistent daily structure and a predictable weekly routine.  Preteen students rotate through a 5-week schedule that focuses on 1 key programming area each week.  This structure allows them exposure to a variety of activities and peak Adventure Experiences, while simultaneously providing them the structure and predictability their developing nervous systems need.  Key programming areas are: 

  • Canoeing & Fishing 
  • Stewardship & Land Management 
  • Primitive Skills (e.g. bow drilling, cordage, tree-identification, making primitive teas) 
  • Relationship Skills (e.g. attachment and personality quizzes, team-building games, drama triangle, expanded canine therapy) 
  • Outdoor Living Skills (e.g. cooking, primitive baking techniques, outdoor shelter building) 

In addition to these special programming elements, our preteen group offers:

Consistent Relational Interactions 

We facilitate consistent relational interactions for our group by appointing a primary therapist for our preteen students.  We also have a Field Specialist, who is a masters level clinician, solely dedicated to supporting this group.  Our Field Specialist will be present with the group 4-5 days each week and will serve as a bridge between the clinical and field teams.  This model provides a superior continuity of care and assurance that the various needs of our preteens are being met.  

Academics:

Northwoods Wilderness Therapy is accredited through Cognia and offers options for academic credits.  While in treatment, most students earn credits in physical education and health.  Opportunities for language arts, environmental science, psychology, and independent study credits are also available.  Academic programming at Northwoods is designed to be woven into the student’s therapeutic immersion experience.  Students are not pulled out of group for classroom time, rather lessons are incorporated into daily activities and intermittent independent reflection time. 

Family Involvement:

Healing family relationships is a core component of treatment at Northwoods Wilderness Therapy.  Parents and caregivers engage weekly in online parent support seminars and calls with our primary therapists.  Phone sessions with our family therapist are also included during treatment as is a family visit that takes place around halfway through a student’s time in program.  Our seasoned Family Services Director is available to conduct Family Intensive Experiences that are customized to the parents’ and caregivers’ needs.  These Family Intensive Experiences allow parents and caregivers to participate in the same supportive therapies their student is receiving including BrainspottingHeartMath, and Canine Therapy. 

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) Model:

A true Trauma Informed Care model understands what it takes to help students feel safe so they can do their work and includes training in stress responses for all line staff. At New Vision Wilderness, there is an even stronger emphasis on clinical trauma training of the clinical team who utilize sophisticated interventions to effectively manage stress in the field. Our model is the result of over ten years of experience and a collaborative team approach, which is created, maintained and updated by a team of highly experienced, licensed professionals.

Canine 3
Tents 1

Adventure Education

Wilderness is an optimal setting for Adventure Education. Our Adventure Education program helps individuals learn about personal growth and relationships by presenting achievable challenges, setting goals, and processing experiences in a group setting. New Vision Wilderness utilizes hiking and Trauma Center, Trauma Sensitive Yoga as a means to reduce stress and depression, stimulate the brain, and allow preteen students to process emotions. In addition to the Adventure Education embedded our daily structure of New Vision Wilderness, we have specialized experiences encompassing rock climbing, canoeing, dog sledding, fishing, and cross-country skiing while focusing on communicating and incorporating all five senses.

Admissions Process:

At Northwoods Wilderness Therapy we know that finding the right care is important.  We would love to learn more about your family to determine if Northwoods may be a good fit for your needs.  Please contact us at 866-978-1560 or admissions@nvwild.com.

New Vision Wilderness programs have the ability to enroll students year-round, every day of the week.  We will support you through the admissions and enrollment process, and work to accommodate your family’s needs.

Take the next step forward by speaking to an experienced and compassionate member of our Admissions Team.  Call 866-978-1560 or email admissions@nvwild.com today.