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SUWS of the Carolinas

Wilderness Program

SUWS of the Carolinas Program Information

Gender: Coeducational; Single Gender Groups
Ages: 14 to 18
Grades: n/a
Estimated Enrollment: 8 per group
Length of Stay:
Program was founded in: 2000
Accreditations: Affiliations:

SUWS of the Carolinas Contact Information

Address:
363 Graphite Rd.
Old Fort, NC 28762
Phone: (888) 828-9770
Fax: (828) 668-7959
Email: admissions@suwscarolinas.com
Website: www.suwscarolinas.com
School Contact: Mark Oerther
Alternative Contact: Graham Shannonhouse
Therapy Provided?: Yes

Program Description:

SUWS of the Carolinas is a treatment program with a focus on clinical intervention and assessment. The program uses the outdoors as an alternative to conventional treatment environments, while engaging students using traditional therapeutic methods. The wilderness setting removes modern distractions, simplifies choices, and teaches valuable lessons. As a result, students begin to accept responsibility for personal decisions, address individual and family issues, and become invested in their character development.



SUWS of the Carolinas is a therapeutic wilderness program with a focus on clinical intervention and assessment. The program uses the outdoors as an alternative to conventional treatment environments, while engaging students using traditional therapeutic methods.

The wilderness setting removes modern distractions, simplifies choices and teaches valuable lessons. As a result, students begin to accept responsibility for personal decisions, address individual and family issues, and become invested in their character development.
Since 1981, SUWS programs have provided essential guidance and support to thousands of misdirected and at-risk adolescents.

SUWS of the Carolinas specializes in treating students ages 10-17 who are experiencing:

· Low Self-Esteem
· Family Conflict
· Defiant Behavior
· Attention Deficit Disorder
· Depression
· Isolation
· Drug & Alcohol Use
· Negative Peer Relationships
· Learning Differences
· Manipulation or Entitlement

Treatment – not the development of hiking or survival skills – is the primary focus at SUWS of the Carolinas. Students progress through a sophisticated level system designed to assist them in mastering age-appropriate developmental goals.
Treatment is most successful when an individualized approach is employed. Therefore, each child's length of stay and therapeutic assignments are personalized to address individual needs. Parents, referring professionals, and SUWS therapists review progress, emotional issues, and length of stay during weekly treatment planning sessions.

Peer pressure is a powerful influence during adolescence. SUWS of the Carolinas uses this influence in a positive manner. Upon arrival, students join an existing group with an established positive peer culture in which leadership positions are earned through achievement, rather than posturing. Groups are limited to a maximum of eight students, are supervised by a core treatment team comprised of a therapist and three counselors, and are overseen by the program's clinical director. With a student-to-staff ratio of 3 to 1, students receive the personal attention and care they need.

Groups are involved in ongoing expeditions that vary in length. While on the trail, students participate in outdoor activities and take part in daily group processing sessions, and staff / peer counseling. During intensive therapy or "layover," students participate in individual and group therapy sessions while completing program curricula and therapy assignments.

From learning first aid to developing basic orienteering and primitive living skills, SUWS students are personally challenged so they can be entrusted with someone else's life. And in the midst of giving of themselves, they find themselves. It is not our intent to train students to be search and rescue professionals, but rather to allow them to discover their inner value and strengths by becoming essential, functioning members of a team. Living this metaphor throughout the program facilitates the process of searching for one's true self, and illuminates how best to stay true to this self-discovery upon completion of the program.

Students progress through a sophisticated level system designed to help them reach developmental benchmarks. At each step, adolescents complete an experiential curricula and individualized therapy assignments. Working through both set programming and individualized assignments allows them to address normal adolescent developmental stages and personal issues.

At SUWS of the Carolinas, we celebrate the growth of our students. As they progress through the program, the group marks each success with ceremonies designed to commemorate their achievement. Similar "rites of passage" once played a large role in the process of becoming an adult. These rituals marked important transitions and assisted our youth in understanding their role in society. Unfortunately, these traditions have become less and less meaningful in our modern culture. It is our belief, however, that such ceremonies help our students take pride in their accomplishments and become invested in their personal growth.

Most often, our children believe they are making the best decisions concerning their lives. Unfortunately, strong emotions, peer pressure, and a distorted self-image often limit a teen's understanding of available choices and consequences.

At SUWS of the Carolinas, our unique clinical treatment approach has proven to be highly effective in helping students identify their limiting emotional beliefs and destructive behavioral habits. This newfound awareness enables students to shift their focus from personal entitlement and blaming to mastering personal responsibility and practicing healthy relationship skills.

The wilderness setting functions as the catalyst that allows us to connect with students. SUWS of the Carolinas moves children out of their "emotional comfort zone" and places them in a new and challenging environment. The demands of mastering their new setting causes students to engage in their automatic behavioral habits, which allows our highly experienced therapists and counselors to positively engage them using traditional therapeutic methods.

Our outdoor experience is designed to engage the deeply held passions and desire for purpose that characterize adolescence. Students are expertly guided through our experiential curriculum, which allows them to discover their inner strengths while increasing their self-awareness and self-esteem. The program employs a “search and rescue” metaphor to teach students character development and to assist in the identification of core values and guiding principles.

At SUWS of the Carolinas, we recognize the importance of the family in the growth process. Our family component includes a four CD audio series, an online parenting resource, weekly treatment planning sessions, and a three-day parenting workshop.

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