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Wilderness Quest

Wilderness Program & Residential Treatment and Young Adult

Wilderness Quest Program Information

Gender: Coeducational/Adolescent & Young Adult Groups
Ages: 14-17/18-28
Grades: n/a
Estimated Enrollment: 8-9 to a group
Length of Stay:
Program was founded in: 1988
Accreditations: Affiliations:

Wilderness Quest Contact Information

PO Box 12
Monticello, UT 84535
Phone: (435) 587-2801
Fax: (435) 587-3164
School Contact: Paula Riggs
Alternative Contact: Philip Webb
Therapy Provided?: Yes

Program Description:

Wilderness Quest uses a modified 12-step program, self-discovery process in an experiential wilderness setting. Students "work" the first five steps in a Personal Success Workbook on the trail. This wilderness "doing" is enhanced by a unique family involvement; while students labor in the field, families are required to work in the Bringing Love Home Workbook to prepare for being reunited with their child.

Is Your Teen Out of Control?
We know that many young people today are in pain and struggle with feelings of frustration, anxiety and depression due to the stresses of modern life and the personal challenges they face. Oftentimes the struggle leads to feeling out of control and afraid, and even to thoughts of giving up. Unfortunately, a growing number of youth turn to drugs, alcohol or other forms of self-medication as an escape or a means to deal with the stressors of life.

We Understand
The sincere empathy, understanding and unconditional love exemplified by our caring staff and therapists help our students embrace life with confidence. The result is young people who begin to experience true happiness because they accept the challenges in their life as opportunities to grow and develop a new level of maturity and healthy ambition.
We Can Help.
We are one of only a few wilderness programs that are fully accredited by The Joint Commission. We have been successfully addressing the following conditions for over 35 years:

• Substance use/abuse
• Chemical dependency
• Low self-esteem
• Depression
• Attention deficit issues
• Anger or rage
• Emotional pain • Sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse
• Entitlement issues
• Inappropriate sexual behavior
• Oppositional behavior
• Abandonment, adoption, or divorce issues
• Family discord
• Addictive/Abusive Behavior

An interdisciplinary team reviews all applications and will give final approval of admission and has the authority and responsibility to reject admissions as deemed necessary for the safety and integrity of patients, staff and program.

The Wilderness Setting Naturally Stimulates Change

For youth and young adults who have grown up with all the conveniences of a modern age, the wilderness is an intimidating and uncertain place. There is a heightened perception of risk that motivates students to work hard to understand and adapt to their new environment in order to achieve a sense of comfort and self-discipline. Wilderness Quest therapists and direct-care staff carefully guide this process of introspection, self-discovery and personal preparedness. The wilderness experience inspires renewed confidence and a sense of self-worth and maturity, which are critical steps to accepting self-responsibility.

The Wilderness Naturally Teaches About Action and Consequences

Wilderness Quest students are governed by principles of safety, yet they are not rescued from the consequences of their own choices. After students are provided with education and counsel regarding laws of nature and wilderness survival skills, they are given the opportunity to exercise choice. In the wilderness, students begin to learn the powerful lessons of choice and consequences in a natural way.

The Wilderness Accelerates Trusting Therapeutic Relationships

Strong relationships of trust which are grounded in shared experience are the key to lasting change. At Wilderness Quest, staff share a variety of experiences together, creating a powerful therapeutic alliance. This alliance creates a willingness and openness within the student to explore and evaluate themselves and their family relationships with a new, more positive perspective.
The Wilderness Helps Students Control Their Behavior
The dynamic nature of the wilderness provides a rich environment which elicits a variety of emotions from the students. Students learn through these experiences to navigate through emotions and develop the personal responsibility to make appropriate choices. As students become more responsible, they learn that behavior is a choice. While feelings are extremely important, feelings and emotions do not justify destructive behavior. This understanding helps students gain conscious control of their choices, maximizing their feelings of self-worth.
The Wilderness Helps Students Learn Communication Skills
Daily living in the wilderness requires students to practice conscious choices about how they respond to physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges that they face. Gaining confidence in the understanding of emotions and sharing those emotions with others is critical to the students’ healing and recovery.

The Wilderness Builds Personal Strength

In the wilderness, students are without the distractions and daily conveniences of everyday life. The incredible beauty and vastness of the wilderness inspires an acknowledgement of a Higher Power and naturally encourages students to look inward. Students often discover formerly unknown sources of strength and a sense that they are connected to a Higher Power. Feeling a connectedness to this Higher Power, students begin to demonstrate a sense of humble confidence as they face physical and emotional challenges.

Wilderness Quest understands the worth of our clients.

Wilderness Quest understands the value of personal safety. For this reason, we use the most advanced health and safety precautions in the industry including:
Forward Operating Base
One of the most significant health and safety measures to ensure student well-being is our forward operating base. This places our support and logistics personnel within close proximity to our teams. The forward operating base is a staging site for rapid response to any need of our clients in the field. The forward operating base has state-of-the-art communications systems.

Gear and Equipment

Wilderness Quest utilizes some of the most progressive gear in the industry. The gear that we issue to our clients is designed to exceed the demands of the current weather, terrain, and season.


Our three-time-redundant communications network - including UHF radio, cell phone, and high orbit satellite phone - allows our staff to always be in communication with our support center in Monticello and our forward operations base, thus ensuring excellent support and safety of our clients in the field.


Wilderness Quest's logistics team is highly qualified in wilderness training experience. Years of experience from operating in our area of operations, has given the team an in depth knowledge of the terrain and its characteristics. Excellent custom maps, as well as highly disciplined policies and procedures, facilitate our ability to provide our teams the food, water, gear, equipment, and transportation support they require.

Wilderness Quest is highly successful working with young adult males and females ages 18-28, with a history of substance use/abuse and chemical dependency, moderate to severe emotional and behavioral problems, low self-esteem, academic underachievement, immaturity, or family conflict.

Wilderness Quest employs a 12-step program which guides our young adults towards change and commitment to live principle based sober lives. Wilderness Quest combines the 12-step principles with the most current research surrounding addiction to drive our clinical process. The treatment team lead by a licensed master’s level therapist will engage our adult students in developing their goals, and objectives resulting in a focused individualized treatment plan.

Wilderness Quest employs our strong clinical program in concert with our scenic environment to give our students the ability to grow and excel without the distractions of everyday life. Our students will engage in a highly structured daily routine which ensures our students take accountability and responsibility for their decisions and actions. Our dedicated and qualified direct care staff will guide and mentor our young adults throughout the change process.

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