Advice about Wilderness Programs

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Wilderness program for apathetic sophomore?

March 2010

My sophomore has a hard time doing any kind of work at home - from homework to chores. He's in to socializing (Facebook) and music (guitar). A lot of this is emotional, some is a developing new view on the Meaning of Life... Otherwise he's a good kid. I've heard of kids going off to Wilderness Programs and really losing the apathy and agony. Any suggestions? new kid on the block

Check out the Camp Unalayee Website. It's great camp -- non-profit - - old fashioned. Kids are out there, together cooking, hiking, talking and they are away from phones and electronics. They really need some time in nature. We all do. anonymous

Camp Unalayee is an excellent Wilderness Program for teens & youth. Campers backpack in the Trinity Alps wilderness for half a 2-week session with experienced counselors in small groups. In Base Camp, it's still wilderness -- they chop wood for dinner fires -- & Campers can choose from a variety of activities: rock climbing, archery, arts & crafts, waterfront activity, campfire. There are also longer trail programs for teens who are up to the challange. Camper staff ratio is 1:4 or 5. It's not a 'therapy' camp: campers have lots of choice of daily activity, also lots of oversight & encouragement & instruction from staff. It was transformative for me, and a big part of my kid's teen years (been around over 60 years) Office in Palo Alto. Seena

Have you heard of ''Wilderness Ventures''?

Dec 2009

We are thinking of sending our 15 year old daughter on a teen trip to Hawaii run by a company named ''Wilderness Ventures''. It looks great on their website - has anyone sent their kids on one of their trips? If so, what did you think? Thanks. A Mom

Sorry, I don't have experience with Wilderness Ventures, but I do have experience with organizing adventure tours. Wilderness Ventures may be outstanding, on the same level as National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) or Outward Bound (both of which you may want to also look into).

My advise is to carefully understand the training and experience the group leaders have:
- How long have they been leading?
- What is their training regimen?
- Are they certified in wilderness medicine or wilderness first responders?

Also, what is the company's risk management plan in general and for the specific trip that you're considering?

Taking a guided adventure can be exciting but needn't be unnecessarily risky. Asking a few questions can make a big difference in your enjoyment. Happy trails! anon

Wilderness program for unmotivated video-gamer son

May 2006

Has anyone tried or heard about a good wildnerness program for teens (1 week to 10 days only)? I am looking for my unmotivated, obsessed to World of Warcraft video-gamer son. Thanks --always hopeful mom

My son loved Adventure Treks ....look them up on their website. They combined wonderful, challenging experiences with great leadership building since the teens have to set up camp each night, cook and clean. He did the trip where they go to Oregon and Washington and backpack, climb mountains, kayak, etc. anon

For the video-gamer son who need a Good Wilderness Program. Have you heard of Camp Chrysalis ? This camp is the best. Call Lee Tempkin at 843-6157 or e-mail him at ltempkin [at] or Michael Rossman at 849-1154 or mrossman [at] They are the directors of this camp. The website is They have different sessions and prices. My daughter, 16, has been going for years and would not want to miss it. This is just a wonderful camp. Please inquire. Brigitte

I've heard raves about Camp Chrysalis from young teens and preteens. But I'm not sure if it has older teens good luck

Camp Unalayee It's in the Trinity Alps and they have backpacking trips for teenagers in a stunning and pristine area of Northern California wilderness lover

One of the best around is second nature. However, you will need more then 10 days. World of Warcaft is worse than cocaine. Your kids health may depend on you getting him off the game no matter what it takes even if the counsler thinks it is to drastic. This also goes for the mother who wrote in about her 14 year old son spending to much time on the computer . Throw the computer out if you have to.
dad who has seen it first hand