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New Perspectives - Oct, 1994 Issue #30 

Eugene T. Nervo, Colonel, USMC, Retired, Director
New Castle, VA

Just opening their doors, the Academy is a school year program for non-violent boys ages 13 through 17. It is "dedicated to the highest standards and principles of academic excellence, physical well-being, social norms, and moral courage." Its major motivational education components are wilderness therapy and experiential education. 

The Academy "is an intensive eight and one half month academic school program for 'at risk' youth based on wilderness therapy and the principles of leadership. The academy is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the grounds of Craig Healing Springs in Craig County, Virginia. The program is aimed at improving the resident's academic, social, physical, emotional, and moral well being with the goal of preparing the student for a full and satisfying adult life. The program combines a traditional classroom education setting with wilderness therapy to create a powerful experience that will change a young person's life. Experiential-based education occurs on site in conformance with the Commonwealth of Virginia Public School Code. The wilderness adventure therapy component is the nucleus of the residence program. The WILDERNESS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY, INC. is affiliated with WILDERNESS ADVENTURE AT EAGLE LANDING, INC., a year-round outdoor adventure program that will provide experienced instruction in rock climbing, rappelling, canoeing, kayaking, caving, mountain biking, Native American skills, adventure trail, high ropes, low ropes, and climbing wall." 

The routine includes character development backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, an average of "six hours of classroom and experiential instruction five days per week," "one day wilderness experience or outdoor adventure...each week," "A three hour session featuring a visit from a professional" on a career choice each week which will be developed into a mentor program, each month will have a "two day overnight camping adventure" and a visit to a place of interest, and daily assignments on Current Events. 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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