News & Views - Oct,
1996 Issue #42
WILDERNESS SURVEY RESULTS
(Last Spring, Woodbury Reports included a survey with all copies of the Woodbury Reports
Newsletter. 58 surveys were completed and returned. I wish to thank those who took the extra time to provide the feedback. The results
are of course only a hint of the attitudes of professionals and parents working with young people with behavioral/emotional problems,
but hopefully, the results might be useful in suggesting areas of further research and/or program development. - LON)
1.) Which category best describes your involvement with children and
young adults with problems? (Check one).
Educational Consultant - 9
Therapist/Counselor - 24
School staff - 9
Teacher - 4
Parent - 13
Legal System - 1
Hospital/Medical - 3
No Involvement - 0
Other - 7 (Includes “Owner/Counselor Wilderness 12 Step Program, Voyager Outward Bound -Ascent Program, Clinical Psychologist,
Program Director, Admissions Counselor, and Wilderness Program Director)
2.) (Please answer the section that most closely applies to you).
(A) (For referring professionals): About how many at-risk/out-of-control/emotional
or behavioral problem youths do you refer for a residential experience in a typical year?
(0 to 15) - 21
(16 to 30) - 11
(31 to 60) - 3
(above 60) - 5
(B) (For parents): Have you enrolled a child in a wilderness based program for
Yes - 14
No - 8
(C) (For staff with a school or program for young people with behavioral/emotional
problems): How large is your average student population?
(Under 25) - 11
(26 to 60) - 4
(61 to160) - 6
(Over 150) - 0
(D) Not applicable - 4
3.) Do you think there is a need for more wilderness adventure programs
individualized for the family of a child with behavior/emotional problems (i.e. parent/child, father/son, mother/daughter, siblings)?
Yes - 38
No - 7
Not Sure - 124
4.) What adventure activities would you think would be most valuable
to families with a child with problems. (Please circle all that apply)
Fly Fishing - 27
Hiking - 26
Nordic Skiing - 8
Bicycle Touring - 10
Backpacking - 28
Sailing - 10
Canoeing - 14
Sea Kayaking - 11
Whitewater Rafting - 20
Mountain Biking - 14
Rock Climbing - 38
Nature Photography - 9
Dog Sled Trips - 2
Other - 3
[Other activities included Native American skills (1), Challenge Courses (1), Horseback, Llama (1), Ropes (1), Chopping wood (1),
Carpentry (1), Family activities (2), and water-skiing (1)]
5.) What are the most common reasons you would not refer to/choose a
specific program for placement?
No track record - 32
Involved in a controversy or accusations - 35
Not state certified - 8
Inadequate staff credentials - 28
Question the program philosophy - 35
Safety concerns - 34
Mixed success - 10
Other - 12
(Have not seen the program nor know the staff, not offer phone numbers for referrals (2), recommendations that are negative, cost,
confrontational bootcamp mentality, inexperience of staff, bad reputation, one with little preparation/training for enrollees, not
individualized to enrollees’s needs, don’t know what they are doing and ineffective, programs that deny food and water for ANY reason,
and not cost-effective).
6.) What are the most frequent concerns parents have about programs
they are considering?
Success frequency (26)
If licensed (7)
Personal staff experience (13)
Communications from program (21)
(Others included lack of personal involvement, philosophy, letting child go).
7.) How do you evaluate program effectiveness? (Most important aspect
you look for).
Noticeable change in child, treatment goals met, self-esteem improved, success with clients,
professionalism of staff, -comprehensive understanding of problems, utilization of family, integration of real life issues, - safety,
licensed, cost - non-punitive, positive philosophy, professional recommendation - if the child’s cycle was broken - Long term changes
in child - Can the staff reach the young person - self report of students and general staff attitude towards students - parent feedback
- family communication - if the youth is able to interact appropriately to get their needs met - The personnel - change in previous
self destructive behavior - follow-up - talk to youth at beginning and end of program - financial guarantees - attitude of graduates
- the student’s willingness to continue growth oriented therapy after the program - number of runaways and number of accidents - clearness
of staff to their own issues - reached stated goals - pedagogy - Do the youth see value in what they are being asked to evaluate?
8A.) If you were to use a family/child transition program, what would
you think the best location would be?
In a location maintained by the program that child/family travel to? (31)
In a location close to the child/family’s home? (24)
Other (3) (Includes: combination -1, remote -1)
8B.) What would you think would be the optimum length of a family program?
2-3 months (2)
4-6 months (2)
At least several months (2)
3-6 weeks (2)
Depends on problem (3)
6-9 months (3)
4-7 days (3)
2-4 weeks (3)
14 days (3)
3-6 months, getting parents free for more than 3-4 days is difficult (4)
2 weeks in field (2)
12 weeks outpatient follow-up (2)
1 week (2)
2 years (3)
6-8 months minimum (3)
3-5 days and 2-3 days at the wilderness program (3)
one month (3)
9 months to a year (3)
4 days (3)
9A.) How important do you think it is to do aggressive follow- up programing?
Not Important (0)
9B.) What would be the most effective way to do follow-up?
Regular Phone calls (24)
Regional meetings (18)
Child/family return to the program for a refresher (36)
Other (17) (Responses included Coordinated counseling - 5, visit to homes and self-report forms).
10A.) (Referring professionals only) What are your busiest months of
10B.) Slowest months?
11.) How important is immediate admissions?
Not Important (0)
12A.) Have you seen one of the TV discussions on wilderness programs
for young people with behavioral/emotional problems? (Leeza, 60 Minutes etc.)
12B.) If yes, did you feel they gave a fair balance between advantages
Copyright © 1996, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced
without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)