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New Perspectives - November, 2001 Issue #87 

New Horizons Wilderness Program
Orrington, ME
Jacqueline Danforth, Executive Director
Email | Web Site

The New Horizons Wilderness Program, a “nature based therapy program,” located in the rural landscape of Springfield, Maine, that works with adolescent girls, aged 13-17, who need to “deal with emotional difficulties.”

New Horizons runs their program throughout the year, with each expedition group lasting between 5 and 8 weeks and composed of 8 girls and 4 staff members.  As each girl arrives at the airport, her new group, the Registered Maine Guides (RGMs), and the therapist are there to greet her.  Upon arrival at New Horizons, each girl is evaluated to determine her specific needs and receives a physical exam before she begins wilderness training.  Once in the field, a therapist will meet with her twice a week, and will conduct two conference calls to the referring professional or the parent per week.  Each week, the girls receive a medical check-up in the field. Each group is outfitted with cell phones, pagers and Global Positioning Systems, and employee certification is as follows: Wilderness First Responder, EMT, Licensed Therapists, Registered Maine Guides, Medical Director, Paramedics.

During the spring, summer, and fall, the girls at New Horizons live outdoors, camping in tents.  In the winter, they will partake in day trips, but retire to primitive lodging facilities located 100 yards from the Field House.  The Field House is a 1,500 sq. ft. building consisting of offices, an infirmary and a bathhouse, complete with showers, bathtub, and laundry facilities.

Parent participation is also an important part of the New Horizons Wilderness Program.  Parents are not only asked to be available for weekly communication with therapists, they are also asked to write at least two letters per week to their daughter and be open to consider long term placement upon completion of New Horizons.  Parents will receive an orientation packet explaining particular requirements before the beginning of the program. This program is designed as a “stepping stone to a more permanent follow-up program or school.”

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