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New Perspectives - Jan, 2002 Issue #89 

An Intensive Backcountry Adventure &
Character Building Program for Youth & Families
Georgetown, Colorado
Mara Kormylo, Clinical Director

Founded in 1995, Trailhead is an approximately one year long therapeutic wilderness program for boys ages 10 to 18. They have two programs, one in Georgetown Colorado, and the other in Leadville, Colorado, each with a maximum of 20 boys.

Each student starts in the wilderness component, which lasts for an average of 3-5 months, and works through three levels, starting with Orientation, moving through Navigator, eventually becoming what is called Leader. Camp is usually moved three to four times a week, so this part is expedition based, using the natural consequences that frequently occur in the wilderness, as an important learning tool. The program emphasizes hiring staff who are experienced and well trained in wilderness skills, good therapy skills, or both.

Once a student successfully completes the wilderness component, he transitions to the Base Camp. This is a fully licensed residential treatment center that focuses on reintegrating the student into the “real world” by providing students the time and structure to work on integrating the powerful lessons and realizations of their wilderness experience. As the student progresses, he increasingly earns privileges and responsibilities. The goal is for students to transition to a point of being able to act responsibly in regards to issues and events, so he can “rejoin his family with the skills necessary to communicate and deal constructively with issues that might arise. They “believe that Trailhead graduates are prepared to join society as productive citizens and youngsters with self reliance, outstanding communication skills and true leadership potential.”

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