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Posted May 14, 2003 

[Editorial Comment: "Mike Cottinham, Co-Founder of Wilderness Ventures recently confirmed that his program still does not work with children with behavioral or emotional problems and will refer calls regarding children with those programs elsewhere.
- Lon Dec. 15, 2005"]

Wilderness Ventures
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Mike & Helen Cottingham – Founders

For the past 31 years, Wilderness Ventures has worked with high school, junior high, and college students, combining their “love of teaching young adults with their “passion” for the American Wilderness.” They feel that rather than teach exclusively hard skills and low impact camping, as many other well-known outdoor schools do, Wilderness Ventures offers a more comprehensive approach to leadership training that is more relevant to the ‘real world’, that emphasizes the importance of group problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict-resolution, in addition to the hard skills. Kids who apply for enrollment in this program need references from coaches or teachers, who are called to determine how well they interact with other kids, how well they follow directions, and to assure they are free of alcohol and drugs. Applicants with a history of behavioral difficulties who have successfully completed an adequate program of intervention will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

They have five separate program divisions. The Domestic Wilderness Adventures range from 16 days to 6 weeks, vary in degrees of challenges and are for students finishing grades 7-12. The Advanced Leadership Programs are ideal for those who wish to gain the greatest degree of outdoor skills and are offered for students finishing grades 10-college. The International Adventures take place in a variety of international wilderness environments for students finishing grades 8-12 who wish to combine a cultural experience with outdoor living. The Bicycle Adventures are for the students finishing grades 7-12 who are seeking an “outdoor adventure without a backpack” and offer varying degrees of challenges in and around “spectacular natural environments.” Finally, the Service Adventures are designed for students to obtain high school community service requirements by working with Native Americans and assisting in environmental projects while adventuring in the outdoors.

The Family/Parent Adventure program provides an opportunity for a student’s family to also be involved in the wilderness adventure. Before, during, or after the student’s adventure, moms, dads, and other family members are invited to experience a sampling of Wilderness Venture’s adventures.

Wilderness Adventures believes that the emphasis that they put on personal growth, interpersonal communication skills, and learning to live within a group separates them from other wilderness programs and presents an “invaluable” experience for adolescents.

PO Box 1671 | Bonners Ferry, ID 83805 | 208-267-5550
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