Pinnacle Wilderness, an outdoor therapeutic treatment program serving youth from 13 - 17, is located in Central Utah. Using the peace and serenity of the mountains and desert to help troubled kids move forward with "knowledge of past mistakes, lessons of the present and opportunities for the future." Using Native American imagery, the program uses the Circle of Courage as a guide for its teachings. Pinnacle uses quadrants of the Circle - Belonging, Mastery, Independence and Generosity, universal needs in all youth, to develop self-confidence, respect and trusting relationships.
New students are integrated into gender-specific groups of up to 7 students, led by 3 staff. The average length of stay is 42 days. All students are eligible to earn 2.5 high school credits while on the trail issued through a fully accredited program, Blueprint Education. In addition to health, drug and hygiene education, students learn CPR and First Aid Training. Students participate in weekly individual therapy and the therapy/counseling staff members make weekly calls home to keep families informed.
Parents take part in a two-day orientation and parenting workshop at admission and return for a two-night, three-day trek with their teen at graduation. During the family trek, staff members explain Post-Pinnacle Planning, a year-long plan for continued support that includes resources in the family's home community. Alumni who may be struggling at home are welcome to return to the program for up to six weeks to reaffirm their new life skills.
The program founders bring their own life experiences to Pinnacle. The Clinical Director is a Licensed LCSW/Marriage and Family Therapist and the field staff have both experience and training in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Several staff members are also certified EMTs. The program is licensed as an Outdoor Wilderness Program by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
[This New Perspective was written by our Research Affiliate, Judith E. Bessette, EdD. Judi gathered this information through the Pinnacle Wilderness website.]