The Wilderness Therapy Program at Charlton

The campus of The Charlton School sits on 50 acres of land surrounded by 300 acres of meadows, woods, and farmland — all of which belong to Charlton. We have developed a wilderness area on the land that includes a fishing pond, a trout stream, a large Adirondack lean-to, a camping area, a tree farm, and a nature trail. The area is isolated but not remote, and only a fifteen-minute walk from our campus.

This transformation, which takes place in the backdrop of The Adirondack Mountains can help them to be better about knowing themselves, understanding others and how their actions, words, and lives can impact others. In the wilderness, these teens are allowed to take a step back, reflect and see the world from another’s point of view without any distractions.

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Participating in wilderness therapy eliminates the distractions that are common in traditional programs, which allows teens to develop stronger relationships with staff members and their peers. This makes the adolescents take a closer look at, and gain better insight into, their past unhealthy behaviors, as well as what they need to do in order to alter the path their life is currently on.

Our program is unique in that it focuses on the individual, exploring and giving voice to their experiences while challenging them. Outdoor Therapy works in conjunction with our Treatment Groups. In the Outdoor Adventure Program, we teach students the importance of the environment and help them experience and learn about the wonders of nature. Students also learn about shared responsibility.