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New Perspectives - Sep, 1999 Issue #61 

50 North 200 East, Roosevelt, UT 84066
Gabe Reynolds, Owner/Marketing

“High Peaks Wilderness Program is an emotional growth program dedicated to providing youth with a safe and personally challenging atmosphere. With safety being of utmost concern, we use positive reinforcement, experiential learning, modeling, education and therapeutic intervention to guide youth in breaking negative behavior cycles.”

“There are several items that we believe set High Peaks aside from the rest. High Peaks Wilderness Program is not a ‘Time specified’ program. Each individual is unique; we allow the youth to learn at their own pace. We customize the treatment plan to maximize optimal behavioral change.”

This program is designed to teach coed, 13-18 year old youth, the skills of: assertiveness, acceptance, safety awareness, being proactive, and problem solving. They utilize a point card system as a token economy. This is in line with their belief that permanent change takes place by teaching through positive reinforcement rather than through punitive consequences. “We believe in interacting with youth in a way that they can learn from their mistakes and grow to be a self-confident individual. Every experience can be a learning experience. Our staff is fully trained in experiential education. Our Administrator is the Director of Utah State University’s Ropes Course in which experiential education is a key ingredient.”

“Recently, our students were awed as they witnessed a herd of elk while hiking to set up camp among the beautiful cedar trees and sage, adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument.” This Instructor’s comment is an example of how the High Peaks staff uses their environment to inspire and do therapy in the field, using trust- building activities, problem solving, and other survival skills such as using bow drills.

Because of the individualized nature of the program, the average length of time in the program varies. “Typically the program takes about two months, though students with problems take much longer. The program is in two phases. Students stay in the first phase until they are ready to learn, and are ready to drop their defenses. Phase two is more fun; they can fish, swim, and are involved in a higher kind of learning, helping them to internalize what they’ve learned. During this phase they sometimes get passes to visit home. They can process their experiences from their home visit when they return to the program, which helps to prepare them for their eventual transition back to their home. Students need to be at the highest level of their token economy for about two weeks before they are ready to leave the program.”

High Peaks Wilderness encourages the families to see a family counselor as soon as the program starts, and the student is directed to see the counselor on their home visit. The student then is encouraged to see the counselor when they leave the program, to help facilitate the transition.

High Peaks offers individual and family therapy, academics, open enrollment, a 3-1 client staff ratio, and is licensed and insured. Their fees include all the clothing and basic necessities. “One phone call is all it takes and help will be there!”

Copyright © 1999, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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