BlueFire Wilderness Therapy observes National Therapeutic Recreation Month by offering parents advice on how to get their teens outdoors. Getting outdoors and getting active can be quite therapeutic because it builds good health and improves an individual's outlook. With therapeutic recreation incorporated into daily programming, BlueFire has expertise in this area.
In honor of National Therapeutic Recreation Month, BlueFire offers the following advice for parents struggling to get their teens outdoors:
Go on adventures together: Instead of throwing a ball at teens and saying "go play", parents could take teens on an expedition to a nearby forest or river to hike or canoe. This can prove to be a valuable bonding experience for parent and child.
Make it about their interests: Parents shouldn't force teens to do something they don't want to do. Ask teens what they would be interested to explore outdoors and go for it. A teen's interest in a specific outdoor activity, like mountain climbing, can expand the horizons of the entire family.
Get them to bring a friend: Teens should be encouraged to bring a friend along on an outdoor adventure. They will be more willing to put away the remote control and go outside to bike or hike if they know they can bring a friend along. That way they can realize how much fun they can have exercising outdoors.
Be a good role model: If parents are inside watching television or working on their computer while asking their teen to go on an adventure outdoors, teens will be less likely to comply. Parents should make it a point to take part in recreational activities outdoors on a regular basis in order to get their teen to follow by their example.
At BlueFire, struggling teens experience the outdoors while taking part in therapeutic recreation activities. These activities are utilized to gain perspective on each client's patterns and behaviors related to how they handle adversity.
"Each activity we do gives us some idea of our clients' coping skills and whether those skills need to be improved upon", says Tom Boley, Adventure Director at BlueFire. "Therapeutic recreation activities promote self confidence and empower teens to believe more in themselves. Throught recreation activities our teens are able to identify those challenging behaviors, learn new ways to better handle those situations, and begin practicing new coping skills."
Common therapeutic activities used and recommended by BlueFire include mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, caving, mountain biking, canoeing, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Other therapeutic activities at BlueFire are geared more towards contemplation and reflection.
"It's really important for today's teens to learn how to remove themselves from their surroundings every so often. Their world is so fast paced and they're always living in front of a screen," says Boley. "It's important for them to feel comfortable in their own skin by themselves. It gives clients a chance to calm down and feel some peace within themselves."
BlueFire Wilderness Therapy has helped hundreds of teens work through emotional and behavioral struggles through recreational therapy. In its support of National Therapeutic Recreation Month, BlueFire encourages families to get outside, get active, and have fun with their children.
"At BlueFire we strive to introduce our clients to a variety of different recreation activities, not only to challenge themselves to learning something new and gaining confidence, but also to inspire teens to pursue healthy habits in their lives," commented Kathy Rex CTRS, Executive Director and Founder of BlueFire Wilderness. "You can find a climbing gym, river, or bike trail in most places in this country. Let's inspire kids to get outside and stay physically and emotionally healthy."
BlueFire Wildernessis a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Boise, Idaho that offers teens ages 11-17 a comprehensive adventure experience. BlueFire Wilderness combines clinical expertise, academic assessments and a family systems approach to help teens struggling emotional, behavioral and social challenges.