The staff at Blackwater Outdoor Experiences just recently completed another successful wilderness therapeutic expedition. Four students and two staff embarked on a 22 day trip through the spectacular George Washington National Park in Virginia. This trip provided each participant the opportunity to develop self-confidence, responsibility, trust and accountability through a variety of outdoor activities as well as individual and group therapy sessions.
August was a spectacular month to be in the wilderness! The weather provided a great mixture of sun, warmth, refreshing rain and mist, which provided each day with a new set of obstacles and opportunities.
The trip began with a week of canoeing that gave the group time to swim, relax and enjoy the tranquility of traveling down a river. The group then embarked on several adventures, which included enjoying the thrill of a rope swing, exploring a small cave and observing a variety of wildlife such as otters, a bald eagle, small and large fish, giant snapping turtles, many blue herons and other animals!
Backpacking was hot and a big challenge, but the group was able to cool of by nearby creeks for a few days to refresh both the mind and body.
The rock climbing portion of the trip provided both enjoyment and excitement as each participant was faced with challenges they’ve never experienced. The entire group truly enjoyed this activity as it provided each person with opportunity to both have fun as well as learn something new about themselves. This activity also provided spectacular views and generated anticipation towards the expected fall colors that will be observed on the next trip.
Overall, the group had a great time with lots of laughs and lived vicariously through movie quotes to keep us moving through the hard times. Additionally, this three week wilderness experience provided a therapeutic benefit to each individual who was struggling with his/her own set of unique issues. The last “summer” trip was a great success and the Blackwater staff looks forward to cooler months, colorful foliage, and continued success in helping at risk adolescents and young adult address the issues or challenges they face by utilizing the benefits that wilderness based therapy offers.