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Outdoor Therapy

Major Mom Guilt and the Start of the Suicide Watch

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A few years ago, it was early morning, and I was walking down the stairs to make a cup of coffee. I have this odd sense about me, and I know something is wrong. I can’t pinpoint it, and I am too exhausted to try. I feel tingly and weird and in full adrenaline mode. I turn the coffee maker on and notice we need paper towels; I go to the garage to get the towels. I see my husband’s sailing ropes laying on the ground. They are tied. My groggy brain brushes this observation off, and I go back to the kitchen to the coffee maker and look out the window. That’s weird, Scotty (age 12) is sleeping out in the grass with our Labrador, Fudge. Why? Part of me knows something isn’t right and part of me can’t comprehend why. I go outside, and he wakes up. He said Fudge was barking so he went out there to be with him. I am a smart person, I am a very intuitive person, yet I bought it, hook, line, and sinker. If only I had drunk my coffee before going in the garage, maybe I would’ve been aware and aw

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The benefits of mindfulness

The benefits of mindfulness

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So why practice mindfulness?  As we take time to be present to our experiences, and practice focusing on the present, we actually rewire our brains by creating new neural networks.  What are neural networks, you ask? When we learn behavior (how to swim, how to write the alphabet, how to drive a car) we create a neural network in the brain--neural networks, essentially, are neurons collecting signals from others and this creates an electric activity that creates connective branches in the brain. 

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Blue Ridge’s Footsteps Program Continues to Evolve by Enriching Family Involvement

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Blue Ridge first opened our Footsteps group for pre-teens in 2006, as one of the first wilderness therapy programs to work with this younger adolescent age group. It has always been developmentally focused to fit the needs of 10-14 year-olds, with an emphasis on nurturing these kids through every interaction. Our field staff balance supporting students through tasks while not rescuing them from what needs to be done. In this way, our students develop new skills while having the “safety net” of caring adults. We are a co-ed group led by co-ed field staff. This mirrors the traditional school setting where students develop their communication skills and build healthy relationships with peers and staff of different genders. These young students spend most days backpacking, but every ten days, they get to regroup and spend time at our hybrid base camp, called The Fort.

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Nomadic Therapeutic Wilderness Programs Offer a Deep Immersion in the Healing Embrace of Nature

Second Nature 209 (1)-min

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. —Robert Louis Stevenson 

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