Introducing Ozark Expeditions
Ozark Trails Academy aims to provide the best therapy and treatment for struggling students. Ozark Expeditions is a weekend adventure learning program where students learn primitive skills that connect the body and mind and promote personal healing.
Ozark Expeditions Goals and Benefits
The goal of the Ozark Expeditions weekends for students is to integrate the great outdoors with personal healing through intentional activities, team-building, and self-achievement. With safety as the guiding priority, facilitators make lesson plans to anticipate and prevent dangerous situations while on the weekend expedition. This includes bringing the right equipment, analyzing the weather, preparing first aid, and evaluating each student’s physical and mental capacities.
Research on combining clinical treatment with outdoor therapy led Ozark Trails to add these new weekend treks where students can embrace nature, tackle tough challenges, and process their emotions.
The new Ozark Expeditions combine professional clinical treatment with challenging outdoor activities. Primitive skills are used as a therapeutic modality because of their power to change the mind and body. Primitive skills also act as a catalyst for the brain to start healing itself. Once students are separated from their destructive habits and behaviors, they can take advantage of this healing process.
Learning About Primitive Skills Through Ozark Expeditions
Primitive outdoor skills that students learn with the Ozark Expedition program include, but are not limited to the following: fire starting, shelter, outdoor cooking, plant and animal identification, lashing, orienteering, and many more. Each of these skills allows for therapeutic intervention. For example, as students learn how to start a fire on a cold wet day, the therapist can elicit thoughts and feelings related to other emotionally difficult experiences. When the student succeeds at making a fire and realizes that what they choose to do can change how they feel, a simple yet difficult task can become a life-changing event.
Leaving Friday afternoon and returning Monday morning, a group of 3-9 students, a therapist, and qualified counselors hit the trails on Academy property for a weekend of primitive skills lessons. Approximately one week a month, they prepare and go on an expedition. The expeditions are overseen by qualified therapists, biologists, nutritionists, and EMTs. Through this immersive, hands-on learning of essential survival skills, students experience self-achievement as they focus on mastering hard skills in Missouri’s great outdoors.
Students also get the chance to rebalance their thoughts and priorities with Ozark Expeditions, away from harmful exposure to phones and computer screens, as they tap into natural resources. The absence of technology and immersion into treatment with the outdoors promotes healing and a nurturing environment.
Research reveals that outdoor behavioral health promotes healing and treatment even for treatment-resistant young people. When youth experience an immersion into the natural environment, they undergo physiological and psychological changes.
The outdoor hands-on experiences and reflection time alone—and as a group–can help your teen process emotions, examine personal behavior, interact socially, develop relationships and improve self-esteem. Students find empowerment and meaning in what they have accomplished.
Ultimately, research has shown that programs that utilize the development of primitive skills like this are most effective because task accomplishment builds self-efficacy. Overall, we focus on empowering clients and families toward their potential by decreasing symptoms of problem behaviors, improving family relationships, and empowering change and hope.
Other Outdoor Activities at Ozark Trails Academy
Ozark Trails Academy also provides daily outdoor activities on campus led by a qualified recreational therapist who promotes diverse activities geared toward mental health.
Each student also has the opportunity to build therapeutic relationships with horses at weekly equine therapy sessions taught by Ozark Trails therapists using Parelli Horsemanship therapy. This program emphasizes learning horsemanship by understanding horse behavior, psychology, and communication.
Teaching students the power of non-verbal communication and sensitivity becomes essential to developing their confidence and self-respect. Equine therapy also helps students improve their mental and physical health.
While students work with and care for horses, we encourage them to pay attention to changes in personal behavior and apply what they learn about themselves to their own lives and interpersonal relationships with others.
These daily outdoor activities promote healing and restoration for each young teen enrolled at Ozark Trails Academy. Family-focused with individualized care, Ozark Trails rests on 900 acres that include horses, chickens, farming, rafting, spelunking, rock climbing, hiking, wilderness learning, and so much more.