Wilderness Therapy Program for Troubled Boys
Shepherd’s Hill Academy offers a unique and effective approach to healing.Science and experience have proven the therapeutic value of nature and the great outdoors. And, the physical interactions associated with living in an unplugged environment works wonders on a teenager’s critical, constructive and creative thinking skills—skills too often lost in today’s toxic culture and digitally-addicted age. Still, students will learn wise and healthy tech-etiquette during their stay. But, beyond emotional well-being, there are the psychological and spiritual benefits to this therapeutic approach as well— one reason why 70% of students coming to SHA on medications will graduate SHA medication free! Everything at SHA is biblically based and scientifically supported!
The residential component of SHA is a therapeutic environment that offers a simple living experience free of stimuli and distractions, creating a place where teens can grow, learn and thrive. In this environment, teens are challenged to learn skills such as emotional regulation, adaptive coping mechanisms, leadership, responsibility, accountability, work ethic, healthy face to face relationships and holistic therapeutic interactions that cultivate health and well-being. Good behavior becomes their idea; because it’s rooted in the experiences that life in the woods promotes—not the least of which is hearing the still small voice of God and the tenants of a biblical worldview.
Though our students are definitely out of their comfort zones when they first arrive, it doesn’t take them long to adapt, acclimate and actually enjoy the experience. Their appetites then become re-oriented for more wholesome activities and interactions. Many students have even called their year at SHA, the best year of their lives! Though loving Jesus Christ is in no way a prerequisite to our love for them or their success through the program, they will likely never find a better and more freeing atmosphere for knowing God and His Word.
Teenage boys reside in, while helping build and maintain, structurally sound rustic cabins located about a quarter mile (2 1/2 city blocks) from Shepherd’s Hill Academy’s main campus. The wilderness-like communities have no running water or electricity. All cabins are heated with wood burning stoves.
Shepherd’s Hill Academy’s main campus provides fully functional amenities such as shower facilities, restrooms, laundry machines, a cafeteria, and classrooms. Daily on campus, teens attend their academic classes, eat three healthy meals, and properly maintain personal hygiene.
Shepherd’s Hill Academy is a licensed Outdoor Child Care Program that meets all guidelines and regulations set forth by the state of Georgia. All teens are supervised 24/7 with a 5:1 student-to-staff ratio by the Boys Residential Team.
While at Shepherd’s Hill Academy, our Boys Wilderness Therapeutic Program provides your troubled teen boy with the opportunity to regularly engage in wholesome, healthy, exciting, and relaxing on and off-campus activities.
Our 185 acre facility provides more than an adequate opportunity for your teen to experience virtually unlimited creative activities.
- Access to Exercise & Fitness, Including Free Weights
- Basketball, Soccer, Flag Football, GaGa, Disc-Golf & Other Recreational Activities
- Walking Trails & Nature Paths
- In-Ground Swimming Pool with an Activity Pavilion
- Creative Activities
- Opportunities for Maintenance, Demolition & Construction Activities
- Pond & Dock Area for Fishing
Each month the students are given an off-campus activity. This means they will participate in any number of activities in the surrounding communities, which can include, but are not limited to:
- Camping and Fishing
- Movie and Dinner
- Amateur and Professional Sporting Events
- Local Festivals
- Museum, Planetarium, and Aquarium Visits
- Hiking Near Parks, Lakes, Streams, and Waterfalls
While both boys and girls have similarly functioning programs, the Boys Wilderness Program differs slightly in its therapeutic model than that of the Girls Wilderness Program.
Change of Environment
The rustic living of the Wilderness Therapeutic Program provides your troubled teen boy with the challenge and adventure of living outside of his comfort zone. Living in a rustic environment affords your child the challenges of having no running water or electricity, chopping wood for heat, and having no access to today’s technological conveniences.
Upon arrival, students begin to contribute to the maintenance, repair, and/or construction of one or more structures in their wilderness-like site. There is little to no use of power tools. This means your son will learn how to problem solve, all while using his hands, feet, and back to construct safe and secure structures that are occupied and utilized by him and his peers.
The challenge of these building projects will bring confidence to your troubled teen. As he learns and continues to accomplish things beyond what he thought himself capable, he will grow in confidence and the healing will begin. This all transfers into greater expectations in behavior–especially as his heart begins to transform.
The Boys Wilderness Program focuses on community and team building. Every individual is expected to contribute to the group. This provides an opportunity for your teen to learn valuable team building skills. Other therapeutic components such as accountability meetings, Equine Therapy, and low ropes course activities all teach relational skills that contribute to the healing process of a troubled teenager.