Wilderness Therapy Program for Troubled Girls
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.
The female students reside in 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.
The main campus of Shepherd’s Hill Academy provides all the functional amenities such as shower facilities, restrooms, laundry machines, a cafeteria, and fully functional classrooms. Here, the girls daily attend their classes, eat three healthy meals, and maintain personal hygiene.
Shepherd’s Hill Academy is a licensed Outdoor Child Care Program and meets all rules 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 Girls Residential Team.
While at Shepherd’s Hill Academy, our Girls Wilderness Program provides your daughter 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 daughter to experience virtually unlimited creative activities. Some of these activities include:
- 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 community, which can include, but are not limited to:
- Camping and Fishing
- Movie and Dinner
- Amateur and Professional Sporting Events
- Local Festivals and Community Affairs
- Museum, Planetarium, and Aquarium visits
- Hiking Near Parks, Lakes, Streams, and Waterfalls
While both boys and girls have similarly functioning programs, the Girls Wilderness Program differs slightly in its therapeutic model than that of the Boys Wilderness Program.
Change of Environment
The rustic living of the Wilderness Program provides troubled teen girls with the challenge of living outside of their comfort zone. Living in a rustic environment affords your teenager the challenges of having no running water or electricity, collecting wood for heat, and having no access to today’s technological conveniences.
While in the Girls Wilderness Program, your daughter will have the opportunity to learn how to take care of the Shepherd’s Hill Academy barn by collecting chicken eggs, feeding a variety of animals, and learning how to sheer sheep.
The Girls Program utilizes a self-reliance therapeutic strategy that brings confidence to your child. Your daughter will learn that she can accomplish things beyond what she thought herself capable of accomplishing. This learning, confidence, and self-esteem all transfer into greater expectations in behavior–especially as her heart begins to transform.
The Girls Wilderness Program focuses on community and team building. Every individual is expected to contribute to the group. This provides an opportunity for your troubled teen girl 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.