Outdoor Therapy Program


The Outdoor Recreation Program at Discovery Ranch for Girls is a multi-faceted experiential program.

Phase 1 – Foundations Program

In our Foundations Program, we introduce students to a variety of programs aimed at creating positive stress situations. These programs challenge students, requiring them to change the way that they interact with their peers and deal with stress. Students find ways to communicate their ideas and needs. We challenge students further by having them stop and process each activity. They gain meaningful insight about their own past and therapeutic experience.

The Foundations phase of the program includes a full day of off-campus recreation opportunities when students reach the appropriate phase of their treatment. These trips occur about once a month. In the spring, summer, and fall, students can participate in hiking, rock climbing, canyoneering, and water sports. In the winter, students can participate in snowshoeing, cross country skiing, winter survival activities, and cold weather education.

Phase 2 – Advanced Recreation Program

The second phase of the recreation program is the Advanced Recreation Program. The primary focus of the Advanced Recreation curriculum is hard skill development and mastery. In this phase, students continue to improve their interpersonal and problem-solving skills that they learned and practiced in Foundations.

In our Advanced Recreation Program, students apply the skills they are learning to higher intensity activities with a greater level of perceived risk. This increased perception of risk creates discomfort. This discomfort may bring back to the surface old patterns of behavior related to stress, fear, frustration, or shame. When these moments happen, students can connection them to their therapeutic goals. This helps them to work through and identify areas that need work.

The end goal of the Advanced Recreation program is not only to instill passion and respect for wild-open spaces and outdoor activities, but to provide them with a skills they can take home to replace the negative patterns of behavior they engaged in before Discovery Ranch. We view adventure education and peak experiences as effective means to truly empower the young women at Discovery Ranch.

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