Outdoor Therapy Program

OUTDOOR THERAPY - Discovery Ranch Recreation Program

The Outdoor Recreation Program at Discovery Ranch for Girls (DRG) is a multi-faceted experiential program aimed at challenging the interpersonal skills, accountability and attitude towards therapy of our students. This end is accomplished in a variety of ways depending on which phase of the program your daughter is in.


In our Foundations Program, students are introduced to a variety of programs aimed at creating positive stress situations. These programs challenge students and, in order to be successful, require them to change the way that they interact with their peers and stress itself.  So many of our students shut down or become reactive when they encounter stressful situations; however, in Foundations, students must find ways to communicate their ideas and needs to their peers.”

Students are further challenged as they stop and process the activity.  Their ability to draw meaningful insight about their own past and therapeutic experience provides invaluable therapeutic material which is relayed to their therapist to assist in their treatment.

The Foundations phase of the program also includes a full day of off campus recreation opportunities. Once students reach the appropriate phase of their treatment they are able to participate in these off campus trips which occur approximately once a month for each caseload.

The Friday off campus trips include hiking, rock climbing, canyoneering, and water sports in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter they are able to participate in snowshoeing, cross country skiing, winter survival activities, and cold weather education.

"The Foundations phase of the program includes a full day of off campus recreation opportunities.”


the second phase of the recreation program at DRG is the Advanced Recreation Program. The primary focus of the Advanced Recreation Curriculum is hard skill development and mastery. Students in the Advanced Recreation Curriculum continue to tune up the interpersonal and problem-solving skills learned and practiced in Foundations.

"We believe the therapeutic process is multi faceted with adventure education being at the heart of the process of change..."

In our Advanced Recreation Program, students are challenged by applying the skills they are learning to higher intensity activities with a greater level of perceived risk. This increased perception of risk creates discomfort. The discomfort may bring back to the surface old patterns of behavior related to stress, fear, frustration, or shame. These moments are processed and connections to their therapeutic goals are made to help them continue 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 skill set they can take home and replace the maladaptive patterns of behavior they engaged in before Discovery Ranch.”

In our Advanced Recreation Program, students are exposed to a much wider variety of skills/activities and experience them in greater depth.

"We view adventure education and peak experiences as effective means to truly empower the young women at Discovery Ranch.”

Examples of these skills/activities include rock climbing/climbing technique, Leave No Trace (LNT) practices, canyoneering, rappelling, whitewater rafting/kayaking, canoeing, hiking and multi-day backpacking in the spring, summer and fall. In the winter Advanced Recreation students participate in downhill skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, winter survival skills, shelter building, fire building, and cross country skiing.

Additionally, participation in outdoor activities can provide students with a healthy and supportive peer group. This type of peer environment can enhance continued growth. And vital relationship skills gained along the way can be transferable when the student returns home.


(read his bio here...)