Summer is the season to get outside and enjoy the naturally therapeutic fresh air. Our program operates year-round and has special activities for all seasons. Wilderness therapy in the summer offers a plethora of adventurous activities for students. With summer right around the corner let’s explore all the wonderful programming that will be happening at blueFire Wilderness.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting is a refreshing, exhilarating group activity, and a group favorite during hot summer days. Therapeutically, rafting is a great way to foster leadership skills, team building, coordination, delegation, and unity. When on the water, everyone needs to work together to keep on the course. Clients need to accept instruction or feedback from their raft guide to keep themselves afloat and maneuver the rapids safely. Though it is a popular activity, it may be the first time many of our clients take part in river rafting.
The newness and excitement can be a source of stress and tension—not all our clients take direction well or feel comfortable overcoming unknown challenges. The exhilaration of rafting on rapids can help bring them to the present moment, away from any stress or negative emotions they have been holding onto. Thrilling sports such as white water rafting can also release endorphins that make you happier and more receptive to life. When they conquer the rapids as a team, clients deepen their peer bonds and feel empowered to overcome challenges in the future.
Bouldering & Rock Climbing
Bouldering and rock climbing fosters patience, trust, problem-solving, and communication skills in our clients. At blueFire, clients have opportunities for experiential learning—learning while doing an activity. Our staff incorporates therapeutic initiatives into every experiential learning opportunity.
In these experiential moments, clients experience patience while waiting for others to complete their climbs, communication skills while communicating with the belayer, trust while relying on others to hold the belay rope to keep them safe on the rock wall, and problem-solving skills while planning their route.
At the top of the climb, many clients realize that this was something they were able to complete; a task they felt was impossible. In a final group, clients discuss how what they learned in the rock climbing activity can translate to their lives outside of blueFire. Clients begin to realize they are more capable than they once thought.
They can do hard things and succeed. This is an amazing euphoric feeling that will bolster them to try things outside of their comfort zone and outside of the program, which in turn will help them grow even further.
Mountain biking allows you to explore the wilderness at a faster pace than traditional hiking. It’s a great opportunity to get out and have adventures while honing the skills to navigate the trails and landscape. Mountain biking requires endurance, balance, technical skills, muscle, and coordination to navigate the terrain. In return, it can alleviate stress, help you sleep, and put you in a good mood. Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport that uses every muscle group in the body, providing a strength-building workout. Regular exercise helps clients regulate their nervous systems and settle into a healthy resting state, eventually easing into mental and physical relaxation.
Keeping balanced while maneuvering the bike over rocks, logs, or around corners can be difficult but in time mountain bikers see the trails as challenging playgrounds. Our clients face challenges in their lives and mountain biking can act as a physical manifestation of working through and overcoming challenges, preparing them for the future through experiential learning.
There is nothing that says summer like going out into the wilderness and camping out. The smell and crackle of a burning campfire and the sounds of chirping insects and birds is ingrained in every mind as a symbol of summer. So what are the benefits of hiking, backpacking, and camping?
Well, they are all great at getting you out of your comfort zone and bringing you to a new frame of mind. This helps support our mindfulness practice where we encourage our clients to have time to be introspective and process their emotions and thoughts. Hiking is a great form of exercise that releases endorphins in the brain which makes people happy, the happiness helps to process negative emotions or conflicting feelings because we are in a calm even space to think logically through these issues.
Backpacking & Camping
Similar to hiking, backpacking supports mindfulness, gets us in tune with our bodies, and gives us space to process emotions. Backpacking is a more involved process than hiking, giving opportunities for clients to gain confidence in their outdoor skills. Our clients are taught how to plan routes to camping sites by learning how to read maps and use a compass to navigate. They are also taught meal planning, packing, and how to set up and bring down their tents and camping sites. We take our clients to beautiful wilderness areas and various national parks, making it important to know how to leave no trace and be respectful of the nature around them.
Camping is a great activity for bonding with peers, learning presence and self-sufficiency, meditating, and having fun crafting. Clients work together or independently to set up camp and cook meals, and then share a campfire with others who share goals, strengths, and struggles. This is a great barrier-free environment where clients can express themselves and possibly even share personal experiences that they would only usually share in group therapy situations. There is something magical that happens when you sit around a campfire camp in the middle of the wilderness.
Our location in, south-central Idaho, provides an expansive area to enjoy getting outside and into the great outdoors. blueFire Wilderness Therapy provides the ultimate summer wilderness therapy experience alongside clinically-sophisticated therapeutic practices.
About blueFire Wilderness
blueFire Wilderness is an outdoor-based wilderness and adventure therapy program for clients ages 11-17 and 18-28. blueFire combines clinical expertise, family, animal, wilderness, and adventure therapy in their program, providing an approach to treatment that produces long-lasting, internalized change. blueFire is licensed by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, is accredited by the American Experiential Education (AEE), and has professional memberships in the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH).