Youth Services Agency, (YSA)


Adolescents are biologically driven to explore their identities and to try new things. The ever evolving brain is still developing its judgement and self-in¬hibition systems. As a result, youth are easily influ¬enced by their peers, act impulsively, and seek out new and exciting sensations. For many teens, these impulses cause them to begin abusing drugs and alcohol. Many of the students at the ACT camp have similar histories and our individualized services of¬fers a unique behavioral intervention.

Our treatment model is effective first because teens are removed from the environment they are cur¬rently struggling in and don’t have access to drugs, alcohol, or negative relationships encouraging their use. This provides distance from the current influ¬ences and stressors of their life so they are able to in¬crease their understanding around their substance use, and develop a commitment to sobriety. The previously harmful and destructive environment is replaced by the peaceful and therapeutic environ¬ment of the ACT camp.

Adventure activities provide natural consequences. Forgetting to pack an essential item before a long hike will quickly teach you this. Once a teen strug¬gling with substance abuse takes responsibility for their actions, the result is personal empowerment, greater awareness, and improved behavior.

In addition, over a period of time with us our stu¬dents improve their overall health through a variety of high-impact, challenging physical activities that push them to expand their limits allowing them to accom¬plish goals they never thought possible. Our students routinely go outside their comfort zone which can be a dynamic and exciting treatment process for some¬one struggling with substance abuse. Additionally, participation in such challenging physical activities also teaches healthy activities he or she can continue to participate in for a lifetime.
We do not offer a “one size fits all” approach. After being properly assessed, our caring and experienced counseling staff develops an individualized treat¬ment plan based on each youth’s substance abuse history. This approach has been clinically proven to be effective.

Research using a large sample of participants (774 adolescents) in wilderness programs for troubled teens with anxiety, depression and substance use reported greater therapeutic engagement and readiness for change, reduction in stress levels, and decreased levels of anxiety and depression. Stu¬dents also reported freedom from substance abuse and dependency. Participants were re-visited af¬ter six months, and the vast majority of behavioral changes had been maintained.