ANASAZI Programs for Young Adults 2017-11-22T18:40:31+00:00

ANASAZI Programs for Young Adults

Location:  Arizona
Type:  49 or 56-day (minimum stay) Residential
Ages:  18+ years old
Staff ratio:  1 to 3
Support:  Seven weeks of Parent Shadowing following discharge
Admissions:  Continual, please call to schedule
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The Sinagua Walking

In the late 1960’s, ANASAZI Foundation founders Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez began guiding young adults on survival expeditions in the wilderness of Southeastern Utah. Their creative efforts won a National Education Award in 1968. Since then, they have been engaged in helping youth and young adults turn their hearts homeward through a primitive outdoor experience.

Experience has proven the wilderness to be a safe haven free from the distractions of the world that invites and inspires reverence, gratitude, and humility. The wilderness is a quiet place to study, ponder, pray and examine one’s life– all of which invite “awakenings.”

Sinagua is a Spanish name given to an ancient people that once inhabited much of Southwestern United States. The word “sinagua” means “without water.” The Sinagua Walking is an opportunity for young men and women who have been “without” to voluntarily fill their souls. The Sinagua Walking is a minimum of 49 or 56 days in length (depending upon the week admitted) and is designed to help young adults 18+ years old who are facing concerns such as:

  • Adjustment
  • Anxiety
  • Bi polar
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Substance and/or alcohol abuse/dependence

Parent Involvement

The focus of the treatment at ANASAZI is to heal and strengthen family relationships. Each participant is part of a family and either makes choices that honor family (no matter how dysfunctional the family may be) or uses the choices of family members to justify his/her own behavior. For this reason, whenever possible, we invite parents to participate.

We invite parents to attend an orientation and a one-day Anatomy of Peace workshop at the time of admission and later join their Sinagua Walker for the DawnStar Walking (the final three days/two nights) on the trail. The workshop and visit to the trail give parents the best opportunity to discover what they can do to help things go right for their child.

After the time on the trail, parents participate with their child in a half-day Family Walking of WE session, followed by an additional seven weeks of Parent Shadowing provided by an ANASAZI coach.

Research at ANASAZI has repeatedly demonstrated that a young person is significantly more likely to sustain changes made at ANASAZI when parents participate.

Sinagua Phases

There are three phases to the Sinagua Walking. During each phase the Sinagua Walker will hike several miles and camp in remote areas. Group sizes are small and staff ratios are high.

  • Rabbitstick Walking
    The first walking is designed to introduce the young adult to the ANASAZI Way and help build relationships of trust. In addition, it is a time to make and invite the participant to use this experience at ANASAZI as an opportunity to leave behind his/her old walking and begin anew. During this walking, each participant will learn basic skills (cooking, hygiene, first aid, taking care of clothing and equipments, etc.). These skills will be useful throughout the walking. In addition, each will make his/her own trail gear (primitive backpack, fire set, possibles bag, quiver, rabbitstick, etc.). The Rabbitstick walk is typically less than a week. Initial “awakenings” occur during these first few days.
  • Badgerstone Walking
    When ready, each Rabbitstick Walker will move into the Badgerstone Walking. In the Badgerstone Walking, the young adult will put his/her newly found skills to work, learn The Seven Paths of the ANASAZI Way, and participate in regular sessions with the Shadow (therapist) and in group settings.
  • DawnStar Walking
    In preparation for graduation from ANASAZI, each participant will be given the opportunity to participate in the DawnStar Walking. Parents are invited to join the participant for these last two nights and three days in his camp. The Shadow will visit the family in their lone camp. This walking is spent reuniting and preparing for their return to the “wilderness of the world”.

Involving Ecclesiastical Leaders

ANASAZI is a wonderful place for a young person to discover God. At ANASAZI we are only helpers and not healers. Only God can mend a broken soul. In order to truly leave behind the old and begin anew, each Sinagua Walker may need the guidance and support he/she can receive from an ecclesiastical leader from his own personal faith. Whenever possible and with permission from the participant, leaders are welcome to correspond, send reading material, and even visit him/her while in the wilderness.

In addition, the founders of ANASAZI believe the most significant way to sustain change is by providing service to others. When Sinagua Walkers leave ANASAZI we invite every one to serve in some way in their community. An Ecclesiastical leader can often be a good resource for identifying areas where service is needed


ANASAZI upholds the highest standard of confidentiality. Information will only be shared with parents and ecclesiastical leaders with the permission of the Sinagua Walker. Direct-care workers will not know of the background of the young adult participating in the walking. The Shadow is the only direct care worker who will be familiar with the participant’s past.A medical file will be kept on each participant. These files will be locked until such time as they are destroyed.


ANASAZI is not for everyone, and so we carefully screen all applicants prior to admission. Screening includes a telephone interview, medical examination and the review of a detailed social history by the treatment team. Young adults will not be accepted with medical conditions that would limit their participation or have concerns that cannot be adequately and effectively addressed at ANASAZI. In addition, young adults must voluntarily commit to complete the walking (minimum of 49-days).


ANASAZI’s professional staff organization includes a Medical Doctor, Board Certified Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and a Registered Nurse. The majority of the direct care staff are 21-30 years old. Many are completing degrees in the helping professions. Staff are trained in first aid, CPR, Wilderness First Responder and have appropriate guide licenses and permits. ANASAZI maintains provider agreements with a medical helicopter service and local hospital.


Programs are billed via a daily rate. (For a quote, please contact a member of our Admissions team at 480-892-7403 or via e-mail at admissions@anasazi.org.) Often treatment is covered by insurance when there are mental or behavioral health benefits. When there are limited insurance benefits and no other financial resources, ANASAZI can provide limited financial aid from funds raised though private fund-raising efforts. The participants and/or his/her family is responsible for all out-of-pocket expenses.

Click here for complete admissions information

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