The ANASAZI Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program is designed for youth 12-17 years old who are struggling with substance abuse, emotional, or behavioral concerns. Participants (YoungWalkers) spend a minimum of 49 or 56 days in the wilderness of Arizona hiking and camping with little manufactured gear. They live a primitive lifestyle and learn the skills and technologies of the “ancient ones.”
The wilderness gives YoungWalkers an opportunity to be in an environment free from clutter and distraction–to ponder their lives, take responsibility for past choices and prepare to begin anew. YoungWalkers learn to cook their own meals (food packs are replenished weekly) and build shelters to protect themselves from the elements. They may hike up to 10 miles in a day and seldom camp in the same place more than two nights.
ANASAZI is not a boot camp. There is no force, manipulation or confrontation. Caring staff walk the trail with the same food and gear as the YoungWalkers and patiently wait for opportunities to teach. When the time is right they will teach skills and the principles of unconditional love, agency, repentance, forgiveness, and restitution.
Each child is assigned a Shadow (counselor) who works closely with the parents and their child on the concerns that brought the YoungWalker to the trail. Shadows have at least a masters degree and are supervised by the program’s psychologists and clinical director. Shadows meet weekly with the YoungWalkers on the trail and keep parents informed as to the progress the child is making.
Parent involvement is an essential element to the success of the program and sustaining changes made on the trail. Parents attend the following:
The safety of each YoungWalker is of the highest priority at ANASAZI. Group sizes range between three and eight in size with at least one staff for every three YoungWalkers. Trail staff have radio contact with back-up personnel 24 hours per day. Young Walkers are evaluated weekly by a registered nurse for any health concerns.
High school credits are available to YoungWalkers and Sinagua Walkers who complete the ANASAZI walking. These credits may be of benefit to YoungWalkers who leave school temporarily to come to ANASAZI. ANASAZI’s academic program blends outdoor educational instruction with a traditional curriculum. ANASAZI has selected Blueprint Education as its curriculum provider. The following credits are available:
Each area is treated experientially and evaluated through verbal and written exercises. The experiential vehicle of living and walking on the land helps enhance the student’s ability to retain the information learned for use in subsequent academic settings.
The Academic Packet contains information for parents and guidance counselors. The packet includes information for parents as well as a child’s school. Included are: a letter introducing us to your child’s school, an overview of the academic program, our course descriptions, information on accreditation, information on college credit options and an F.A.Q. sheet.
Click here for complete admissions information.