How Do You Know It Works?
“How do you know it works?” This is one of the most common questions we get in the office from our new families. It isn’t easy to trust someone you’ve never met with your child, and I’d like to share my answer.
Second Nature has a longitudinal study in place, tracking change in participants during and after the program, which has revealed significant improvement. As the study continues, more and more data supports the benefits of wilderness therapy in the populations that attend.
I have been given the gift of seeing more than the numbers. I’ve seen students who, after a few years, have returned as field staff to help other students achieve the same successes. I’ve worked with parents who, after their child leaves wilderness, volunteer to mentor new families through the first few weeks, and are excited to share their stories.
And I’ve watched an all-volunteer core of parents and Second Nature team members launch the Second Nature Alumni Foundation. This organization’s goal is to provide financial support to families in need to attend a Second Nature program as well as assist them in attending the aftercare they chose. No one in the group accepts any form of pay so that more of the funds go directly to care.
Alumni parents John and Julie lost their son Ethan recently, and decided that the impact the wilderness program had on their family had to be shared. To honor him, they created a specific fund within the general fund. The goal of the Ethan Taylor Scholarship Fund is to sponsor at least one young man with an opiate addiction through Second Nature Entrada and into aftercare each year.
So how do I know it works? I can quote the statistics and show you the charts, which make the objective part of my mind confident. I can also tell you that when I see students return to teach, parents reach out to comfort other parents, and families work together to financially support the healing achieved through wilderness in the form of the Foundation, my heart “knows”.