The problem we are out to combat…
In today's world, there is an epidemic of low self-esteem amongst adolescents which left unaddressed often leads to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders like drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Not to mention America’s culture of obesity, racial discrimination, cyber bullying and overall unhealthy lifestyle.
The way that a teen feels about themselves directly affects the experiences that they will have in life. It can be extremely difficult to avoid comparing oneself to others when constantly surrounded by the adverse effects of a lifestyle dominated by social media and peer pressure.
As in previous generations, the issues facing today’s youth can have profound effects on how these young people will eventually turn out as they transition to adulthood. It is our responsibility to equip them with the necessary tools and skills to over come adversity to grow into leaders of their community.
Whats happening to the next generation…
Low self-esteem is both a learned behavior and thought pattern. A child is not born questioning it’s worth. As children grow and interact with their environment, they learn and model the behaviors and speech patterns of the people around them. They mimic what they hear and they internalize what they are told. As they enter adolescence, their bodies change and grow, their brains begin a critical and long lasting stage of development, and their feelings and hormones flare and shift rapidly. In summation, adolescence is a period of changes and these changes leave teens vulnerable to the negative thoughts and actions that create low self-esteem.
During adolescence, a teen also begins to shift their sense of identity from their family to their peer group. While a parent is still an important figure in a teens life, they do not hold the power and unchallenged authority they did before. For some parents, this time can be just as confusing and tumultuous as adolescence, and can leave parents as susceptible to low self-esteem as their children. They may attempt to exert their control or influence over their child in a way that is more harmful than helpful, or they may give up completely and act as though they are powerless.
The solution we are out to deliver…
The Adventure Learning Program recognizes the value of integrating the mind, body, and spirit in the practice of self-growth and self-assessment.
People who exercise regularly are generally healthier, happier, and more confident. However, combating low self-esteem, especially amongst adolescents, will require more than just “going for a run.” Any solution to the issue of low self-esteem amongst adolescents must address the mental, spiritual, physical, and familial aspects of the problem. A truly effective solution will combine all aspects in into one. This is what makes the Adventure Learning Program (ALP) unique.
The Adventure Learning program’s philosophy is that properly facilitated physical activities can enable an individual to grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically as well as set a strong foundation for continued development throughout adolescences and into adulthood.
The Adventure Learning Program is based upon a simple concept: that adolescents learn to build self-esteem through setting challenging and healthy goals that they can only be achieved through commitment and perseverance. Mistakes and failures are seen as learning opportunities, teens are encouraged to process their successes and failures to fully understand how their actions and decisions impact their lives.
When an individual’s physical and mental energy are focused on a complex task such as mountain bike riding, rock climbing or yoga, they are not able to hide their internal struggles behind defensive or distracting behavior. Through adventure based learning and experiential education, the Adventure Learning Program instills in them the skills and strategies necessary to make positive decisions for healthy and successful lives. We have found and witness these young individuals can be nurtured and taught tools to become competent community leaders with promising futures.
The Adventure Learning Program is an innovative and exciting way to challenge youth to face fear, build relationships, achieve measurable goals, explore spiritual development, and to develop the self-esteem that comes from completing something that seems nearly impossible. All of this is achieved through mountain biking, fitness programs, yoga, rock climbing, wilderness trips, and other adventure based activities on a year-round basis.
Who helps facilitate change…
A hallmark of the Adventure Learning Program is its commitment to the education of families that low self-esteem, social, mental, and behavioral problems are not only spiritual and mental issues, they are also physical ones. Because a teen’s low self-esteem and other behavioral problems do not occur in a vacuum, meaningful change can only be achieved if the entire family is involved and aware of what the Adventure Learning Program is and how teens are expected to participate.
The Adventure Learning Program’s facilitators and leaders are trained and experienced in helping teens process the mental and spiritual aspects of their problems while also ensuring the teen is performing the physical activity properly and safely.