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Tuning In: Blue Ridge's Commitment to Evolving through Feedback

Over the years, successful outdoor treatment programs have evolved with the needs of families and students. Blue Ridge maintains a long-standing commitment to listening to these needs while maintaining the integrity of the treatment we provide. As a single owner-operated program, we have the privilege of curating our services to best support families and applying thoroughly considered feedback without sacrificing the quality of the programming we offer. The following are some of the ways in which we have integrated the feedback of our alumni community and referring partners in recent years:

Ages 12-14

Student Experience

We understand that the way students feel about and narrate their experience is critical to their ongoing integration of the emotional and psychological strides they make while in the program. We take a strengths-based approach, empowering students with the information necessary to learn how to make their own wise decisions. Our expert therapists and field staff are always monitoring the milieu, redirecting and offering resolution during difficult emotional moments. Ultimately, students leave the program understanding what it feels like to be listened to, to have their emotions and needs respected, and to experience a great sense of support, interconnection and individual dignity.

In addition to emotional safety, we place great emphasis on students’ physical safety, health and comfort. Students are outfitted with high quality gear, healthy foods, clean drinking water, hygiene products and other necessities. We take great care to facilitate multiple health checks a day and provide psychiatric and medical services whenever necessary.


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Our team remains deeply committed to serving our families through data-driven best practices to provide the best, sustained outcomes. We achieve our mission by emphasizing that Blue Ridge operates as a family intervention. Greater and longer-lasting gains for our students are seen when parents are actively engaged. Our immersive wilderness approach ensures that every action serves both practical and therapeutic purposes. In our model, no time is wasted: first, students learn experientially, and later, they arrive at a cognitive understanding that we know has lasting impacts on their paths into adulthood.

While our programming, curriculum, and practices continue to evolve, what hasn't changed is the experiential wilderness setting where resiliency and self-efficacy can be lived and integrated, often for the first time. Teens and young adults who attend Blue Ridge are able to make great strides towards a sense of accountability, adaptability, agency, regulation and resilience.

Our Model


Clinical Integration

We have further increased our clinical sophistication and focus on customer service since Danielle Hava, LCSW became Executive Director of Blue Ridge in 2021. With Danielle at the helm, we have remained true to our vision of ensuring seamless clinical integration between our field teams and therapists to provide the most effective assessment and comprehensive treatment for our students and their families.

We have also included a more robust and intensive psychological and psychiatric assessment process as part of our initial enrollment. Each student receives a psychiatric assessment, a battery of psychological assessments, and a medical assessment on the front end of their treatment to ensure that the treatment team receives the most comprehensive and recent information.



Family Involvement and Window to Student Life

At Blue Ridge, every family is assigned a tight knit team including the Primary Therapist, Family Therapist who works with the parents, and the Student Care Coordinator. The Student care coordinator is a really involved and connected role than what once was our Parent Coordinator. Their primary job is to be the window into the students' experience and bring that to life for their parents to see.

Student care Coordinators spend time in the group every week taking videos and photos of fun activities as well as the daily routine. They take videos of field staff and students talking about what they are doing that day. As they spend time with each group, they are able to learn all about students’ special interests, and incorporate their passions into weekly activities, cooking classes and art projects.

This role has helped parents contextualize and visualize their child’s experience, enhancing visibility and diminishing mystery or fear. We find it brings comfort to parents who desire to have more connection with their child while in the program. This dynamic maintains the therapeutic value of the space wilderness provides while offering more comprehensive communication from our program to parents and referring partners so they can really see and feel the value of our programming.


Family and Alumni Support

There is so much access to conflicting information today, and we have seen a huge increase in overwhelm and decision paralysis amongst our students and their parents. Parents can become so overwhelmed by some of the negative social media stories, which are often propagated by a small population of individuals who have never attended our program, that they stop looking at the reality and high risk nature of their loved one’s current behavior and the underlying issues that are driving those behavior patterns.

Our goal is that parents feel confident in their decision and supported from the very first phone call. We understand the gravity of the decision to send a child to treatment, and we want to help families with the daunting process as much as we can. That is why we assign every family with a tight-knit support team immediately upon enrollment.

Early in the admissions process, throughout their time in the program, and as program alumni, parents are offered multiple opportunities to connect with program alumni who have already navigated certain aspects of the treatment process. Through a robust network of alumni parent references and mentors, families are able to connect to real people who have been through the unique and difficult experience of sending a child to treatment. They can receive individual mentorship from alumni parents, join weekly and monthly calls with Family Therapists, and participate in our very active private Facebook group for parents.

Family Involvement

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Opportunities to Dive Deeper and to “Sample” Wilderness Therapy

In addition to our traditional programming and family intensives, we have added a shorter-term program called Precision Track. This program can be useful for individuals and/or families as either a standalone experience, or as a precursor to a wilderness stay.

Lasting anywhere from 2-14 days, our Precision Track is a highly customized experience for either a student or student and their family. The program is clinically overseen by an experienced, licensed Blue Ridge therapist who provides sessions and assignments which are integrated into the experience, supported by two experienced field instructors. Precision Track can be a solution to meet the needs of a family who may struggle to commit to the length and depth of traditional wilderness.

Precision Track

Clinical Assessments

Alumni Relations

We are invested in remaining connected to Blue Ridge families through social media, parent support groups, visits with families at the office, feedback surveys, and our amazing alumni network. Our Alumni Relations Coordinator helps us to remain engaged with those who matter most, and our Returning Student Mentor program is as busy as it’s ever been.

We stay connected with Blue Ridge Alumni through monthly family calls which are facilitated by a licensed therapist on the Blue Ridge family team. Alumni are also able to receive continued access to Blue Ridge therapeutic resources, videos and assignments on the Blue Ridge Pathway website.

To learn more about the Blue Ridge alumni network, visit our website or reach out to

Alumni Network

Blue Ridge Pathway


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Daily Operations and Leadership: A message from Executive Director, Danielle Hava, LCSW

“Dan and I take great pride in being heavily involved in the day-to-day operations at Blue Ridge. We’re here on-site every week, connecting with each therapist and field staff member during their weekly inservice trainings, problem-solving with the field and logistics teams, and touching base with parents and students as they enroll, visit, and transition to their next steps. We are involved in even the most minute details of the day to day operations, and we believe this is what elevates us from being a 'good' program to becoming a great one.

We talk every single day with each other and our managers, therapists, and field staff about the things we can be doing better. Whether it’s the type of fruit we are putting in restock next week, the quality of gear, the activities we are bringing to the field, the colors and quality of the shirts we are buying this spring, the communication going out to parents if there is inclement weather, every detail matters to us.”

Meet our team

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Reach out to us

Since 2002, our wilderness therapy programs have provided life-changing opportunities for struggling teens and young adults. As a privately-owned and owner-operated program, Blue Ridge Wilderness possesses the capacity to dedicate resources towards the curation of highly personalized, client-centric programming.

Our approach integrates an initial, thorough assessment, holistic wellness strategies, and tailored wilderness-based therapeutic interventions. These elements collectively serve to empower adolescents, young adults, and their families with the essential skills required to effectively address the complexities associated with conditions such as anxiety, depression, family conflicts, and other related challenges.

Contact Us

Call 888-914-1050