Christian Wilderness Therapy Program Alternative

We are a Christian Wilderness Therapy Program alternative. Summerland Camps is a science-based, clinically sophisticated program administered in a setting characterized by traditional Christian values.

We uphold values common to the Christian faith which are also shared by many, if not all, major religions.

Christian Wilderness Therapy Values

At the Summerland Christian Wilderness Therapy alternative program, we create a supportive community that values positive virtues including:

  • Family
  • Community
  • Personal responsibility
  • Self-Control
  • Kindness
  • Patience

We accept and commonly serve campers from a variety of religious backgrounds. Further, we do not seek to convert our campers or indoctrinate them into any religion. Prayer and Bible study are not part of the Summerland curriculum.

Who We Serve

It’s important to know that Summerland Camps focuses on serving campers who primarily need to change their technology use habits (video game or social media overuse primarily), improve self-esteem, increase social skills, and improve their attitudes and behaviors. Therefore, our methodology addresses executive functioning skills and self-regulation skills using a variety of techniques including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

We serve campers ages 12-21, male and female, from all religious and ethnic backgrounds. We utilize research-backed interventions in a supportive, Christian-like wilderness therapy setting.

Who We Do Not Serve

Summerland Camps do not serve campers with serious mental health issues.  Our campers tend to be bright, and academically capable but may have attention-deficit (ADD/ADHD) or socialization issues.  Most of our campers are college-bound.

At Summerland, we do not accept campers who are extremely resistant to attending. Many, if not most of our campers are anxious or reluctant to attend. We only require that campers are willing to give it a try. We do not accept campers that present a runaway risk or that need to be brought to the program by therapeutic transport (ie, transported against their will). We believe this approach is counter-productive to the therapeutic process in many if not most, situations.

We offer campers practical skills, guidance, and insight-developing opportunities they need to change for the better.  However, we do it in a super fun, 100% positive atmosphere.  At Summerland Camps, we also don’t accept campers who would pose a danger to others or potentially teach other campers worse behaviors.  For many families, that makes Summerland Camps the right fit.

Is Summerland the Right Fit?

For some campers, Summerland Camps is the way to go; for others, Wilderness Therapy will be a better fit.  We can help you determine the best first step and are happy to refer you to the best program for your child.

To determine if Summerland Camps are the right fit, give us a call at (800) 867-2090. We would be happy to learn about your child and give you the guidance you need to make the best decision.

Summerland Camps Versus “Typical” Wilderness Therapy Comparison:

Summerland Camps:
3 weeks of camp tuition, no enrollment fee under $10,995
Typical Camper's Severity of Issues: Low
Minimum Stay: 1 Week
Communication with Parents (weekly calls)

Summerland Camps offers sessions from 1 week to 7 weeks.  You are free to sign up for 1 week and then extend it to 6-weeks, commitment is necessary.  We are so confident you will love the program that we offer 1 week sessions knowing that most families will extend their child’s stay.  Further, at Summerland Camps, we don’t add hidden fees like “enrollment fees” or “gear fees.”  The price listed is what you pay, and don’t make parents pay extra for the parent workshop.  We also don’t accept campers with higher-level issues that could potentially expose campers to worse problems.

Wilderness Therapy:
Approximate Cost - $21,450 for 4 weeks typical, family workshop extra, enrollment fee extra
Typical Camper's Severity of Issues: High
Minimum Stay: 6 to 12 Weeks Typical
Communication with Parents (no phone calls typical)

Wilderness Therapy programs typically have a “no communication” policy other than letter writing to the parents.  We see little therapeutic value in severing communication between the camper and their family.  We encourage our campers to check in with their parents weekly to update them on the awesome activities they are participating in and the new friends they are making.

There are times however when Wilderness Therapy can be a better fit.  For campers with drug addictions, a pattern of violent tendencies, or disregard for the rights of others – an intensive wilderness program or locked program is going to be a better fit, in part because they would be inappropriate for Summerland Camps.

Traditional Values for Modern Times

At Summerland Camps, our Christian values backdrop incorporates fundamentals common to many religions. These include:

  1. The Golden Rule / Law of Reciprocity – The cornerstone of religious understanding. “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” – Christianity
  2. Honor Thy Father and Mother – Knowing them is the key to knowing ourselves. The day will come when we shall wish we had known them better.
  3. You Reap What You Sow – This is the great mystery of human life. Aware or unaware, all are ruled by this inevitable law of nature.
  4. Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone – Gaming and social media or other screen-based activity alone is no way to live your life. To truly live, you need to take full advantage of the world around you.
  5. Do No Harm – If someone tries to hurt another, it means that she is perceiving that person as something separate and foreign from herself.
  6. Forgiveness – The most beautiful thing a man can do is to forgive wrong. – Judaism
  7. Be Slow to Anger – Anger clouds the mind in the very moments when clarity and objectivity are needed most. “He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; others only hold the reins.” – Buddha

Christian Approach to Wilderness Therapy

At the core of Summerland Camps is the belief in the transformative power of self-regulation while participating in adventure-based activities in nature. Participants are immersed in the pristine wilderness, providing a serene and reflective backdrop for self-discovery. The natural environment becomes a classroom, where individuals learn valuable life skills, resilience, and the importance of teamwork.

Christian Values Integrated into Therapy

What sets Summerland Camps apart is its commitment to integrating Christian values into the therapeutic process. Experienced counselors administer our science-based curriculum in our family-like community setting. Community members share in responsibilities from setting up tents to cooking, cleaning, and activity planning. Campers learn to consider the feelings of others and learn to care for one another in a supportive, nurturing environment.

Community Rooted in Faith

Summerland Camps cultivate a supportive community where participants share their journey with peers who have similar values. The Christian foundation creates a sense of unity and understanding, allowing individuals to explore and strengthen their faith together. Group activities, discussions, and reflections are infused with Christian values, fostering a supportive community that is instrumental in the healing process.

Personal Development and Spiritual Renewal

The program at Summerland Camps is designed to promote personal development and spiritual renewal. Through a combination of wilderness challenges and therapeutic interventions, participants embark on a holistic journey that addresses mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The goal is not just to navigate the wilderness but also to navigate life’s challenges with a newfound sense of purpose and faith.

It’s important to reiterate that while we do consider Summerland to have a Christian backdrop, we do not seek to indoctrinate campers into any religion. We do not pray or teach bible lessons as part of the program, although campers are free to discuss spiritual issues as appropriate with staff individually. Many campers at Summerland are of different religions and our program works equally well for people of all religions, genders, and ethnicities.