Affordable Wilderness Therapy Alternative

Looking for an affordable alternative to Wilderness Therapy? Wilderness Therapy can be very effective and is a great first step for certain issues, but it is cost prohibitive for most.  It’s important to understand that Summerland Camps is a different type of program than Wilderness Therapy.  We serve campers that need to change their technology use habits, attitudes, and behaviors.  We do not serve campers with serious mental health issues.  Our campers tend to be bright, academically capable, but may have minor attention or socialization issues.  Most of our campers are college-bound.

We do not accept aggressive campers, nor do we accept campers with current drug addictions that would be a negative influence to our community.  Wilderness Therapy can be appropriate for certain types of issues.  At Summerland we don’t view your child as “broken.”  We believe that the behavioral change process is most effective when presented in a positive, uplifting way.


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 what would pose a danger to others or potentially teach other campers worse behaviors.  For many families, that makes Summerland Camps the right fit.

Anger, Defiance, and Social Withdraw are the most common co-occurring issues we work with at camp.

Campers we serve may have issues with poor socialization skills, anger, and defiance.  We can help campers learn new strategies through behavioral coaching to improve their lives in a positive way, and in a much less restrictive and punitive environment.

We also provide the inter-dependent group format which makes Wilderness Therapy so effective for certain types of campers.  We do this by providing team challenge activities where campers must socialize and interact to achieve a common goal.

Summerland Camps Versus “Typical” Wilderness Therapy Comparison:

Summerland Camps:
4 weeks of camp tuition, no enrollment fee under $10,000
Typical Camper's Severity of Issues: Low
Minimum Stay: 2 Weeks
Communication with Parents (weekly calls)

Summerland Camps offers sessions ranging from 2 to 9 weeks.  You are free to sign up for 2 weeks then extend- no 6 week commitment necessary.  We are so confident you will love the program that we offer 2 week sessions knowing that the majority of families will extend their child’s stay.  Further, at Summerland Camps we don’t add on 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 - $15,000 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.

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 800-365-0556.  We would be happy to learn about your child and give you the guidance you need to make the best decision..