ECKERD YOUTH ALTERNATIVES
Eckerd Youth Alternatives provides a unique wilderness experiential education for at-risk youth. In the Eckerd Wilderness Educational System, youth counselors, called "chiefs," live five days a week, 24 hours a day, outdoors with groups of about 10 kids, ages 10 to 17, who have been referred to the program for a variety of behavioral issues. The groups live in large cloth and timber tents that they themselves build and maintain. Through daily outdoor living and experiences like backpacking trips and canoe expeditions, the campers learn how to interact with the counselors and each other. The program enhances their self-esteem and helps them develop the communication, decision-making, social interaction and academic skills needed to succeed in society.
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