At WYCP we offer two Wilderness Youth Challenge Programs.
Each youth participant can take the 5 day Challenge or a 10 day Wilderness Challenge Program.
Each Challenge is set in a wilderness environment to impart basic life skills as each youth participant is trained and outfitted to spend overnights alone in their solo camps.
During this solo time the youth participant is required to complete a core curriculum with set outcomes that support positive decision making skills and relapse prevention.
Small groups of four to six youth with support from volunteers and staff use public access areas in various locations around the Province of Alberta. When each youth participant is working their Wilderness Program, our volunteer team is out of their sight but within rescue or distress assistance 24 hours per day. Every location is equipped with radios and protective gear.
Aspects of the core curriculum:
Day one is focused on Leave No Trace principles and Wilderness First Aid workshops. These learning sessions will teach basic first aid in the wilderness and how Leave No Trace principles can actually help to avoid personal injuries in the wilderness and protect the environment by doing so.
Day two combines what has been learnt with Leave No Trace with Predator Awareness by Habitat to teach the youth participant how to use common predator deterrents but focus on learning the predators habitat and being aware of their surroundings. The practices of this training on day two will help the youth participant to avoid a predator rather than try to confront one but have confidence in their skills and training should they need to use them.
Day three combines the Leave No Trace practices with a Fire, Water and Shelter Site workshop where the youth participant learns site selection and maintenance while adhering to the same principals used in the base camp.
Day four is used to reinforce previous workshops, in particular the practices they will need to perform while alone in their solo camps. A series of still pictures record the site before and after the youth participant have used it for their four day solo camp and every site requires a 100% reclamation effort before the youth participant is allowed to return to the base camp.
Day five the youth participant repack their kits and the volunteer team assists them to their solo areas. Each youth is allowed approximately one square kilometer and given instruction to not go beyond sight of their tent while on their solo. The youth participant is equipped with a fail-safe flag at the entry to their solo area to indicate when help is required.
Day six to ten, the youth participant has more additional challenges and more solo training days.
Every day, the youth participant is presented with additional challenges to complete for their Graduation. They are responsible for practicing their training techniques, the safety and well being of their person and ensuring that they leave the wilderness and environment as they found it.