What about the wildlife…bears?
• Bear awareness is a large part of our program and one of our first courses taught in Base Camp. The certified ‘Bear Awareness’ course taught to the participants better prepares them for a wildlife encounter but more importunately our menu, toiletry habits, washing chores and location are also carefully chosen so as not too create an attractant for wildlife. LNT practices (Leave No Trace Camping) also leaves an area clean with no reason for other than normal wildlife activity.
How many staff or volunteers are there?
• The ideal ratio is one staff/volunteer for each youth in the bush however one staff to two youth is acceptable when no volunteers are available. Beyond the program we use staff or volunteers to manage a ‘Support Camp’ in the nearest Provincial Park Campground to assist with logistics and emergencies. When a group is out local RCMP, Search and Rescue groups, Medical services and Park Wardens are made aware of our initiative and asked for contact privileges.
What do you do if they want out?
• Hike them out and get them back to their support person ASAP.
How do you decide who can participate?
• Our intake application is designed to help us determine the measures needed to successfully support the youth through the program, not to determine eligibility. As a non treatment initiative our focus is to get them in and out safe. One applicant had four criminal charges of arson on his criminal record, we created the boundaries needed to let this youth be on his own, with fire, for four days in the bush.
What kind of food do they eat?
• Most of the youth come to us in poor health so a portion of our application helps us determine any special needs we can prepare for. WYCP is partnered with the Boyle McCauley Dental Clinic for participants to have teeth repaired before their challenge as today’s drug culture creates serious dental concerns. LNT camping coupled with Bear Awareness methods don’t allow for open grilling or frying of foods so most meals are high nutrition freeze dried or precooked with very little canned goods. Meals are prepared by boiling or roasting using single burner stoves, fires are not used for cooking. A cooked breakfast usually consisting of hot cereal with tea or coffee and fruit starts the day, lunch is a predetermined amount of cold snack or finger type food eaten whenever wanted and supper is a full course cooked meal prepared about 4pm or early evening.
Can the youth bring IPODS or cell phones?
• Participants are outfitted from the boots up…..they are asked to bring inner wear only, underwear and T shirts as well as a pair of leisure foot ware. We supply the rest of their gear, toiletries included. Cosmetics, jewels , personal accessories like IPODS or brass knuckles stay home. Religious attire is acceptable provided staff do not feel it is a safety issue.
What about medications?
• AT least one staff member on each Challenge will be certified to dispense medications, we require all medications be kept and administered by staff only.
Can the parents come on the Challenge too?
• Certainly, as long as it is not the same one as their child is on. Part of our intake procedure tries to avoid bonded participants. An example would be two Red Alert gang members would not be allowed or two street friends, or youth from the same school. Part of our approach is to use the fresh peer group bonding process to help ‘back burner’ their addiction issues and give them a chance to start thinking like teenagers again. This is not to say the parents could not help by volunteering in our Support Camp and being available if need be, that is very much appreciated!
How do volunteers fit into WYCP?
• Within the Ten Day Challenge Program volunteers are able to assist the group both directly and indirectly. While in Base Camp four courses are delivered to help prepare for the solos and require most of our daylight hours, camp assistants can make or break the curriculum delivery. As close as possible a Support Camp is established in a Provincial or Private campground to assist in logistics, extractions and emergencies. This camp coordinates with local services and helps avoid interactions with other back country groups or persons. It is a very big part of our contingency plans. Administrative duties are managed by volunteers and as a four year initiative with just one year as a registered charity under our belts the To Do list is quite long, we appreciate support in numerous areas.
Where does the financial support come from?
• Our administrative needs are met through donations and grants while the program is funded through individual sponsorships of $155 per youth for the ten day Challenge. Please refer to our Supports Page for a list of our donors.
How do you know your program is working?
• As a Relapse Prevention initiative our success is measured by the number of youth we get to the start of their treatment relapse free. With a certain number of challenges we will be able to track those numbers and Dr. Michael Smith from Taylor University has been asked to structure a follow up program model for WYCP which will be used next season. Our intake procedure also requests ongoing contact and follow up with both participants and their support persons. Please refer to our Testimonial Page for more information.
Are their any other benefits or objectives?
• Most relapses result in a loss of supports and a high risk lifestyle which is an entry point into community based crime to support an addiction. Relapse prevention reduces the number of petty crimes committed within the community and keeps the safe home the safe home as long as possible by providing a ten day respite for the youths support persons.