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Wilderness Therapy Programs: How Fishing Helps Facilitate Strategic Thinking

Fishing Skills Through Wilderness Therapy Encourages Strategic Thinking

Wilderness therapy programming is a key element of rehabilitation at Ozarks Teen Challenge.  Our wilderness therapy programs, which move student residents out-of-doors to engage in nature-related activities have been shown to broaden the student’s horizons by taking them out of their comfort zone while experiencing God’s creation in a positive yet challenging situation.

Wilderness therapy programs give student residents the opportunity to develop healthy relationship building abilities, positive personal character qualities, communication skills, life skills and an understanding of how to respect and respond to authority.

Ozarks Teen Challenge, Missouri’s leading Christian boarding school for troubled boys, offers wilderness therapy programs through half-marathon team runs, hiking, camping, sports, mission trips and trout fishing on nearby Table Rock Lake.

Trout Fishing as a Wilderness Therapy Program

While hiking and camping seem to fit the model of wilderness therapy programming as part of teen rehab, teaching the student resident to fetch wood, build a fire and erect a shelter from the elements, fishing, by comparison, may seem like a benign activity, found in a bucolic setting reminiscent of Tom Sawyer with his stick pole and string, catching a few fish while napping the afternoon away.

Not so with trout fishing. Successful trout fishing is actually an activity where the fisherman must outwit and outsmart their swimming prey!

Here at Ozarks Teen Challenge, we use our trout fishing experiences as a time to build mentoring relationships as well as teaching the strategic thinking skills needed to be successful trout fishermen to our students.

Snagging That Elusive Trout

Table Rock Lake, a large recreational lake in the Branson area, affords the student resident the opportunity to learn the nuances of trout fishing such as:

  • Learning to understand underwater currents, sunlight and time of day.
  • Analyzing water temperatures across the lake area to determine where the fish are at any given time.
  • Learning how to choose lures wisely.
  • Understanding the difference between power bait and live bait.

Ozarks Teen Challenge Goal in Using Trout Fishing as Wilderness Therapy

Our goal in using trout fishing as a wilderness therapy program is to encourage and enable the student resident to observe, process and act upon all of the information gathered during a given fishing excursion – strategic thinking –  which will result in successfully catching lake trout.

This activity mirrors the life skills of understanding how to process information to make a wise decision for oneself – again, strategic thinking – which is a necessary skill for returning home after participating in teen rehab.

Ozarks Teen Challenge is a Christian boarding school with rehab treatment for young men with addiction and other social and emotional difficulties.  Our goal is to provide a safe, caring and spiritually sound environment, facilitating not only recovery but also spiritual and academic growth for each student resident.

Contact us today at 417-272-3784 for more information about wilderness therapy and our other programs.

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