Because Every Child Deserves the Opportunity to Succeed
Eckerd Youth Alternatives is the nation’s leading non-profit provider of outdoor therapeutic programs for troubled youth, with 18 year-round residential outdoor programs throughout Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire for troubled boys and girls ages 10-17.
Since 1968, Eckerd programs have combined a fully accredited educational component with group and individual counseling and adventure activities in a nurturing, positive environment.
Building skills, celebrating success daily
In addition to helping your child improve academically, the outdoor treatment program will help your child develop skills in planning, scheduling time, setting daily goals, and evaluating and celebrating daily successes as he or she learns the natural consequences of behavior. Youth live, grow and learn in a stimulating, activity-rich environment with a strong, positive small group culture with trained counselors in rural settings. Our programs focus on building self-confidence, developing respect for self and others, accepting personal responsibility and making good decisions.
Throughout each day your child will benefit therapeutically and educationally as he or she participates in each activity. A natural environment produces a quiet, serene atmosphere to help your child examine the behavior that has caused him or her problems. The setting is free from congestion, noise, old “buddies” and passive entertainment. Your child will live in a group setting with other youth at a campsite.
Family-Style Small Groups
Each campsite has several pole-framed, cabin-like structures built on a wooden floor, which may be casually referred to as tents.” Most residents will help design and build at least one shelter during their stay. All members of the group help to keep the campsite clean and safe. A structured routine for wake-up, chores, mealtimes, bathing, evaluation and bedtime will help your child develop an organized internal approach to time management, logical thinking and problem solving.
Routines are balanced by allowing groups to plan many of their own activities and to respond to spontaneous opportunities. Adventure activities include backpacking and canoe trips, which campers help plan, and high and low ropes course activities.
Every program provides an on-campus school that is fully licensed by the appropriate state education authorities and is regionally accredited. At Eckerd Youth Alternatives, learning is not limited to traditional classroom hours but integrated into all activities through experiential education: learning by doing and taking advantage of the teachable moment.
Substance abuse treatment is available at some locations.