True North Wilderness

Waitsfield, VT 05673
Select a Country



Boys and Girls

Call admissions department for current tuition.

Our Program
True North provides personalized therapeutic interventions and transition support for 14-17 year old adolescents with an emphasis on assessment and family participation. Our length of stay is flexible and determined on an individual basis. The minimum length of stay is 28 days and although students typically do not stay longer than 8 weeks, we customize our services to provide the best possible outcome for each student.

True North students range in age between 14 and 17 years and are accepted into the program year round, seven days per week. Our minimum length of stay is four weeks. Additional time is determined individually and is based on the needs of your family and the recommendations of your child’s course leader (therapist).

True North students are boys and girls ages 14-17 who will benefit from learning to identify limiting beliefs and behaviors while building confidence and identifying new strategies for a successful future. Our students are often bright and talented individuals who may be struggling to find a sense of purpose or maintain consistent success.
True North students may present with:
• Oppositional or defiant behavior
• Problems with school
• Low self-esteem
• Mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety
• Negative peer relationships
• Learning differences including ADHD
• Experimentation with drugs and alcohol
• Dishonest and manipulative behaviors

After honing their camping skills, and establishing open communication within their group, students have the opportunity to venture into the beautiful Breadloaf Wilderness Area, which was the inspiration for Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Less Traveled”, as well as other stunning forest areas in the region. A variety of other expeditions are arranged according to student interest and treatment goals. They may include skiing or snowboarding, dog-sledding, maple sugaring (seasonally), kayaking, horse-back riding, and more. Our goal is to meet students in their present state and help them to reach appropriate and realistic goals regardless of learning style and past experiences.
True North’s base camp area is set on a picturesque hillside retreat, which is located in the mountains above the beautiful Mad River Valley. Here students have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get involved in a number of classic Vermont experiential activities. Whether they are tending to the gardens, orchards, and berry patches in the warm weather or strapping on snowshoes or skis in the winter months, our students will have ample opportunity to discover new and exciting challenges. They are able to see the academic subjects in their curriculum come to life in the environment around them. Geology, ecology, astronomy, biology, physical science, and more are all taught through a hands-on style that is supported by our curriculum.

Therapeutic Process
Our therapeutic process is grounded in the wilderness environment. As students become adept at living and taking care of themselves in the outdoors, they begin to build the confidence and sense of capability that will sustain their learning and emotional growth process. Students use the landscape around them to explore their personal strengths and skills and address limiting behaviors. Life in the backcountry is rich with metaphor and can be a powerful mirror for the struggling adolescent.
Group interaction offers opportunities for leadership, mentoring, and teamwork. At True North, our groups are carefully structured to be a safe and supportive environment for students to practice their relationship and communication skills. Groups are small, with a maximum of six students living and working together with the support of two caring and experienced guides. Students learn to work together in order to successfully manage daily living skills and experiential challenges throughout the program. This valuable training ground encourages our students to establish and maintain healthy and appropriate relationships with others.

Family Participation

Wilderness therapy is as much about supporting healthy families as it is about facilitating the change process in our students. We believe that the particular needs and concerns of families are a critical part of every student’s wilderness experience. Therefore, we have developed a comprehensive family program to ensure that our families receive professional guidance and support throughout their child’s stay at True North.

Wilderness Programs


Navigate The Information Maze!

We help families, who are looking for information on schools and programs nationwide. We help you find the best option for your Child. Get through the maze and get help now!

Get help now!

Troubled Teens help contact form We are happy to assist you in finding the help you need for your troubled teen or struggling child.

Help my troubled teen!

Featured Teen Help Providers

Featured Teen Help Providers

USA Guides - Youth Transport Service