Youth in treatment at the Portage Elora drug rehabilitation centre are encouraged to enjoy the great outdoors and to push their limits through the Outward Bound Program. The Portage Outward Bound Summer Camp Program provides a safe and caring environment where the youth can focus on the underlying issues of their addiction.
This summer, residents enjoyed many day trips to nearby Grand River and Bellwood Lake, as well as numerous on-site Outward Bound activities such as rock-climbing, canoeing, hiking, swimming, map and compass navigation, and solo reflection time. The program also offered residents the opportunity to experience a several night trip in the wilderness of Algonquin Park, where participants confronted physical and mental challenges and learned they are capable of more than they believed possible.
Portage Elora’s Outward Bound Coordinator worked with the youth and the Portage clinical team to provide a supportive and focused environment throughout these trips. Open communication, taking responsibility for one’s actions, effective problem solving, and teamwork were themes explored during the camp. At the end of the trips, the youth felt pleased with their achievements, sure of their new friendships, and optimistic about their futures.
Here’s what one participant had to say about the program:
“I had a great time this summer. We did a lot of canoeing and portaging. We also set up tents, set up fires, and cooked over the fire; we prepared the meals and did dishes. Being outdoors was good. I am used to being outdoors, so I liked it. I also learned how to survive on my own in the forest. Our guides taught us survival techniques and I learned how to live off the forest. I liked being by myself in nature too. I was also able to share my skills. I taught other campers about the quickest way to start a fire, and set up a tent. I also taught them the trucker’s hitch knot. It was a learning experience for everyone. I practised my leadership skills on trip. I got closer to people too. I learned about where they are from and stuff. I had some pretty cool guides who were extremely knowledgeable. I saw a woodpecker and Matt knew exactly what kind it was, and he shared his birding book with me.”