WinGate Wilderness Kanab, UT: Boot Camp for Troubled Youth

Last Updated: April 27, 2023

Authored by Dr. Ahmed Zayed

WinGate Wilderness Therapy Utah: A Comprehensive Overview

Wingate Wilderness Therapy is a private, owner-operated treatment program specially designed for troubled youths between the ages of 13 to 17 years. The center was founded in 2008 and has treated thousands of youth for various issues such as grief and loss, drug addiction, personality disorder, co-occurring disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and others. 

Its life-changing outdoor treatment program is conducted in a safe, serene, and nurturing environment where youths can find hope, healing, and support for mental health. The state-licensed center combines the outdoor experience of a real-life wilderness with evidence-based therapeutic practices known to yield maximum results. The sole purpose of boot camp Utah is to bring families back together and to foster harmony, balance, and understanding by unearthing the causes of resistance and lack of responsiveness. The synergistic approach used in the treatment essentially combines the out-of-the-norm experience of life in the wilderness with unique practices that rekindle the bond with family. This is particularly helpful in situations of family crisis and lack of effective communication. 

The clinical team is highly trained in managing the most advanced and complex mental health cases. They work closely with clients to improve the status of relationships and communication with peers and family. On a weekly basis, there is family counseling and therapy. Activities are mostly held at a distant outdoor location where no distractions exist, allowing clients to focus strictly on themselves and their healing. An essential part of the process is learning to live in the wilderness by “making something out of what you have” This includes learning to make arts and crafts, reading books, and connecting with peers and counselors in the wilderness and in the absence of technology. There are “hiking days,” basically setting out into the open space to set up camp in a conducive area. Hikes may vary in length, depending on the capacity of the members and the weather. 

Wingate Wilderness offers rehab programs for adolescents between the ages of 13 to 17 and an expanse program for young adults and adults between the ages of 18 to 28. 

A former patient of the program filed a lawsuit against the center. However, the case was closed in 2021. Here are the details.

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Housing and Food at WinGate Wilderness Therapy

The boot camp for troubled youth is strategically located in Kanab, Utah. The setting makes for the perfect place for adventure. The camp-style rehab situation is completely mobile, meaning that campers may leave the actual facility with moderate camping bags and equipment and head out in search of new places to camp on every given day. Camping tents and sleeping bags are set up to provide a small cozy space to hang out for some time. 

Meals are packed in boxes or wrapped. In many cases, meals are made with a campfire through teamwork with guidance from clinical professionals that ensure that clients work with a set program.  

Treatment Options

The kinetically engaging treatment options inclusive of environment and proven therapeutic principles results in long-term changes. 

Conditions and substances treated at the center include:

Treatment categories include:

  • Youth wilderness camps
  • Programs for teens
  • Residential treatment 
  • Bootcamps alternative
  • Group homes alternative
  • Boys boarding schools
  • Girls boarding schools
  • Therapeutic boarding schools

Therapies at WinGate Wilderness

Therapies offered at the center include:

WinGate Wilderness Payment Options

Contact the rehab facility for a comprehensive list of payment methods as well as insurance plans supported, if any.

License and Accreditation

Wilderness Therapy Utah is a National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) member. It is also licensed and recognized by the Utah department of human services and Arbinger Institute. 

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WinGate Wilderness Advantages and Amenities

Wingate Wilderness Therapy utilizes the AWE (Actual Wilderness Experience) program, where the environment plays a significant role in the therapeutic process. This Utah rehab program has numerous advantages outside of conventional rehabilitation methods. It is a more disruptive approach that is designed to place the client in a real-life situation where they can face their fears and conquer them. It removes all distractions in normal day-to-day life, allowing the students to go through deep self-evaluation and find themselves. Professional clinicians offer their support to help students gain clarity, providing them with counseling and tools to deal with their experiences. The heart of nature is one of the most effective places to build physical, mental, and spiritual strength. On-site activities available include hiking, physical fitness, fishing, and adventure outings.

Staff at the Facility

The staff at Wingate Therapy comprises wilderness therapists and industry leaders with a passion for mental health and who have over 30 years of experience in the field, so parents can rest assured that their kids are in great hands. 

Here are a few prominent staff at the camp:

  • Chris Tarver, LCSW (Executive Director)
  • Erin Grover, LCSW, MSW, TRS, CTRS, SEP (Clinical Director)
  • Scott Hess, MA, LMFT (Primary Therapist)
  • David Saldana, MSW, CSW (Primary Therapist)

WinGate Wilderness Therapy Promise 

Students of Wingate wilderness are given a powerful and transformative experience. Many of the youths come to the facility with a disconnection from what they truly want for themselves and are affected by their experiences and decisions in some cases. The wilderness experience saved many lives and continues to do so as personalities and healthy behaviors are forged through the uniqueness of this experience. The experience promises to help clients discover their true purpose in life and find the path to where they want to be. This single encounter marks a change in the client’s perception of life while listening to the experiences of others who are also battling obstacles in their lives. Therapy sessions in the alfresco settings help students to piece together what is missing from their lives and how to take their lives back from depression, addiction, fear, anxiety, frustration, and other co-occurring disorders. It is said that nature is the most optimal setting for therapy as it alters disruptive patterns physically, mentally, and emotionally. Wingate Wilderness leverages the power of nature to replicate this curative sequence with engaging activities and therapy.

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Published on: April 27th, 2023

Updated on: April 27th, 2023

About Author

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed has degrees in Medicine and Surgery and is a graduate of The University of Alexandria. Dr. Ahmed Zayed has a passion for writing medical and healthcare articles and focuses on providing engaging and trustworthy information to readers.


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