Experiential Learning

We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.

For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

Experiential learning at SUWS of the Carolinas in Old Fort, NC

The wilderness activities offered at SUWS of the Carolinas provides an opportunity for our students to confront fears and personal issues, allowing him or her to move past them. If our students can learn to cope with the challenges they encounter in the wilderness, it is likely they will be able to cope with the challenges of everyday life.

Experiential learning is a unique process where students gain knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences with the outside world. When faced with the unfamiliar setting of the wilderness, far from the comforts of home, it forces an individual to confront and take responsibility for the issues that brought them there.

From learning first aid to developing basic orienteering and primitive living skills, SUWS students are personally challenged on a daily basis. We allow our students to discover their inner value and strengths by becoming essential, functioning members of a team. SUWS of the Carolina’s treatment program maintains a focus on clinical intervention and assessment. The wilderness setting facilitates the opportunity for experiential learning, or learning by doing, in which the individual learning process is emphasized. Furthermore, the wilderness provides continuous opportunities for students to learn and master age appropriate developmental goals. Guidance through a level system, that uses a Search and Rescue metaphor, promotes character development, assists in identifying core values and guiding principles. Each level has its own set of demands that correspond with developmental benchmarks. Completion of each phase is celebrated with a rite of passage, or ceremony, signifying transition from one stage to another, as from adolescence to adulthood.

The wilderness therapy offered at SUWS was the dynamic solution needed to help my son with his behavioral issues. When my son left SUWS, he was completely changed for the better and also created new bonds and unforgettable memories! I can't recommend SUWS enough for anyone in a similar situation!

– Britney A.
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Cognia
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Forest Service Department of Agriculture
  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Safe Zone
  • Sky's The Limit Fund
  • The Jason Foundation

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