Adventure-Based Therapy

students summit pictureAdventure Expeditions

Adventure expeditions take students out of their comfort zone and familiar environments by immersing them in unfamiliar backcountry settings. Through a series of activities or tasks that are demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally, students quickly learn that old ways of coping are ineffective when pitted against the challenges and consequences of nature.

The Result

Through the shared experiences on expeditions, students build relationships with staff and fellow students. Working together to overcome obstacles builds trust and provides the emotional safety needed for students to feel comfortable sharing their story and their feelings. This emotional safety also creates an environment in which students are more open to hearing criticism and feedback about their behavior, choices, or treatment of others.

Behavior patterns are revealed and interrupted, presenting students with an opportunity to utilize their strengths for group problem solving. These efforts help students learn leadership, determination and perseverance, teamwork and cooperation. Through personal and group achievement, self-esteem and confidence are increased, belief in one’s own abilities is enhanced, and interpersonal skills strengthened.


Expeditions, conducted Thursday through Sunday, take into consideration therapeutic goals, physical abilities of the students, and weather conditions. During each weekly expedition students participate in different outdoor adventure activities that are season appropriate. These can include, but are not limited to:relaxed lake camp (1)

  • Backcountry Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Canoeing
  • Swimming

Students on expedition also master a variety of outdoor living skills, including camp craft, navigational skills, and backcountry safety.

In winter, heated shelters and cabins in and around the White Mountain National Forest offer protection from severe weather, allowing students to participate in meaningful and safe expeditions throughout the year.

Expeditions and adventure activities at Summit are not a survival ordeal. Students are given the best clothing, gear, and equipment available in order to make the experience as comfortable as possible, while retaining a reasonable level of challenge. The food, which is top notch for backcountry cooking, is nutritious and filling.

Learn more about our commitment to safety