You may have heard of the Intercept program and know these expeditions are specifically designed for families with teens struggling at home or in school. Maybe you’ve seen testimonials, other blog posts or have heard from a friend about these wilderness expeditions that focus on communication, conflict resolution and decision-making tools. How do you know if it’s right for your family? It is a big investment, but one that can change your family’s life and way of communicating with each other. We recommend speaking with one of our Intercept specialists who can answer questions, speak of true-life experiences and have a real conversation with you. We asked Seth, an Intercept specialist, to talk about who he is and his role in speaking with families who are interested to take the next step.
Why Speak with an Intercept Specialist?
Why not?! What’s to lose? I am here to help, to learn about your child, what goals you have for the Outward Bound experience and to help you find the right course at the right time for your family. Before we chat on the phone, I wanted to give you a little background on myself and provide some additional information as to why the Intercept program could be a transformative experience for not only your child, but your family as well.
The Making of an Intercept Specialist
To be honest, I was a prime candidate for Intercept in my rebellious teen years. Unfortunately, my parents were not aware that Outward Bound Intercept expeditions existed, let alone Outward Bound. I have a strong connection to the Intercept program, probably due to having been an ideal candidate as my family was wading through the tumultuous times of my teenage years. My perception was that I was obviously an adult at 16. I could dye my hair how I wanted, get piercings if I desired and didn’t care what my parents’ reaction was because I was, after all, a mature adult. I deserved the same freedom of other adults that surrounded me, which in my mind, meant that I didn’t have to listen to anyone. In retrospect, I was very, very wrong in the perception of myself and the world around me. To add to that, I was certainly not as open and honest as I could have been with myself nor my parents, and I regret the lack of respect, honesty and ownership of my actions when growing up.
THIS is why I work with the Intercept program – to help others avoid my same mistakes while trying to figure out where they belong in this thing called life. I relate to teens and young adults who are currently in the situation I was. I understand what it is like to be lost at that stage of life. I know the freedom that is craved, but lack of willingness to put forth the responsibility required to gain the independence, to live up to set expectations, respect others and learn how to accept the support that was desperately needed.
I now know what turmoil I put my family through, so now I do my best to educate others about the impact the Outward Bound Intercept program can have on the students who attend and their families who support them.
The Family Investment
After working with the Intercept program since 2006, I am confident that every family can benefit from participating in one of our Intercept expeditions. Encouraging open and honest communication, defining expectations of each other, demonstrating ownership of one’s actions and being an active part of the family has the potential to go a long way, but everyone needs be invested to make a positive change. This is one of the most impactful components of an Outward Bound Intercept course. It’s just not about the teen – it’s about the family.
I absolutely know that these expeditions come with a price tag. Through locally raised funds, we do the best we can to have as many individuals and families attend Outward Bound expeditions by offering scholarships to those who qualify. Scholarships are income based and families who apply will be required to submit a Scholarship Application and their most recent 1040 Tax Return prior to our decision on financial assistance. The great thing about applying for Financial Aid is if we cannot offer you enough financial assistance and the award is formally declined, we will refund your initial deposit; there is no risk in at least applying.
Wilderness as the Catalyst for Change
Having had the opportunity to speak with thousands of families over the years, the same question tends to come up: “How will being in the woods help my child?” My response is simple: you have to experience it to truly learn it. The wilderness is the perfect setting to experience education; not read about it. I have learned a lot in formal education, but it wasn’t until my first expedition when I was 15 that I truly found out about myself, my potential and how to work in sync with others towards a common goal.
In thinking about what students experience on an expedition, there’s a lot that goes on in those days in the wilderness. To learn the direct consequences of your actions, rely not only on yourself but trust others in your group whom you just met can be a challenge to say the least. As everyone settles into the expedition, taking care of the task at hand, doing what is necessary to stay warm, dry, hydrated and fed, the individual mindset wanes away and the expedition mentality comes into play. Individuals are no longer focused on themselves, but rather looking out for the group and each member’s well-being. This mental transition is not just necessary on the expedition, but is essential in life. These are the skills we help our students bring home with them.
What Defines Success
I also often get asked what the Outward Bound success rate is. The reality is that success is different for every person. It could be climbing a rock face when the thought of being 50 feet in air is unimaginable or potentially living with a group of strangers for weeks on end and they become best friends. Or maybe it is getting up at sunrise on solo and feeling at peace with oneself and realizing that yes, I believe in myself and will continue to be the best I can while helping those around me.
Success takes on different forms with every individual, but when on an expedition, success and failure isn’t just personal, the whole group is part of it. While in the wilderness, everyone looks out for each other, the group is a family going through the good, the bad and the ugly, just like the family back home.
Success is a metric that is difficult to measure, but each person who attends Outward Bound will find their own.
The Lesson of Selflessness
Probably the biggest lesson I have taken to heart in my time at Outward Bound is selflessness. To provide service in the community, which is an integral part of all our expeditions; to help out those who are in need and not solely thinking of oneself; to strive to be the best you can be and not to yield when times get tough, are all lessons that I carry with me every day. This insight was gained while in the wilderness, not in a traditional classroom, and I will continue to live by it each day.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. If you have any questions about our upcoming expeditions, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime at 866-467-7651. If you would like to set up an appointment to speak with me over the phone, please complete one of our Request a Call Forms and we can set up a time. I look forward to speaking with you!
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