Where the wave of moonlight glossesThe dim gray sands with light,Far off by furthest RossesWe foot it all the night,Weaving olden dancesMingling hands and mingling glancesTill the moon has taken flight;To and fro we leapAnd chase the frothy bubbles,While the world is full of troublesAnd anxious in its sleep…
The forest in this section of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains grows tall and thick, as if nothing human has disturbed it for centuries. Those of you who have been in the program for months have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise. There’s nothing but mountain forest rolling around you, blue as the name suggests.
Everyone has a different story of how they got here and why. If you’d read the glossy brochures that your parents had studied, you’d have read that Summit Journeys promises one of the most effective wilderness therapy programs for teens on the East Coast. Treating both boys and girls ages 14 - 17, Summit takes troubled teens who struggle with drug abuse, anxiety, depression, defiance, aggression, low self-esteem, and a host of other challenges and introduces them to a therapeutic natural environment free of the distractions that trap them in a cycle of bad habits and disappointment. The program offers nothing less than life-altering transformation for lost teenage souls.
But you didn’t read those brochures. If you’re like most of the students at Summit, you woke up to two muscular men in your room who informed you that you were coming with them, one way or another. Some of your parents watched you go, even said good-bye. None of them write to you now, though it’s not their fault. Contact with the outside isn’t allowed. You’re here in the mountains with other “at-risk teens,” hiking every day and camping in primitive shelters every night, until the counselors say that you’re better. The only escape comes in your dreams, when alone in your tent you take yourself to a world where you have not been abandoned.
It may be closer than you think.
Come away, O human child!To the waters and the wildWith a faery, hand in hand,For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
– “The Stolen Child,” W.B. Yeats
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