Crane Lake Discovery Camp is built on the concept of therapeutic wilderness camping as originally devised by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, Texas, a charitable organization dedicated to working with at-risk boys and young men, that began operating youth camps in the 1920’s. From its inception, therapeutic camping provided an alternative setting for boys who were struggling with a traditional class-room setting. Therapeutic camping is built on the premise that sharing life in a controlled group environment in the wilderness can have a lasting positive impact on a boy’s or young man’s life. The concept rests on four pillars:
As they work alongside each other, share experiences, address conflict within the group, connect with each other and with counsellors, and make plans and decisions together, campers learn fundamental life skills that help them address challenges in their regular home, school and work environment. In order to address each camper’s unique individual challenges, CLDC team members meet with each camper and his caregivers before camp to define attainable goals to work on during camp. Camp does not end when the camp season wraps up at the end of summer, as CLDC stays connected with campers throughout the year through monthly meetings to talk, play sports and have fun together. Some campers are involved in weekly small group meetings with CLDC team members. Campers also know that CLDC staff members are only a phone call away when they experience a challenge in their daily life and require help.