Base Camp is an intensive, adventure-based wilderness program for youth and their families. This program provides support for healing from substance abuse issues that require residential treatment. A safe and structured environment is created for individuals who seek to improve their lives. Base Camp offers an experientially based balance between addiction treatment, traditional school, outdoor education, and community experiences to support youth and families in creating change.

Base Camp is about families who have a commitment to change. Perseverance, cooperation, leadership, self-reliance, and trust are the products of success. Overcoming fear, apathy and personal differences to achieve a common goal teaches individuals in this program respect for others. In the end, the family as a whole adopts a healthier state of being.

Males & Females
Ages: 12 to 17 years
Funded / Accessed by: Alberta Health Services – Addiction and Mental Health (1-403-297-4664)
Academic program provided in partnership with: Alberta Learning and the Calgary Board of Education

If you’d like more information about the program, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please download our Thinking about Wilderness Residential Treatment document. Learn more about wilderness programming by clicking here.

Watch this short video with Olympian and Mental Health advocate Clara Hughes, who recently visited Base Camp to spend some time with staff and clients.

We see whole people.DSC06043

We believe in growth.

We invite healing.

We trust in community.

At Base Camp, these values are much more than words burned into wooden signs on the path. They’re intricately woven into the very fabric of how we operate. They inform how we see the young people that come through the program and our role in helping them find their way back to a healthy path.

Seeing whole people means seeing more than just “addicts”. It means looking for, and helping young people find, the other things that define who they are. Even though they’ve lost pieces of themselves in the process of addiction, the young people and their families that make their way out to Base Camp are remarkably resilient and strong.

Believing in growth engages us and our clients in a process of facilitating change, not forcing it. We believe that given a positive, caring and compassionate environment, everyone will grow into their full potential. Our job as counsellors and youth workers is to provide clients with the opportunity to grow in the direction they’re seeking.

DSC06037We invite healing is a mindset that encourages invitation and reinforces the voluntary nature of the program. Not only will we not force young people to stay in the program, we work really hard to invite them, moment to moment, day to day, into tasks and activities in treatment that are aligned very closely with their healing journey.

Lastly, trusting in community recognizes that everyone has an important role to play in the healing journey. The maintenance coordinator (John) is just as important as the family therapist (Kelly). Youth workers, addiction counsellors, teachers, supervisors…all of us contribute in unique and powerful ways to the treatment of young people and their families.

Interested in hearing more about the program? Listen to the following podcast interviews with Base Camp staff.

Kelly Waters-Radcliffe, R. Psych, Family Therapist

Lisa Arsenault, Program Supervisor

Liam Law, Youth and Family Support Worker and Outcome and Evaluation Lead