Wilderness School Policies

Age Requirement
Bad Behavior (while in the Field)
Court History
Drugs and Alcohol
Emotional Safety
Medical Examination
Medical and Health Restrictions
Non-Compliance
Non-Prescription Medications
Orientation
Prescription Medications
Psychiatric History
Psychiatric Restrictions
Severe Emotional Disturbance
Sexual Activity
Sexual and/or Violent Offense
Smoking / Tobacco Products
Student Removal
Violence and Threatening Behavior
Voluntary Participation
Weight Requirement

Violations of Wilderness School Behavioral Policies require intervention from program staff and removal from proximity to other students while a determination is made whether the student shall be allowed to continue participating in the program.

Age Requirement

Applicants must be between the ages of thirteen and seventeen years old to attend an Expedition. Applicants sixteen to twenty-one years of age may attend specific programs designed for older adolescents. Applicants must be judged developmentally appropriate during the Pre-Enrollment Interview and student Orientation in order to participate in the program.

Background of Sexual and/or Violent Offenses

Applicants who have a history of sexual offenses, sexually inappropriate behaviors, physical violence, or threats with a weapon must provide all documentation required by the Wilderness School for program participation. Applicants with sexual offenses or serious violent offenses within the previous six (6) months will not be accepted.

Court History

An applicant’s history of court or police contact must be disclosed to the Wilderness School in order to be considered for the program. Applicants with court records must successfully address any criminal history via required background documentation required by the Wilderness School in order to participate in the program.

Field Related Behavioral Policies

Students will be removed from proximity to Wilderness School 20-Day and 5-Day Expeditions when violations of behavioral policies or program expectations make continued participation physically or emotionally unsafe for any student or staff.

If field interventions by program staff result in a student being removed and sent home from the course, students will be returned to the Wilderness School base camp and will require transportation home by the agency or family at the first opportunity.

Violations of Wilderness School Behavioral Policies require intervention from program staff and removal from proximity to other students while a determination is made whether the student shall be allowed to continue participating in the program.

Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with program policies, procedures, expectations, or staff directions or requests in a deliberate, repetitive manner will result in removal from the course activity and group participation, with contact made with the Referring Agency and/or family.

Violence and Threatening Behavior

Violent or threatening behavior will result in the student’s removal from the course activity and group participation, with contact made with the Referring Agency and/or family.

Severe Emotional Disturbance

When a student’s actions present a reasonably assured risk of harm to self or others, the student will be removed from the course and care of the student will be relinquished to an emergency medical service, an M.D., parent or family, or Referring Agent.

Emotional Safety

Intentional, repetitive actions (verbal or physical) that result in emotional distress or intimidation of a persistent nature will result in removal from the course activity and group participation, with contact made with the Referring Agency and/or family.

Sexual Activity

Engaging in or being suspected of sexual activity will result in removal from the course activity and group participation, with contact made with the Referring Agency and/or family.

Drugs and Alcohol

Using or being suspected of using drugs or alcohol will result in removal from the course activity and group participation, with contact made with the Referring Agency and/or family.

No Smoking

There is no smoking or use of tobacco products at the Wilderness School.

Weight Requirement

Applicants must weigh a minimum of eighty-five (85) pounds in order to participate in the Wilderness School program.

Medical Examination

Applicants must be in good physical health and must be able to pass a Doctor’s physical examination within one year of the course starting date. Applicants whose medical examination or medical history report indicates a cause for concern may be required to update the Doctor’s physical examination prior to participation in the program. PPD Skin Test readings must occur prior to the applicant’s course start.

Medical and Health Restrictions

Applicants with medical and health histories that may present problems on a 20-Day or 5-Day Expedition Program may attend the Wilderness School upon successful completion of the enrollment process. Medical and health histories must be disclosed to the Enrollment Office staff for review by appropriate program personnel.

  • Applicants with back problems, seizure disorders or other physical difficulties are not eliminated from consideration but must have a Doctor’s written support for participation in the program.
  • Applicants with diagnoses of asthma are required to bring all prescribed inhalers as well as one unused back-up inhaler for each prescription.
  • Applicants with morbid obesity or addictions to alcohol, drugs or nicotine may not be appropriate for the program and may be placed in a pool of high risk applicants at the discretion of the Director or a designate.
  • Applicants with bedwetting problems are not appropriate for the program.
  • Applicants who require medication needing refrigeration or delivery via a nebulizer are restricted from attending any Wilderness School course where activities may occur in a remote, non-electric setting Restrictions also include any specialized equipment that requires waterproof packaging or which may not reasonably be carried in a backpack without risk of damage.
  • Applicants who require frequent blood monitoring may not be appropriate for a Wilderness School Expedition.
  • Applicants with medical conditions that can be identified by medic alert tags or bracelets are required to wear them when participating in Wilderness School activities.
Prescription Medications
  • All prescription medications must be accompanied by a written Doctor’s order on the Physician's Medical Examination Form. Students must be considered appropriate for self-administration of medications and must have Doctor’s approval for this.
  • Program safety considerations and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health Youth Camp Regulations require limiting the volume of student medications present on Expedition programs. Students with large volumes of medications may be placed on a waiting list to ensure compliance with program limitations on medication volume per course.
  • All medications must arrive at the Wilderness School in original prescription containers and have a current prescription label attached. Medications must be delivered to the Wilderness School ninety-six (96) hours prior to the course start.
  • Applicants who have begun or discontinued psychiatric medication are required to wait at least twenty-one (21) days prior to participation in the 20-Day or 5-Day Expedition unless Doctor’s orders indicate otherwise.
Non-Prescription Medications
  • All non-prescription medications accompanying the student on the course, including vitamin supplements and homeopathic treatments, must be accompanied by a written Doctor’s order on the Physician's Medical Examination Form. Students must be considered appropriate for self-administration of medications and must have Doctor’s approval for this.
  • Medications must arrive at the Wilderness School in original purchased containers and have intact, complete labeling for ingredients, directions, and precautions.This must occur ninety-six (96) hours prior to the course start.
  • Prior approval must be made on the Consent and Waiver Form or DCF Consent and Waiver Form by a parent or legal guardian and on the Physician’s Standing Orders Form by the student’s Doctor for any non-prescription medication that may be administered on Wilderness School programs.
  • Program safety considerations and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health Youth Camp Regulations require limiting the volume of student non prescription medications present on Expedition programs. Students with large volumes of non-prescription medications may be placed on a waiting list to ensure compliance with program limitations on medication volume per course.
Orientation

All prospective 20-Day Expedition students are required to attend a half-day Orientation session at the Wilderness School . 5-Day Expedition applicants may be required to attend an Orientation based on the discretion of the Wilderness School.

Wilderness School applicants may also be required to participate in a Program Interview based on the discretion of Wilderness School staff when prospective students demonstrate problematic behaviors during Orientation functions.

Special Reviews: Applicants who have Application Materials that have not been accepted may be offered the opportunity for a special review by the Wilderness School Director or a designate in which the applicant receives an additional interview designed to review his or her application to the Wilderness School. Failure to complete the special review successfully will prohibit participation in the program.

Pre-Screening Requirements

Referring Agencies are responsible to conduct an initial telephone pre-screening with the Wilderness School Enrollment Office.This pre-screening will determine the applicant’s ability to meet the admissions policy requirements of the program.

Psychiatric History

Applicants with histories of psychiatric illness may attend the Wilderness School upon acceptance of all Application Materials by the Wilderness School Enrollment Office and successful completion of an Orientation Program as required under the supervision of program staff. Psychiatric diagnoses must be disclosed to Enrollment Office staff for review by appropriate program personnel.

Psychiatric Restrictions
  • Applicants who require direct clinical supervision are not appropriate for the Wilderness School program.
  • Applicants with one or more psychiatric hospitalizations within the past six (6) months for suicidal ideation or behavior, severe emotional disturbance or trauma, out-of-control behavior, or violent behavior, will be required to provide additional documentation prior to acceptance of his or her Application Materials by the Enrollment Office.
  • Applicants with a history of severe emotional disturbance within the past six (6) months resulting in suicidal attempts, gestures, or ideation will be required to provide additional documentation prior to acceptance of his or her Application Materials by the Enrollment Office.
  • Applicants with one or more hospitalizations for psychiatric reasons within the last two (2) years, or who have experienced a severe emotional disturbance resulting in suicidal attempts, gestures or ideation within the past two (2) years, must present a written statement from a Medical Doctor (M.D.), Psychologist (M.A. or Ph. D.), Social Worker (M.S.W.), or Family Therapist (M.F.T.) or other clinician stating the applicant is competent to perform course activities in a reasonable manner.
Student Removal From Course For Behavioral Policy Violations

Students will be removed from proximity to Wilderness School 20-Day and 5-Day Expeditions when violations of behavioral policies or program expectations make continued participation physically or emotionally unsafe for any student or staff.

If field interventions by program staff result in a student being removed and sent home from the course, students will be returned to the Wilderness School base camp and will require transportation home by the agency or family at the first opportunity.

Voluntary Participation

Applicants must choose to attend the Wilderness School, be willing to make a commitment to the program, and demonstrate appropriate motivation during each phase of the enrollment process.