A Brief History
Project D.A.R.E. (Development through Adventure, Responsibility, and Education) began operation in 1971 as a directly funded alternative program for youth in conflict with the law and has been in continuous operation ever since. Wendigo Lake Expeditions, Inc., (WLE) was created as an Ontario for-profit corporation in 1998 by a few key members of the Project D.A.R.E. staff community in response to an announcement by the Government of Ontario of its intention to privatize the operation of the Project D.A.R.E. program. WLE won the contract to operate the Project D.A.R.E. program and has been responsible for its operation since July, 2000, which currently operates as one 10-bed open-custody program for male youth licensed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Since 2000, WLE has implemented a series of program enhancements including a therapeutic program manual, increased levels of direct service staff, developed a residential adventure therapy program for male youth-at-risk (i.e., REACH), employed Masters-level therapists to support its programs and curriculum, achieved accreditation by the Association for Experiential Education and the Ontario Camps Association, launched ongoing outcome program evaluation, and expanded program offerings to schools, colleges, universities, and other children’s services across Ontario (i.e., ACHIEVE Programs). Notably, WLE submits quantitative data to the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative comprising industry-leading researchers that are advancing the validity, reliability, and credibility of adventure therapy.
WLE also briefly operated SOLO Canada in partnership with SOLO (based out of Conway, NH, USA), providing professional Wilderness Medical Training courses (including standard First Aid and CPR courses under the Canadian Red Cross).
WLE’s ACHIEVE Programs has provided customized adventure- and wilderness-based educational, developmental, and therapeutic programs (i.e., training workshops, academic courses, wilderness expeditions, etc.) for male and female clients from the following organizations, among others:
- Nipissing University
- Laurentian University
- Algonquin College
- Cambrian College
- Fleming College
- Mohawk College
- Canadore College
- Humber College
- Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS)
- Greater Sudbury Police Service
- York Regional Police
- Jewish Family & Child (GTA)
- Clarke Road Secondary School
- Near North District School Board
Location and Geography
Wendigo Lake Expeditions’ main campus is located approximately three hours north of Toronto, just West of the boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park’s northwest corner. In the heart of canoeing and backpacking country, many of our clients have the opportunity to explore the wilderness areas of Algonquin Park, the Almaguin highlands, Temagami, the French River, Georgian Bay, and the Mattawa River in all four seasons.
Want to Learn More?
For more information about our program divisions, click the appropriate link below: