Project D.A.R.E.

Frequently Asked Questions

Naturally, you have questions about the program. The ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page may have an answer for you. We encourage you to browse the various pages of the website as it contains lots of useful and detailed information. If you prefer, please give us a call at (705) 386-2376 ext 218 or use our ‘Contact Us’ links and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.

Are therapeutic wilderness programs evidence-informed and effective?

Some studies from the 1970’s and ‘80’s raised questions about whether therapeutic adventure programs were efficacious. However, there is now a large and growing body of peer-reviewed published research demonstrating that adventure therapy programs generate excellent outcomes compared to traditional residential treatment. There is also a growing body of research demonstrating the positive effects of physical exercise, mindfulness and exposure to natural settings for people struggling with addictions, learning disabilities, trauma and anxiety. Project D.A.R.E. participates in ongoing outcomes research and works diligently to deliver programming which is evidence informed and effective. The research is very clear that the quality of the therapeutic relationship between clients and their helpers is by far the single most powerful predictor of positive outcomes. Project D.A.R.E. is widely recognized for the quality of the therapeutic relationships formed between Instructors and students.

What is the minimum length of custody disposition required to qualify for admission to the Project D.A.R.E. program?

We strongly recommend that a young person have a minimum of sixty days of actual custody time in the program in order to allow him an opportunity to earn the school credits which are integrated into the therapeutic program, and to provide sufficient time to work on the goal areas relevant to family and community reintegration. Most youth referred to Project D.A.R.E. are able to achieve their change goals within a three to six month disposition. Youth with less than forty-five days of custody are not considered for admission.

What would likely disqualify a youth from being admitted to Project D.A.R.E.?

Every admission decision is based on a holistic individualized assessment of the young person – their level of risk to self and others, their motivation to change, their ability to learn from experience and reflection. It is best to discuss any concerns about a young person’s suitability with the Project D.A.R.E. Admissions Coordinator or any Manager. Referrals may be declined based on very low cognition (below 10th percentile), medical/physical disabilities which create risk in a wilderness setting (enuresis, diabetes, anaphylaxis), or high risk to self/others (predatory/pre-meditated or uncontrollable serious aggression or suicide risk).

Project D.A.R.E. involves adventure activities and wilderness expeditions…. Is the program safe?

There is published research and incident analyses comparing the relative safety of various forms of activity. While no activity, whether it is a ‘normal’ day in the community or hiking in the wilderness, is completely free of the risk of serious injury or death, the research indicates that well-managed wilderness programs have better safety records than the typical activities of teenagers. Project D.A.R.E. is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education and strives to follow industry best-practices related to each of its activities.

Can I refer my son to the open custody Project D.A.R.E. program?

The only person who can refer a youth to the Project D.A.R.E. open custody program is a probation officer. If your son has been charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and is likely to receive a custody sentence, you may wish to discuss with his Probation Officer whether it would be appropriate to refer your son to Project D.A.R.E.

Can I communicate with and visit my son during his participation in the program?

Project D.A.R.E. welcomes and encourages the involvement of parents, extended family and professionals. Your child is given extensive opportunity to make and receive phone calls to any person approved by the probation officer. He can send and receive mail. Visits are encouraged – please call ahead to ensure the students are on campus as they spend almost half their time engaged in wilderness expeditions.

Is there a fee for the Project D.A.R.E. open custody program?

Project D.A.R.E., like all open custody programs, is publicly funded and there is no fee for the service. All of the young person’s clothing and equipment required for participation is supplied at no charge by the program.

Does Wendigo Lake offer therapeutic programs for youth who are not in open custody?

Wendigo Lake offers a range of services in addition to the Project D.A.R.E. program and over the years has offered various short and long term residential treatment and wilderness programs for youth. Wendigo Lake is able to develop customized programs specific to the needs of an agency or family. Please check our ACHIEVE program website to learn more about our current offerings.

Wendigo Lake Expeditions is committed to making reasonable efforts to comply with accessibility requirements set out under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

WLE is committed to client, staff, and visitor safety during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Ask our staff about our risk mitigation strategies.