As you already know, Bonnie Brae empowers youth and families to achieve “Small Victories. Every Day” through comprehensive care and education. We want to transform more lives of at-risk youth and their families through a nationally recognized model of care. One of the ways this is accomplished is through our Conscious Kids Summer Expedition.
The weeklong wilderness trip has been our signature program for over 30 years. It has provided numerous opportunities for the Bonnie Brae boys in regards to personal growth and development. The relaxed, recreational setting results in lasting behavioral changes for troubled youth.
For many of our boys, this trip is their first vacation, first excursion out of New Jersey, and the first time they will experience the wonder of the outdoors in a meaningful way. The expedition takes place at the Forest Lake Camp in the southern Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. This year, it will be occurring from August 21st to August 25th.
The benefits of the trip are invaluable, particularly for boys coming from at-risk, urban environments. Experiencing nature is a key component of the summer trip and the wilderness provides our boys with many new activities and opportunities for adventure and accomplishment.
In the words of our Recreational Director, Stan Lahens, who plans the trip and all of the activities, “Just taking the guys and staff away from campus, out of their comfort zones, and into the elements makes a huge difference in everyone that attends. Boys and staff alike, who have never been camping or in the wilderness see and experience something different, and they are better for it. They grow. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, especially for guys who are from urban areas.”
Activities offered at Forest Lake Camp include: arts & crafts, photography, music, hiking, insect hunting, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, swimming, fishing, boating, and archery. There is a therapeutic value in recreation that helps heal emotional wounds many have sustained in their short lives.
Shared memories and team experiences promote development of deep relationships with fellow residents and staff. These bonds carry over into residential life and therapeutic treatment upon the return to Bonnie Brae’s campus.
Dustin, a Bonnie Brae boy who attended the camp in 2015, stated, “Today, we’re going back to Bonnie Brae. I’m going to miss FLC (Forest Lake Camp)! I am so thankful that I got to go on this trip – it was so great! I am especially going to miss the horses!”
Our goal is for all 90+ Bonnie Brae residents and an equal number of staff to participate. This traditional camping experience provides our boys with yet another opportunity to heal and achieve a new set of small victories. Please consider donating to help our boys experience the trip of a lifetime.
Accredited by the Joint Commission, Bonnie Brae is one of the nation’s preeminent residential treatment centers for at-risk adolescent boys who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned. We provide a safe place for boys and young men in crisis, ages 8-21, a place for them to heal, to learn and to grow. We have helped over 10,000 boys and families since our founding in 1916. Please contact us today to learn how you can make a positive difference in a young man’s life.
3415 Valley Road, PO Box 825, Liberty Corner, NJ 07938-0825 Directions