Outdoor experiential education extends far beyond recreation. It is a critical element of our therapeutic approach. The discoveries our students make about themselves in therapy – lessons of self-confidence and capability — are reinforced in adventures on the weekend and on week-long excursions.  For some boys, outdoor experiences are key to unlocking the door to their resistance and self-doubt.  

Physically and metaphorically, we believe in getting outside, getting outside of the limits we set on ourselves.  This is the premise of outdoor experiential education.

There’s nothing like rafting the rapids of a river for teaching students how to think quickly and work together. Or finding the next handhold on a rock climb for overcoming fear. Outdoors, our students become aware of what they’re capable of. They discover new depths of resilience and confidence and take their potential to new heights.


The expedition program provides boys with opportunities that challenge them within safe, non-threatening limits. Our outdoor experts are skilled not only in outdoor sports, but in creating experiences that intentionally foster growth. Weekend activities and extended trips include rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, skiing, snowboarding and river running. Each adventure is carefully designed, offering a mix of personal therapeutic opportunities and activities that build connection and cooperation.

Often, physical outdoor challenges free boys up to admit fears more readily. Most experiences also hold lessons that can readily be extended to “real life.” Climbing, for instance, is a great metaphor:  It’s scary. You can come off the wall – but be caught. It involves teamwork, trust, communication, and problem-solving. And when you succeed, you have other people cheering for you at the top.

It’s important to note that SCA expeditions are low-risk in nature, but carry a high perceived risk, which is a great recipe for building confidence and self-esteem. They are adventures that require both physical and social risk taking. Learning to ask for support from one’s peers – and accept it – is an important and valuable skill. At the same time, each student can see firsthand how his choices and behavior influence the goals of the group, and how his support might be just the thing that helps another student succeed.


  • Activities that build self-confidence
  • Facilitate therapeutic healing
  • Pushing physical and mental limits
  • Practice cooperation and connection
  • Safely balanced risk-taking


Our weekend expeditions and extended trips change with the seasons. We are fortunate to have all of Utah as our big backyard. Winter adventures find students skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling through a glade of aspens on a powder day. Hiking and camping trips are great for learning about self-reliance and one’s “place” in the astonishing scale and beauty of the wilderness. Summer rock climbing, canyoneering, and whitewater rafting are all about dynamic, ever-changing and challenging environments, complete with obstacles, decision-making and fun.

SCA Expeditions are not about “athletics.” There is no emphasis on competition, winning or superior sports skill. Nature is an equal opportunity playground. And our program is designed to allow our students to set their own goals, achieve their own successes, and tap into undiscovered strengths.