Is Your Teen Safe Tonight?

By Stephen C. Schultz

For many parents, the first night their child spends at RedCliff Ascent is the first night they have slept peacefully in a long time. There is no more wondering where she is or if she will come home safely.

RedCliff Ascent is the wilderness program parents choose when it’s time to intervene and stop the sleepless nights.

Your child thinks and behaves as though the whole world is her personal playground. No responsibilities. No consequences. No problems.

In other treatment settings, your teen may be labeled only by his diagnosis:  Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, ODD, bipolar mood disorder, or others.      

At RedCliff, they know the teen and their illness are two distinctly separate matters. Their therapeutic model addresses each one specifically.

“We are not a high adventure recreation camp or a boot camp or any other kind of camp” said Scott Schill, Executive Director. “If a camp or recreational activities were the answer, parents wouldn't be looking at RedCliff Ascent”, Schill continues.

Most teens don’t struggle with a lack of entertainment in their life. What they lack is the ability to master the mundane responsibilities that come with school, work, and family relationships. 

Since their founding in 1993, RedCliff has helped thousands of students and their families.

Their therapeutic model helps parents disrupt dysfunctional patterns, not just move them to a different location. Everything they do has a therapeutic purpose.

RedCliff Ascent is the place your child will learn and practice the coping mechanisms, competencies and discipline necessary to manage their life in an age appropriate manner. They will learn the skills necessary to become an independent, productive member of society.

At RedCliff, a typical day includes hiking, group processing, individual therapy, group therapy, and practicing wilderness survival skills such bow/drill fire making, orienteering, botanical identification, journaling, and low-impact camping.

In a time of societal financial uncertainty and the closure of therapeutic programs, RedCliff offers financial and clinical stability. Their administrative team has worked together since 1993. They are one of the most veteran “Owner-Operator” organizations in the country. 

Proven clinical and operational systems enable them to decrease length of stay and ease the financial burden on families, while still providing an unsurpassed therapeutic experience.          

Their clinical staff are all Ph.D. and Master’s level therapists who have spent their entire careers working with adolescents.

RedCliff offers a consistent, unvarying expectation of each student that does not vary from therapist to therapist or staff to staff.  Although the structure does not change, therapy itself is individualized to meet each student’s needs.           

RedCliff field staff are carefully screened and thoroughly trained. Most are college graduates. All staff are trained in first aid and wilderness survival skills. Once each week RedCliff’s clinical team instructs field staff on therapeutic topics. Therapists and field staff work together, communicating and coordinating a treatment plan that is unique to each student.

Enrollment at RedCliff ascent is open-ended.  24 hour emergency admission is available for students who meet their treatment criteria. Because the program is achievement based, length of stay will vary from student to student. The average stay is approximately 60-70 days.  

For more information, you can visit their website at and speak with an admissions counselor. 


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