Resources For Intercept Partners

David Morgan
What is Intercept?

An innovative and time-tested 28- or 50-day wilderness expedition for struggling teens, young adults and their families. This intensive program supports both students and families to build confidence and resolve conflict through profound experiences and practical problem-solving. 

Experienced Instructors not only lead youth during the expedition, they work with both students and family members before, during and after the wilderness component. The goal is to support child and family learning for more effective communication, compassion and greater trust.

Intercept provides the tools to face future challenges. Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) accepts counselor, therapist, administrator and parent referrals for this life-changing program.

For 56 years, Voyageur Outward Bound has helped students develop skills for success. We realize that in the weeks, months and years to come, young people and their families will need courage, confidence and resilience as they face new challenges. It is our goal to provide greater access to our programs today in order to prepare young people for tomorrow.

Intercept Participation Overview

This information highlights nice to haves, need to haves and non-negotiables when referring a teen candidate to a VOBS Intercept course. Our goal is to set families and teens up for success. Over the years, we have found that better preparation leads to a better experience, and better outcomes. Intercept is a life-changing program that is most effective when families and their healthcare providers better understand its potential and fitness for individual teens.

The Parent Profile
  • Parents are tired of conflict and usually feel like they’ve tried “everything” and don’t know where else to go or what else to try.
  • Families often consider wilderness therapy and Intercept when seeking a solution. Those who ultimately choose Intercept usually mention that they “just need a break,” and they don’t feel their child needs a “more intensive” wilderness therapy experience.
  • Intercept families are looking for a positive life experience for their child.
  • Intercept families seek to “press the reset button” and ”give everyone a little time and space” to grow and self-actualize.
  • Some families consider both wilderness therapy and Intercept when seeking a solution. Those who choose Intercept usually say that they are seeking a “reset,” “space,” “time,” and “tools,” rather than an “intense” or “bootcamp” wilderness experience.
The Student Profile
  • Experiencing conflict in relationships with parents and family.
  • Low motivation, struggling with self-confidence, and self-esteem in life.
  • Defiance and poor communication skills.
  • Struggling from anxiety and/or depression, or at a point where they are working on their mental health and haven’t yet had a lot of success.
  • Low motivation and poor performance at school resulting in conflicts at school and at home.
  • Doing “fine,” or even great, and then suddenly “everything changes.”
  • Poor decisions about substance use and friends. Experimentation-- primarily with alcohol, marijuana, and vaping. Parents and therapists rarely categorize these behaviors as addiction-level.
  • Inconsistent or varying levels of motivation to change or seek opportunities to change.
  • May not be fully on board with participating in an Intercept course, but they can identify some reasons for, or intention behind, enrollment.

Basic Criteria for Intercept Participation

  • Age 14-17 for 28-Day Course
  • Age 17-21 for 50-Day Course
  • Student must be willing to attend and participate even if they have a poor attitude about it
  • One parent/guardian must attend the Family Seminar at the end of the course
  • Student must meet Essential Eligibility Criteria

*Certain medical histories or behaviors require that a physician and/or therapist formally approve or recommend student participation. It is very rare for VOBS to accept a student with significant history or behaviors without this critical professional recommendation.

Behavior/History MAY Include:

  • Low motivation
  • Anger issues
  • Chronically poor school performance
  • Defiance
  • Risky behavior
  • Low self-confidence

*While these may be typical teenage behaviors, for the Intercept candidate, they are happening to a degree or frequency that prevent teens from engaging in or succeeding in life.

Behavior/History MAY NOT Include:

  • Chronic history of aggressive or violent behavior ( students with a one time occurrence of aggression clearly triggered by very specific circumstances would be reviewed on a case by case basis)
  • Recent suicide attempt (within 1 month)
  • Active, severe eating disorders
  • Active, severe chemical or substance dependencies
  • Persistent engagement with the juvenile justice system
  • Current incarceration
  • Recent in-patient treatment (including for substance dependency) (within 1 month)
  • Severe proximity-based anaphylactic allergies (eg: anaphylactic shock from peanuts nearby)
  • Physician or therapist objection to participation (VOBS will not accept students if their healthcare provider advises against enrollment)

*VOBS may opt to serve students with higher needs at a later date, when these higher needs have been met, and after a therapist or physician approves enrollment.

Contact Us to Learn More

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. Our Student Services Team is well-versed in the Intercept program, and they are happy to answer specialist, family and participant questions:
(828)-239-2376 |

Marlais Brand, Director of Partnership, serves as our main contact for building organizational and institutional relationships for Intercept. Please reach out to Marlais to discuss collaboration and opportunities to innovate for those you serve:
(612)-978-9671 | 651-401-0641 |

Additional Resources
-Kurt Hahn, Outward Bound Founder

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