Widji is part of a greater Outdoor Adventure community. One topic that has gotten a lot of needed attention over the past few years in this industry is managing and responding to mental health concerns in the field. Widji is just one of many programs who have seen an increase in participants coming to our program struggling with their mental health. To address this, Widji has adapted in many ways in order to effectively support our campers. Our administrative team are all trained in Mental Health First Aid, our seasonal staff receive basic training focused on assessing if someone is in crisis and in need of advanced care, and we work with multiple mental health professionals in order to determine how to best support each individual camper.

We also recognize there is a limit to the level of mental health support that we can provide. Similar to wilderness medicine where we do not practice beyond our scope, we do not want to set unrealistic expectations that put campers and staff at any greater risk. While trail has the potential to be a place of healing, it can also be an isolating experience and one of great struggle for someone coming without the proper support plan and network in place. We are working to be more transparent in what physical, emotional, and mental proficiencies are necessary for a successful trip at Widji. Our ultimate goal is to ensure the overall wellbeing of our campers. We will always be learning new and better ways to do this and have been challenged by this journey but also have grown a lot as an organization and as people.

If you know a camper who wants to come to Camp but is struggling with their mental health, we ask that you to reach out to us before coming to Widji this summer. We want to work as a team with campers and families to ensure that we’re providing an experience that will be successful for that individual.