Ascent Wilderness Program
sm: Successor to "Bridge to Understanding sm"
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This program has closed, at least temporarily.  We understand there remains intermittent discussion of re-opening it.  

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FamilyLightsm is an educational consulting firm specializing in work with families with a young person with behavioral, emotional or psychological difficulties.  We offer in-depth personal guidance to families on a fee basis and free guidance on the internet. FamilyLightsm attempts to be fully objective and accepts no advertising nor referral fees.

Ascent is owned and operated by Universal Health Services, Inc.

This program no longer functions in direct competition with most other programs. Historically, the ultimate in base-camp model wilderness programs, Ascent has downsized to be largely a very short term program to assess the needs, primarily of students who have disciplinary issues in their home schools. 

We do not doubt the competence of Ascent in this particular role.  We miss Ascent's prior expertise (in the recent past) as the wilderness program for people who medically or psychologically could not sustain a more conventional wilderness program, while providing the necessary experience to meet the usual goals of a wilderness experience.

Keeping in mind the current narrow focus of this program, we are very comfortable with Ascent for the young people it purports to serve. 

While you wait for us to present a more complete review, please look around this website.  Look at our Guidelines -- a fairly comprehensive statement of what we believe quality is all about.  If you come to a search and planning process with limited experience, this is an opportunity for you to find some principles to measure schools and programs against.


Official web site of Ascent Wilderness Program

Please note:  The Official website of Ascent presents the program as if traditional full services remain in place. We do not believe that remains true.  Please check that out before acting on the website information.

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Feedback is invited. We will publish any feedback in good taste. Email

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.


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Last updated  1-21-11

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