Wilderness Road
Campbell Loughmiller
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This is about a book and a person who has had a major impact on how services are rendered.  The book is Wilderness Road. The person is Campbell Loughmiller.  Loughmiller and another man developed the concept of long term outdoor behavioral programming.  The book is about that concept and the early attempts of implementing that concept. 

The concepts in this book have strongly influenced the development of many schools and programs, including (and not limited to) Eckerd Youth Alternatives outdoor programs, Discovery Schools of Virginia for Boys and Girls, Three Springs, Peninsula Village, and Stone Mountain School. (Stone Mountain School  is moving away or has moved away from the Loughmiller model.) Concepts include a small group (usually ten) of children or teens of the same gender (originally only boys) living with responsible caring adults under primitive conditions. They are collectively responsible for building and maintaining their own shelter and preparing their own food. In most situations their "home" is a collection of shelters for a variety of purposes.  Originally these shelters were entirely built and maintained by the young people of the program.  Safety regulations and building codes now require that professional participation in building these shelters. In some cases, the residents sleep in buildings that are professionally built.

Even if buildings are not fully built and maintained by the residents, generally the grounds around those buildings are. So are tasks like preparing firewood and, in some cases, preparing meals.  The entire program is based upon the ten people living together learning to take on a task together, become a team, take on responsibility.  The entire concept is that the boys or girls need to take responsibility for working together to be safe and comfortable, protecting themselves from the elements and getting on with the tasks of living, with staff in their midst, sharing living conditions, and working with them. 

From what we are able to determine, this approach began to be employed right after World War II.   Formalized mental health services originally had no place in this concept to the best that we can determine.  Currently that has been factored in, in the programs that use this approach as has formal schooling and other services that have merit but tend to compromise the purity of the concept. 

For more detail, we refer you to the links shown.

Link to Wilderness Road

Information about Campbell Loughmiller

Last updated August 11, 2009


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