Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > The Troubled Teen Industry

Trails Carolina - new program

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Trails Carolina does not identify itself specifically as Aspen; however, pretty much everyone there that has noted previous TTI affiliations appears to have spent some time at SUWS of the Carolinas.

Photos on the website are obviously of models, since they don't have any kids yet. Not sure whether this will be an actual dress code policy or not, but all the kids were dressed in khaki pants and blue shirts: light blue turtlenecks for the girls, navy blue for the boys. lols

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Posted: Jan 2, 2009

Trails Carolina
Lake Toxaway, NC

Trails Carolina Now Accepting Students

Mark Oerther

January 2, 2008

Graham Shannonhouse, Executive Director for Lake Toxaway, North Carolina-based, Trails Carolina is pleased to announce the program is now accepting students.

Designed for struggling adolescents ages 13 to 17, Trails Carolina integrates clinically sophisticated and research-based modalities including equine therapy (EAP), group and individual therapy with licensed therapists, structured academics with a certified teacher, and comprehensive family inclusion to provide students with an impactful experience that encourages and supports self-awareness and confidence and develops unique and effective tools to ensure continued post-program success.

Trails Carolina operates from the premise that a student's ability to effectively integrate their wilderness experience into real-world skills is every bit as important as the program experience itself. For this reason, a comprehensive and educational family inclusion program is built into the program model. Parents and caregivers are expected to actively participate in their child's experience by working with their student's therapist to complete a course curriculum which parallels the curriculum of their child and by participating in parents workshops designed specifically to address their family's needs. Parents are empowered to help their child better transition their Trails Carolina experience to their "real" lives, as well as enhance the student's experience by being an active participant in the growth and recovery of the family unit. Additionally, students take part in a comprehensive academic program that continues their formal education while on trail. This better prepares the student to seamlessly return to a challenging academic environment without significant disruption in their coursework, while also providing opportunity for the child to practice new-found tools in a real-world setting.

Former SUWS of the Carolinas Executive Director, Shannonhouse, has assembled a dynamic and proven team including Mark Oerther, Admissions Director, Shalene Pierce LCSW, Therapist, Carlyn Daubs MS, Therapist, and Al Evans M.Ed, a certified educator with over 30 years of experience working with youth.

Program Highlights:
Clinically Sophisticated Model
Academic Credits
Equine Therapy
Integrated, Wrap-Around Family Curriculum
Wilderness Expeditions

For additional information, please contact Mark Oerther at: 888-387-2457 or 828-606-3507 and/or visit the Trails Carolina website at

Trails Carolina Staff

Graham Shannonhouse
Executive Director
[email protected]

After obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree from Coastal Carolina University, Mark served as a Field Instructor at SUWS of the Carolinas. While at SUWS, he was promoted to Senior Instructor and then Graduation Coordinator. He left SUWS to join Wilderness Treatment Center in Montana as a Wilderness Guide and Counselor. Mark was then selected to assist in the development and start-up of Adirondack Leadership Expeditions (ALE). While at ALE, Mark was promoted to Field Director and then to Admissions Director. In 2004, Mark returned to North Carolina to serve as the Admissions Director for SUWS of the Carolinas. Soon after, Mark was promoted to the Regional Director of Admissions for Aspen Education Group's Outdoor Division.

Mark brings his experience and skills to Trails Carolina as Admissions Director. He is continuing his education by becoming certified as a Clinical Addiction Specialist. Mark enjoys surfing, wakeboarding, softball, flag football and attempting to play golf.

Shalene Pierce, MSW, LCSW
Primary Therapist
[email protected]

Carlyn Daubs has been a member of the Trails Carolina team since its inception. Ms. Daubs earned a master's degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas where she is currently concluding her dissertation in order to earn a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Her areas of interest include: attachment and adoption issues; marital conflict and divorce; trauma; anxiety disorders; depressive disorders; AD/HD; Oppositional Defiant Disorder; Conduct Disorder; and individuals with multiple Axis I disorders. Prior to joining the Trails Carolina team, Ms. Daubs was a therapist in a variety of settings including a community mental health clinic, a university counseling center, a wilderness program and a therapeutic boarding school. Ms. Daubs's therapeutic approach is an integrative model that employs techniques from interpersonal, cognitive, behavioral and psychodynamic theories. In her spare time, Ms. Daubs enjoys horseback riding, running, reading and spending time with her family.

Al Evans M. Ed.
Dean of Academics
[email protected]

Nick Pearl has worked in the wilderness for almost 10 years. He started out as a wilderness guide in the mountains of West Virginia. He has led river rafting expeditions through the New River and Gauley River gorges, led countless mountain bike expeditions, and served as a rock-climbing guide for eight seasons. During his six years in the Therapeutic Wilderness industry, Nick has served as a Master Level Instructor, Medical Coordinator and Field Director. Originally from Kentucky, Nick studied Physics and Chemistry at Western Kentucky University. He is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Clinical First Responder, Leave No Trace trainer, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Certified Instructor. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking with his wife Melissa and two children Huxley and Adlai. He also enjoys playing guitar and banjo, biking, running, climbing, teaching, and learning.

Mike D'Angelo
Field Guide
[email protected]

Kendall Smith enjoyed the rural life of upstate New York while earning her B.A. in Psychology and Religion from Colgate University. She then ventured out West to pursue her passion for working therapeutically with people and animals in the outdoors. While working at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Kendall was involved with Colorado Horse Rescue and the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center. Kendall obtained her Masters Degree in Transpersonal Counseling with an emphasis in Wilderness Therapy from Naropa University. She has worked with youth and families in public health, in a wilderness program, a therapeutic boarding school and at equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning programs. Kendall continues to be amazed by the horse-human relationship and the endless possibilities for growth.

Scott Huffman
Facilities Manager
[email protected]

A native of Caldwell, Idaho, Scott Huffman attended the University of Idaho at Moscow, and spent over twenty-five years in Idaho's Wood River Valley serving as a professional glassblower, carpenter, sheet metal mechanic, coach and business owner. He moved with his family to Brevard, NC in 2004 where he owned and operated King Street Heat, a hot glass blowing studio. Additionally, he spent two years serving as Facilities Director for Four Circles Recovery Center, a program dedicated to serving young adults struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Scott's passions include rugby, traveling, hot glass, and his two daughters, Ellie and Frances Graham.  Scott is an accomplished contractor, artist, craftsman and outdoorsman and brings to his position a strong work ethic and an intense belief in the ability of adolescents to take control of their lives through hard work, determination, and focused self-awareness.

The director is from Aspen, so I would assume it would be an Aspen program, but it isnt clear on the website.  They site an independent outcome study to support wilderness therapy here which I haven’t seen on other Aspen web sites.

This was from a Keith C. Russell, Ph.D. Study:

The study concluded that participation in outdoor behavioral
healthcare resulted in clinically significant reductions in severity of
behavioral and emotional symptoms.........

Over 80% of parents and 95% of participants believed that treatment was effective 24 months after the process.


Anne Bonney:

--- Quote from: "Whooter" ---The director is from Aspen, so I would assume it would be an Aspen program, but it isnt clear on the website.  They site an independent outcome study to support wilderness therapy here which I haven’t seen on other Aspen web sites.
--- End quote ---

Keith C. Russell of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Industry Council??

Membership Criteria

    * Provisional period of one year.
    * Review by membership committee.
    * Letters of recommendation from: (1) child, (1) parent or family, (1) professional referral source.
    * Letter of application stating why they want to participate and what they can contribute.
    * Members are licensed, certified, or accredited by agencies recognized by OBHIC.
    * Proof of land use permits.

Independent study???   Sounds like another  NATSAP.

Edited: Wednesday, October 06, 2010


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