A Day in the Life

Adolescent Program

Helping families chart the course

Compassionate, Highly Trained Guides

At True North, we recognize the immeasurable value of the guidance students receive from their direct care staff. Bachelors level, highly trained individuals called guides support the daily life of our students with competence, compassion, and understanding. Guides are CPR and Wilderness First Responder Certified and go through a rigorous hiring and ongoing training process to ensure the safety and emotional progress of students. They collaborate with therapists to provide in-the-moment feedback, intervention, and skills as students practice new behaviors and identify destructive thinking patterns.

Therapeutic Integration



Students sleep every night in a heated indoor space, which may be a canvas wall tent or rustic cabin. The base camp includes several large camp sites, and students pack up to change sites regularly.


Adolescents participate in day hikes and snowshoe treks throughout the winter. If severe weather prohibits outdoor activity, indoor facilities on the campus allow for active options such as basketball or tennis.


Students learn and master a variety of primitive outdoor skills including building traps, orienteering, and building fires using both flint and steel and bowdrilling methods


Adolescents learn executive function skills and build confidence as they work together to complete daily tasks like making meals, setting up and cleaning up camp, and planning treks.

Academic & Experiential Curriculum

True North students complete a strengths-based progressive phase system with individualized interventions designed to help students to achieve goals. Leadership opportunities are connected to phase progression. Privileges are not.

As part of the phase system, all students complete a written curriculum, which includes personal development, life skills, outdoor living, team building and leadership skills, earth science, local history, and orienteering. In doing this work, they build confidence and learn organization and time management. Upon completion of the program, True North (a recognized independent school by the Vermont Agency of Education) issues a transcript that includes hours spent in PE, Health, History, English, Science, and Art. Credit hours may be issued by the home or succeeding school.

Food and Gear

Our diverse, nutritionist-approved diet includes local and organic foods. Most meals are backpacking-friendly, but students also have the opportunity to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and meat (if they choose) on a regular basis. We can easily accommodate special diet needs such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, and many food allergies.
The top-of-the-line gear and clothing that is issued to all students has been tested for quality and endurance in our varying conditions. All personal gear is brand new to each student and belongs to them upon discharge from the program. Students receive a variety of items that vary in color and fit to ensure their comfort and safety.