At Open Sky, we activate the potential of the human spirit and believe all people have the capacity to thrive. The Family Quest™ intensive is an opportunity for families to process, heal, pursue healthy relationships, and realize their full potential as individuals and as a family system.
While Open Sky students are in the field learning crucial wilderness and emotional skills, parents are learning alongside them, with the help of tools such as the Family Pathway class, parent coaching, and weekly support calls. As parent and child progress in their own Open Sky journeys, their parallel paths come together for a unique rite of passage: the Family Quest™ intensive.
The Family Quest™ intensive is a multi-day family therapy intervention in the wilderness with individualized attention from a Family Services therapist and wilderness guide. For three days and two nights, family members join students in the field. They witness firsthand what the experience of living in wilderness has been like for their loved one and engage in deep and important therapeutic work together.
Prior to the Family Quest™ experience, the Family Services therapist communicates with the student’s primary therapist to form individualized treatment objectives and goals for the family so that they may make the most of their time in wilderness together.
The Family Quest™ intensive offers families a space to practice their newly gained skills and encourages their growth, healing, and progress. With the guidance of a Family Services therapist and wilderness guide, each family member has the opportunity to vocalize the sentiments they’ve been sharing through letters, as well as any they may have kept to themselves. They get to look one another in the eyes and see each other in the most authentic sense. Using the communication skills they have been learning, students and families are able to express themselves intentionally and begin to repair their family dynamic, all while receiving direct, professional feedback from their therapist and guide. It is often an illuminating and heartwarming experience.
Each member plays a specific and vital role in the family. When possible, the involvement of all family members in Family Quest is essential and encouraged. This includes siblings, as long as they are at least 13 years old and have been approved by the primary therapist. Whether younger or older, siblings bring their own perspective and contributions, sometimes turning out to be the most catalytic members in attendance: the quiet onlookers with profound offerings and/or the ones best able to reach the students. The student is usually moved by their siblings’ attendance and perspective, securing their level of commitment to change and health moving forward. Parents gain a more comprehensive understanding of their families and gain insight into the emotional lives of their children. The siblings themselves often leave with a grasp of their own work moving forward, as well as tools and skills to assist them along the way.
While the primary focus of the Family Quest is therapeutic work, families also have the opportunity to engage in lighthearted activities together. They hike, make fires, play games, prepare and enjoy healthy, organic meals, and receive education on the nature and history of the land. Students are eager to show their families the physical and emotional skills they have learned. Parents are often astounded, encouraged, and motivated by their child’s growth.
The opportunity to participate in Family Quest is now available to any family who has been through the Open Sky program, whether they graduated one or ten years ago. Families do not need to have participated in Family Quest during their initial stay to be eligible for Alumni Family Quest.
At Open Sky, we understand that the experience, needs, and goals of each family are unique and dynamic and that facilitating meaningful growth requires an individualized approach and ongoing support. The Alumni Family Quest helps families build upon and enhance the journey they began at Open Sky so they may live their lives with strength and intention.