Spirit and Intention
Students begin their Open Sky journey in Gateway Camp, which is designed to engage the student in building a foundation for therapeutic growth. In Gateway Camp, students begin to work on program basics and core concepts, from wilderness skills and camp craft to communication tools and mindfulness practices. Gateway Camp is a structured yet individualized setting designed to support students’ growth as they prepare to embark on their Open Sky journey.
Gateway Camp Culture
An essential aspect of life at Open Sky is the positive culture within each team, and this starts in Gateway Camp. Guides teach and role model relational and wilderness living skills, fostering student engagement, and setting the stage for therapeutic work. Field Guides nurture stability, emotional safety, and learning through relationship, creating a powerful space for students to grow. The process of Gateway Camp supports students in building self-efficacy and skills that set them up for success in their transition to their respective teams.
Introduction to Basic Skills and Core Concepts
In Gateway Camp, students are introduced to the Student Pathway, which is divided into four stages: South, West, North, and East. Each stage has a different focus core to the student’s growth and healing and during Gateway Camp, students focus on the first stage, the South. In the South, students are introduced to basic skills and concepts to support their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Guides and therapists work alongside students as they learn and practice communication, emotion regulation, and self-care skills in one-on-one and group settings.
In addition to the one-on-one support from field guides, students also meet with their primary therapist. As the foundation for the therapeutic relationship is built, therapists begin to individualize a treatment plan according to the unique needs of each student. They also begin to integrate students into the team by bringing letters and messages from teammates to develop a sense of community and connection.
Upon completing learning objectives over their time in Gateway Camp, students participate in a goodbye ceremony with their Gateway Camp peers. They are then introduced to their new team with a welcome ceremony and introduction group. This intentional transition process is essential for capturing the work students have accomplished so far and set them up for success as the next stage of their Open Sky journey begins.