Reaching the Summit

After years of working in tandem with Mother Nature to build resiliency and individual growth in young men, Legacy  Outdoor Adventures is launching a program designed for young women.

Situated just outside of Loa, the county seat of Wayne County, Utah, Legacy Outdoor Adventures is an oasis surrounded by parkland and the yawning expanse of the Colorado Plateau. Nature at its most impressive, raw state has a way of humbling us, giving us latitude to take stock of ourselves, providing an environment for introspection and reflection.

Wayne County refers to itself as “a Land of Solitude and Contrast” — a fitting allusion to the voyage into recovery from substance use disorders. There’s the solitude that one finds him or herself in when making the decision to embark on a sober life and the stark contrast between the lives once lived and the great unknown stretching ahead.

Wilderness adventure treatment veterans and Legacy founders Derek Daley, Gil Hallows, Ray Barlow and Troy Faddis were keenly aware of the power of nature and introspection to personal growth when they founded Legacy in 2011. After two decades in the industry, they decided to create a wilderness adventure therapy program for young men aged 18 to 35 that employed a unique blend of programming and adventure therapy to guide clients on a journey of self-discovery, healthy recovery and personal growth.

Their concept: Stepping away from peers and from past environments can help break the negative cycle that leads to a person being emotionally overwhelmed. Being outdoors promotes a neurological effect on the brain, which slows down thinking and allows insight to blossom. Creating a program grounded in research, the Legacy founders wove together clinical treatment with outdoor adventures ranging from canyoneering, rock climbing, mountain biking and skiing to fishing, backpacking and rafting.

This March, it expanded its services to include a program for women. Recovery Campus spoke to co-founder Derek Daley on the successful methodology behind Legacy’s mission and its new focus on helping young women forge a life of sobriety through wilderness experiences.

Recovery Campus: Why is wilderness adventure therapy so effective?

Derek Daley: We believe that healthy recovery goes beyond overcoming substance abuse; it is the process of envisioning and embracing a life of purpose and intention. The wilderness experience effectively serves to move clients through the process of accepting that they have a problem with substances, acknowledging that help is available if they seek it and cultivating a desire for sobriety.

Research has shown how wilderness therapy is effective and safe. Clients often arrive having come from destructive environments and with self-defeating patterns — patterns that often create low self-esteem and negative self-image. At Legacy, we use the power of the wilderness and relationships to disrupt these self-defeating behaviors and thought patterns. We focus on maintaining a healthy and emotionally safe culture where we can build positive self-images that supports clients in moving from destructive patterns to performance patterns. We maximize opportunities for change by engaging clients with activities and adventures that build them as individuals.

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