by Cheryl Tan
The field of ecotherapy represents therapy techniques that involve a mutual healing between the human mind and the nature in which it evolved. This includes wilderness therapy, animal assistance therapy, horticulture therapy, and equine-assisted therapy.
The use of eco therapy or adventure therapy is a form of experiential learning that uses the raw experience gained from the outdoors to help individuals face and overcome emotional issues, addictions, behavioral problems, and many other challenges. It helps participants develop important life skills that can benefit them throughout their lives, thus is seen as an effective engagement tool for youths-at-risk.
Youths at risk, by definition, covers youths who may have pre-delinquency traits, prior drug experiences, incarcerated parents and/or anti-social or unhealthy presenting behaviours such as risky sexual behaviours, delinquency, violence, etc.
Organisations that can help
For youths who are facing such difficulties, there are several organisations in Singapore that engage youths-at-risk to develop positive self-esteem and help them overcome mental barriers through the use of wilderness/adventure therapy.
The Boys’ Town Adventure Centre (BTAC) is one such organisation that supports the wellbeing of such clients by providing a suite of outdoor adventure programmes such as from challenge courses, mountain expeditions, scaling a natural rock wall to traversing water rapids, kayaking and outdoor sports certification for youths at risk.
Sportif Youth is another place youths-at-risk can connect with. They are a not-for-profit organisation that seeks, through the platform of sports, to engage at-risk youths and mould them for the long haul as productive citizens who will give back to society.
Not forgetting government initiatives such as SPORTCARES; the philanthropic arm of national sports agency Sport Singapore that leverages positive sports experiences to make a difference for the at-risk and underserved in our community.
If you want to help…
Such organisations rely heavily on volunteers and experienced staff who have the passion for nurturing the underprivileged whilst providing a safe and conducive environment for them to flourish.
If you ever find yourself looking for volunteer opportunities, or if you love the outdoors and want to gain meaningful experience working with youths in our community, these organisations are always looking out for new volunteers.