Young Adult Services was created in late 2014 as a starting point for a comprehensive and coordinated continuum of young adult services in Edmonton.
Young Adult Services offers the Young Adult Treatment (YAT) Program, which provides addiction counselling services to youth between 18 and 24 years old. As one of its components, youth are taught recreation and leisure skills. This past year, day camps were offered as part of the training.
Why this Program is Important:
Young adulthood is often the developmental stage when addiction and mental health issues begin to impact community participation and functioning. Experiential learning is well-supported as an effective way to teach skills and confidence, and encourage self-exploration and risk taking.
It may not fit into most people’s idea of what clinical treatment looks like, but recreation and leisure programming is an important part of recovery, and it’s a way to learn how to relax and spend time positively. Young adults who access the program often do not get to participate in leisure activities in their daily lives; they are more concerned with meeting their basic needs. Recreation therapy has been shown to decrease depression and elevate emotional well-being, increase motivation and independence, and promote community integration.
The program’s inspiration for getting the youth out and active is a sober fitness community in Phoenix,Colorado called Phoenix Multisport.
Support from the Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation contributed $4,000 to the program this past year to enable 14 youth to attend various day camps and participate in wellness-focused outdoor activities that they normally would not have access to. For many, it was the first time they had been away to camp.
Youth visited Birch Bay Ranch, where they got to ride horses, slide down ziplines, and learn archery. In the winter, participants traveled to the mountains to ski. It was an incredibly positive experience. It might seem simple to some; most youth their age have had the opportunity to go skiing. But for youth who have never had the chance, it can be a real boost to self-esteem and general wellness.
As one participant says: “Addicts don’t always feel motivated to try new things. The opportunity to do something you wouldn’t normally do makes you realize again what it’s like to have fun, which is hard when you come out of active addiction.” Learn more about some of our youths’ experiences below.