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Adventure Quest is an adventure based counseling community service program for youth who are at risk for alcohol, tobacco, drug use or abuse and who may also have problems in their school, family, community or peer group.
Ten to 12 students form a group and the same group meets one hour a week during school for 10-15 weeks. The program does not replace clinical treatment or counseling. Adventure Quest staff offers referrals for other services when they are deemed necessary.
The Adventure Quest program strongly encourages each member to become an active participant in his or her own wellness. Students are also nurtured to build individual skills that promote positive self-esteem, acceptance of responsibility, respect for authority figures, trust and a better understanding of when refusal skills are necessary.
The adventure-based model allows members to become comfortable with the dynamics of the group in hopes of becoming comfortable with full participation. The group dynamics within the adventure-based model serves as the foundation for the program allowing us to achieve these goals. By encouraging proper communication and decision-making, we hope to foster skills within our participants that will reduce their engagement in risky behavior.
The Adventure Quest program works primarily with children in grades 6-8, although we do work with a few fifth grade groups and a few high school groups. Guidance counselors within the schools refer the majority of the children. We currently have groups in five counties: Hamblen, Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Union.
Adventure Quest staff holds bachelor degrees and receive ongoing training in leadership and safety skills. Organizations providing this training include, but are not limited to, the Association of Experiential Education, Project Adventure, The Boy Scouts of America, the Red Cross, Outward Bound, the Wilderness Medical Associates and the Tennessee Advanced School on Addictions.
The staff chooses activities that help students grow as individuals and as a group through natural consequences to their actions. Activities become more difficult, as students develop problem-solving skills and self-esteem by conquering each challenge. The activities teach many skills including leadership, cooperation and responsibility.
After each activity, the Adventure Quest leader helps the group learn from the experience by asking questions about what occurred, how it happened, and what they can learn from the experience. The students answer questions that focus on their behavior in the activity. Lessons build on each other, and students are encouraged to use what they learn as they handle problems in future activities as well as their daily life.
After 10-15 meetings, the group chooses an outing activity. The outing is an exciting adventure that allows the students to use skills they learned in the program. Outings consist of hiking, repelling, camping, caving or a day at the ropes course. A day at the ropes course is the option most often chosen by the students. It gives them the opportunity to do some low-ropes challenges, rock-climbing, rappelling and to take a ride on the zip-line off of the top of our 60-foot tall tower. Adventure Quest provides transportation and equipment and staff are trained and certified in first aid and CPR.