A unique treatment center launches a fundraising campaign

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An adventure-based drug addiction therapy program faces a tight deadline to get a new home.

For 13 years, the Shunda Creek Treatment Center west of Rocky Mountain House has been helping people get and stay sober using an adventure therapy model, the only one of its kind in Western Canada.

“The most important thing for me is that this place is different from anywhere else, I know a lot of places where you get thrown and you get thrown, to me it was like no one cared really,” said program alumnus Colton Rolof.

The current lease will expire in two months and cannot be renewed. The charity that runs the program said it had located a new site, but needed around $625,000 to buy it. There is money set aside for the new facility, and the province is funding the operations, but so far the banks are looking for more assurances.

“In order to maintain the wilderness therapy aspect of the program, we need to stay in a wilderness setting,” said Stephen Harding, another alumnus who now works at the center. “I understand one has been found and it’s a struggle with banks and funding at the moment.”

For Harding, these elements produced life-changing results.

“I learned things like how to be uncomfortable, how to stand up in discomfort, I learned who I was.” said Harding. “The adventure therapy part was really critical.”

Both men said the main difference was the sense of connection they had, both to the natural environment, but equally important, to other participants.

“The right connection to the land itself, that sense of being grounded, that’s something that a lot of society lacks,” Rolof said. He grew up camping, fishing and hunting, but said all of that was lost when he was actively consuming.

Rolof started a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to save the life-changing program, which can be found here.

Although adventure therapy programs have been very successful, many have closed in recent years due to rising costs associated with security and insurance requirements.

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