DCF: The Follow Up Program

Wilderness School


The Follow-Up Program


Program Design:

The Wilderness School Follow-Up Program is a unique companion to the Expedition Program.  It consists largely of Short Courses intended to serve as refresher experiences for 20-Day and 5-Day participants.


Follow-Up Short Courses  occur on weekends, weekdays, and school holidays in the fall through spring after students have completed their Expeditions.  These activities serve as additional avenues for Wilderness School students to pursue achievement of their goals and the rewards of making good choices.


Continuing the supportive, strengths based emphasis of the Expedition Program, Follow-Up Short Courses also offer opportunities to reinforce other positive experiences of the 20-Day or 5-Day Expedition courses, such as feelings of success and belonging.


The Wilderness School refers to its Follow-Up program as a means of "Keeping the Flame Alive."


Who To Contact:

All correspondence regarding the Follow-Up Program should be directed to the Wilderness School Program Coordinator.  [email: DCFWS.FOLLOWUP@ct.gov  ATTENTION Aaron Wiebe, or phone (860) 653-8059 or (800) 273-2293].

{Wilderness School students after reaching summit of winter peak climb}

Wilderness School Follow-Up Students on the Summit of Mt. Monadnock, NH


Follow-Up Contact From the Wilderness School:

Contact between the student and the Wilderness School is expected, and students have choices of the type of contact they wish to have.  Below is the minimum level of contact agencies and students may expect from the Wilderness School.

  • Following the 20-Day or 5-Day Expedition, students will receive a copy of their crew address list and a copy of their Student Contract.
  • Students will receive newsletters for one year (they are encouraged to contribute).
  • Follow-Up Courses and Activities, including: 

The Wilderness School Reunion, to which all alumni, agency staff, and family members are invited, is held each fall.  Students will receive a notice of the Reunion for two years following their 20-Day or 5-Day Expeditions.

{Wilderness School annual reunion}

{Students attending a WS program}

{Large group initiative game at annual reunion}  

Student Follow-Up Courses
Short courses of one and two days in length are offered in the fall, winter, and spring for participants of 20-Day, 5-Day or Alumni Expeditions.  Follow-Up courses include rock climbing, canoeing, backpacking, or caving opportunities.  In the winter, students have the opportunity to experience new challenges such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter camping, and animal tracking.

           {Cross country skiers on a winter program}

{Preparing to enter a small entrance of a cave, and a new adventure}

{A program rock climber preparing for a key move }

Student/Agent/Family Courses
Courses designed specifically to involve parents or guardians and other family members (13 years and above), and Referring Agents, are offered during the Follow-Up year.  These usually involve hiking, group activities, snowshoeing or skiing, and animal tracking in the winter.  These courses are intended to support relationships between students and significant adults or family members.

{A Wilderness School alumni holding his graduation day picture years before}

A Wilderness School 20-Day Expedition Alumni (and his graduation day photo)

Regional Follow-Up Courses:
Wilderness School staff occasionally travel to program sites we have developed near major referring communities, e.g., Hartford, New Haven, Eastern Connecticut and Stamford/Danbury.  One-day courses may be conducted for students, agents, and parents, and are intended to bring greater accessibility to Wilderness School Follow-Up experiences.

Special Courses:
For Expedition Students:  Leadership programs that are longer (3-5 days) and located in more challenging mountain environments are offered each year.  Students must display an appropriate level of motivation and responsibility to be considered for the course, and must be recommended by program staff.


Students from previous years may attend under-enrolled Follow-Up courses.  These students may require updated enrollment forms in order to attend Follow-Up beyond their year of enrollment.


{Program canoeing activity on a sunny morning}

{Portaging a canoe down a trail, with boat held on students}

{A group of canoes huddles up for a conversation in the middle of a lake}

Outward Bound and National Outdoor Leadership School Scholarships:
Assistance in receiving scholarships to Outward Bound (OB) as well as the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) can be provided as available.
Progression to 20-Day Expeditions:
Students who have experienced success in the 5-Day Expedition model may choose to apply for admission to the 20-Day Expedition.  All pertinent enrollment policies would be required in order to be re-enrolled to a different component of the Wilderness School. 
{Wilderness School students having just graduated}
Access to Other Wilderness School 1-Day Short Courses:
Eligible 5-Day Expedition students (DCF committed youth who are appropriate for Independent Life Skills services, Family With Service Needs Youth) may choose to participate in varying programs under the Wilderness School DCF Prevention Programs and Outreach Programs.   These consist of 1-Day courses that are comparable to Follow-Up Programs.

   {Crew graduation picture}  

{Student entering a cave entrance in the ground}

{Ropes course activity during Follow Up}

  {Celebrating success at a graduation banquet dinner}   {Girls having graduated their 20-Day Expedition}   {Breaking camp on a chilly morning}
Alumni Expeditions:
Wilderness School alumni up to eighteen years of age are eligible for Alumni Expeditions occasionally scheduled parallel to 20-Day and 5-Day programs. 
Alumni Expeditions are a special exception to the Wilderness School standard program calendar, and are intended to provide continued opportunities for positive youth development, allowing previous participants of the Wilderness School to remain involved in an experiential model emphasizing their growth and development.
                    {Mist rising off of the water}

Content Last Modified on 8/17/2011 10:03:02 AM