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This fundraiser ended on 10/15/10

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This is our team page for the dedicated group or racers running the Chicago Marathon and helping to raise funds for CAT in the process.

Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) is the only organization in Chicago, and one of the only organizations in the country, to use a Wilderness Therapy model in an urban setting. The field of Adventure Therapy is rooted in the tradition of experiential education, which in turn has been described as “learning by doing, with reflection.” In the early 1990’s, therapist Mike Gass modified this model for therapeutic use. Adventure Therapy uses concrete activities in a group setting as the medium for therapeutic work. CAT programming uses outdoor activities involving expeditionary skills in the city.
Specifically, Chicago Adventure Therapy helps youth have a lasting positive impact on their communities and become healthy adults by teaching effective social skills, increasing participants’ sense of possibility, and fostering a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility.
We directly engage urban youth in outdoor activities using the underutilized outdoor resources in Chicago. Currently, we use rock climbing, kayaking, navigation, and cycling as the media for transformation. The outdoor and expeditionary skills involved in these sports lend themselves well to developing and reflecting on important life skills including problem-solving, effective communication, appropriate trust, and reliability and accountability. Participating in these activities in the city also opens resources and communities that would otherwise be closed to our youth.
CAT intentionally partners with area nonprofits serving youth, offering our expertise and programming as an adjunct to therapeutic or youth development initiatives. In the spring of 2009 CAT offered our first climbing program, working with youth from Lake View Academy Alternative High School. One of the young men involved in the program set a goal of reaching the top of every rope over the 5 weeks; but got stuck at the crux of the first climb he tried. He explained to the CAT clinician who was belaying him that he was scared of falling, even though he knew he was on belay. He decided to practice falling. When he climbed that first rope again, he stretched a little farther for the handhold after the crux, knowing that his belayer would catch him if he fell. He made it to the top of the rope. At the end of the program, his principle told the Executive Director that this young man had worked hard to secure an internship in film; and stated that up to this point she had not seen him stretch for something he wanted. She attributed the change in his behavior and outlook to the climbing program. We believe his climbing experience gave him the self-confidence and the trust in his support network to take the risk of falling in order to stretch for his goal. When Executive Director Andrea Knepper talked with this young man in the fall of 2009, he had secured an after-school job where he had the internship, and was loving it.
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