Teen Retreat is a week-long outdoor adventure for teens, 15 to 20, impacted by childhood or adolescent cancer. Like all other UKANDU programs, Teen Retreat is 100% free.
In partnership with LEAP, a local non-profit that empowers people overcoming extreme adversity by providing therapeutic wilderness programs, twenty-two teens and young adults travel 53 miles down the Lower Salmon River in individual inflatable kayaks. Teen Retreat allows for a more deliberate exploration of the challenges and experiences facing teens impacted by childhood and adolescent cancer.
Starting in the 90s, Teen Retreat was originally offered as a program within a program during Camp UKANDU, and was offered as a way to recognize the unique needs of adolescents impacted by cancer. Our teen campers have acted as role models to our younger campers from the beginning, and the Teen Retreat became a way for us to share our appreciation for their contribution to Camp UKANDU. Due to the response from those teens over the years, the Teen Retreat became its own unique program in 2009, providing a full weekend of activities and programming that catered to the specific emotional and developmental needs and wants of this age group. Reimagined again in 2017, the Teen Retreat now offers an extension of the “You Can Do!” mantra by presenting opportunities for additional exploration and contemplation of what life looks like as a teenage patient or survivor of cancer. More rigorous outdoor adventures and more intentional reflection during these formative years, this program aims to provide participants with substantive confidence needed to help them confront life as young adults. But as our campers will make clear, “This is not therapy camp!” Like every program UKANDU offers, the teen is rooted in the history of ‘outrageous fun’ that Camp UKANDU started. While there are adults and professionals who come along to play and provide some guidance, any ‘therapy’ that takes place will take place from peer to peer.