LOA Fund Chair of Directors, Derek Daley, started working as a wilderness therapy field instructor more than a decade ago. As a young field guide Derek was unaware of the high costs of wilderness therapy. In his naiveté he enthusiastically shared his experiences and growing confidence in the power of wilderness therapy to a group who had children or loved ones in need of treatment. His persuasive presentation brought several people to apply for treatment only to find that the high costs associated with intensive therapy in the wilderness were prohibitive. Derek’s surprise and embarrassment sparked a determination to make a difference by finding ways to make wilderness therapy more accessible to economically disadvantaged clients.
After raising $120,000 and providing scholarships for wilderness therapy treatment for several clients, the LOA Fund hosted a charity and fundraising event on Thursday, April 18th in Provo, Utah. The event was well attended and participants heard personal stories from three LOA Fund recipients.
The audience listened attentively as each young man shared pieces of his own story. All three experienced a loss of control over their substance use that resulted in incarceration, destruction of their most valued relationships and the deep loss of personal confidence and identity. Their loved ones knew that they needed help and, without the help of the LOA fund, would have been unable to finance wilderness therapy. The Legacy Outdoor Adventure alumni explained that other rehab options hadn’t worked and that what they gained in the wilderness was what they really needed.
Honor was paid to Nita Hooker, wife of the late Keith Hooker who played a key role in developing risk management practices for wilderness therapy and adventure therapy since its genesis. Nita Hooker and the Hooker family continue to be strong supporters of the field of wilderness therapy, and were major contributors to the scholarships awarded to the young men who spoke at the event.
The final speaker of the evening, Butch Scott, shared the story of his late son Jake who lost the battle of addiction. After maintaining sobriety for 6-months and experiencing the restoration of his confidence, the speaker’s son took a fatal combination of drugs and lost his life. The tragic story grounded the good feelings of the evening with the realization that, for addicts, everyday must include the determination and commitment to holding strong to the principles of sobriety.
The event was catered by “Catering for the Cause” who provides job opportunities to people in recovery and also helps raise money to provide scholarships to financially challenged clients. Many of the employees of Catering for a Cause were alumni from treatment programs who attended the event. The tone and feeling of the event was reflective, optimistic, and had the feeling of a family reunion.
The event was counted as a success by Derek Daley and is the first of many to come.