May We Ask You a Question?
- Would your family like to be part of our Club and Support Group —Wild Hearts Youth/Young Adults Wilderness Excursions “WHY WE...” walk, hike, camp, dance, bike...laugh, cry, rest, sing, share, love, hope....live?
Please let us know if your son or daughter and family would like to participate by emailing us or calling us directly at (503) 810-9100.
Wilderness4Life was inspired by our son Parker & his beautiful dream, it came to life with incredible support & encouragement of family & friends & is now our mission to serve Oregon & Washington teens, young adults & their families in-crisis find hope & healing through our premier Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program Partners.
- Made possible by our wonderful donors, we are able to provide financial assistance through generous grants for families. Our OBH Accredited Wilderness Therapy Program Partners across the nation match our grants 100%—effectively doubling the grants to families & doubling our donors‘ contributions.
- We provide informational resources to families so they may learn about available resources locally and across the country.
- We offer a support group for moms, dads & families called Families of Wild Hearts. These are intimate groups where parents can connect before, during & after their child attends a wilderness therapy program.
- We are most excited about our Wild Hearts program. It is a club for wilderness program graduates/alumni to get together & hike, camp, backpack & just hang out & have fun in a positive environment that reinforces what they learned at “Wilderness.” Wild Hearts is for OR & WA teens/young adults lead by PBJ’s qualified volunteer leaders.
We are Friends of OBH Council; NATSAP & AEE Members; Proud supporters of OBH Center for Research; Dedicated AFSP community partners for suicide prevention; & we strive to raise awareness for Mental Health & Traumatic Brain Injury.
- If you’d like to learn more about us & how to help a teen or young adult in-crisis please call/text at 503-810-9100.
- If you’d like to make a donation & receive a FREE GIFT click here to visit our Donations Page.
- Easily designate us as your preferred charity on Amazon Smile. Click HERE
We look forward to talking with you and to offer hope & healing through “Wilderness.”
Liz & Dan
Parkers Parents & Co-Founders & Team PBJ
#RxOfftheCouch Summer Challenge
A shout out to Ricky, Jake, Debbie, Taylor, Emily, Liz and Oregon Adventure Ministries for participating in the #rxoffthecouch Challenge! And to Derek Daley of Legacy Outdoor Adventures & Juniper Canyon Recovery for making #rxoffthecouch happen!
If you didn’t get your t-shirt yet, let us know and we’ll make sure you do!
“Wouldn’t it be ‘tight’ if we could send just one kid a year to Wilderness?”—Parker
How Do We Help and Who Do We Help?
- We provide financial assistance to Northwest families for their children in-crisis so they may receive care and healing through wilderness therapy programs.
Our grants are designed to help families with financial need so that their child may benefit from the programs and services of our partnering wilderness therapy programs.These are young people ages 9-26 who are struggling with mental, emotional and behavioral challenges.
Our program partners will match our grants 100% for those families that demonstrate financial need and as funds are available. Our goals are to promote the proven effectiveness of wilderness therapy, highlight programs that meet highest standards of quality in the field, advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention and to create a supportive community that encourages a healthful lifestyle and connection with nature.
What is Wilderness Therapy?
- Wilderness therapy or more formally termed--Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare--is a highly comprehensive therapeutic treatment that uses individual therapy, group therapy, adventure therapy, and a family involved approach with immersion in nature as the setting for supportive healing.
It is proven highly effective in the immediate, short and longer term, it is turning young lives around and helping our young and their families heal using newly learned tools and coping strategies that promote self care, self confidence and hope. It is saving lives, saving families and saving our communities, one child at a time
Why is Wilderness Therapy Needed?
- There is a crisis in our communities within our young population that we must come together to help solve.
Families need real support to help their children. Current data (see www.obhcenter.org) shows an alarming number of kids are suffering from underlying feelings of depression and anxiety at not-seen-before levels. There are many reasons for this, and here are the most compelling you have undoubtedly seen on the news, heard about in your community, or experienced in your own family.
Our young are being exposed to very powerful substances that have become widely available and many are self-medicating with these dangerous and addictive street drugs and too-easily-obtained prescription medications. Many kids isolate alone in front of a computer for hours playing highly addictive and numbing video games while their families watch them withdrawal from social connections and activities they used to enjoy.
Our kids are attempting to self-soothe with destructive behaviors such as cutting and other forms of self harm. Our teens may be struggling with gender identity. They may be acting out in response to the torment of being bullied. Or they may become the bully as a way to hide their pain of feeling powerless. They may be having difficulty staying in school, not able to maintain a job or are facing related problems with the legal system. Many are trapped in addictive behaviors without access to tools and effective support to overcome. And they are dying by overdose.
The opioid crisis is real. And sadly, research shows, that the risk of suicide in young people is higher when addiction is involved. What you hear on the news is not an exaggeration. And it affects us all.
- Our kids may even be suffering the adverse and frightening mental health symptoms from undiagnosed traumatic brain injury caused by concussion while perhaps playing for years the sports they love while we parents innocently watched on.
And we all know, too, the overachievers, the straight A students, the star athletes, the life of the party, the empaths, or everyone’s best friend who may be hiding their struggle because of stigma and shame. Perhaps most heartbreaking of all is the tragic suicide death of young people in our own communities.
These are our kids who need our collective support to overcome their heavy challenges so they can prosper in life.
Why did we begin Wilderness4Life?
- Our son Parker is one of those bright lights among us who battled for his life against depression, anxiety, mental health challenges, substance abuse, addiction and the probable damage of multiple sports concussion injuries.
He took his own life to find relief from his suffering at the young age of 23. But in the devastating wake of his death and our profound grief, we are inspired to honor Parker’s legacy and deepest wish by helping other struggling young people and their families--so they may find healing and hope. It was in his heart to always want to help others.
Upon his graduation from an excellent wilderness therapy program, he proclaimed that “...every kid graduating from high school should go to Wilderness.” He went on to say that “...even adults should go!” Then he said, “It saved my life.”
We believe it gave us 5 more years with our son that we would not have had. Wilderness gave him 5 more years of hope.
During one of our last family Sunday dinners, he said, “Wouldn’t it be ‘tight’ to send just one kid a year to Wilderness?”...“Let’s do this--let’s start a foundation.”
And so we did.
—Breanna Bounds Johnson, Artist
The Pine Cone
The Ponderosa Pine is a tree that grows taller than all others in climates that would seem unable to support such life. In our recent history, these trees were landmarks of hope and encouragement to many pioneers coming west on the Oregon Trail.
This pine cone fell from the branch of a mighty Ponderosa growing in arid earth under the central Oregon high desert sun.
The cone's scales follow the same spiral curves as those observed in sunflowers, seashells, and the arms of our Milky Way. This beautiful recurring geometry is described mathematically by the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Numbers, which can be observed within our own bodies and throughout our natural world.
Its symbolism has inspired humanity through time and across civilizations. From ancient Rome to ancient Mesopotamia, it is found in art, architecture, and spiritual symbolism. Osiris--The Egyptian god of transition, resurrection, and regeneration--carried a pine cone staff, and many Hindu deities have been depicted holding a pine cone in their outstretched hand.
The pine cone has been historically associated with enlightenment, spiritual awakening, and the "third eye." The pineal gland is thought to be the physiological center of the "third eye", and resembles a tiny pine cone itself.
A single cone contains seeds that could potentially grow a whole forest of Ponderosa Pines. It opens with the warmth of the sun and closes with the saturation of rain, waiting patiently for favorable conditions.
May the pine cone's beauty and mystery inspire wonder, curiosity, strength, and the sensation of interconnectedness between you and the natural world like is has inspired me.
Breanna B Johnson
- Provide financial assistance to young people and their families in need who may not otherwise afford Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare treatment programs.
- Provide information to families about available therapeutic programs.
- Contribute 20% of all donations to AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
- Create community and support through on-going local events that promote a sense of belonging, a healthful lifestyle and connection to the wilderness.
Accredited Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare programs provide an impactful and rapid first step for our at-risk young people struggling with addiction and related emotional challenges. Most parents don’t even know these therapy programs exist, let alone the huge benefit they provide to our children and families. We want all families to know that there is help, and where they can go to get it.
Sadly, research shows, that the risk of suicide in young people is higher when addiction is involved. That is why we direct 20% of funds raised by the Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation to AFSP. AFSP is doing leading-edge work across our nation to prevent suicide.
Finally, our “Wild Hearts” brings our kids together in local adventure, nature and the outdoors, to provide a positive, sober “community” for our kids. An alternative to the old patterns of life left behind prior to treatment or an alternative to current negative patterns.
If you or someone you care about are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1-800-273-TALK (8255), contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741,
or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
© 2020 Wilderness4Life.org - a Non-Profit Public Charity 501(c)3 Tax ID#81-3500151