Inner Roads was founded in 2001 as an independent organization. From 2005 to 2017, it was operated by Youth Homes, a nonprofit organization providing services to children and families in Western Montana.
In 2018, Inner Roads was established as an independent nonprofit entity, developed by the experienced former guides, therapists, and logistics coordinators, with a mission to promote wellness through experiential opportunities and connection with the outdoors. Enthusiastically supported by our community and volunteers, our aim is to provide quality, affordable, and effective intervention for Montana's at-risk teens and their families.
It is our mission to provide disadvantaged youth with affordable outdoor therapeutic experiences that accelerate growth, healing, and empowerment.
Inner Roads is a licensed by the Montana Department of Health & Human Services as an Outdoor Behavioral Program, #500012.
While many families benefit from common services, such as weekly therapy sessions, many more require support and opportunities beyond the capacity of a single professional or office. As the nation seeks further options in therapy, outdoor programs are utilizing clinical studies to create evidence-based therapeutic approaches for teenagers in the backcountry wilderness. Unsurprisingly, studies have found that youth leave these multi-week expeditions with:
improved social & communication skills
strengthened drive & purpose
dedication to the environment and community
decreased high school drop-out rates
a marked reduction in: depression, anxiety, addictive behaviors, criminal activity, & family dysfunction
Our founders’ collective seventeen years of experience in the field of wilderness therapy also aligns with these findings.
"Having worked in the outdoors in a therapeutic setting for over a decade... it seems obvious that wilderness therapy is the most effective form of therapy that exists, seeing as it is focused on building a relationship with something larger than yourself and living in a community with purpose."
Chris Conway, Professional Therapeutic Wilderness Guide
Why Inner Roads?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of therapeutic wilderness programs in the country costs each family approximately $20,000-30,000.
This is due to the application of “for-profit” business models to mental health services, and clearly precludes many of the most dire situations from receiving some of the most effective help.
At Inner Roads, we are unwilling to accept that finances be the deciding factor between barely surviving and thriving as a family. As one of only two nonprofit therapeutic wilderness programs in the country, we intend to ensure that youth in poverty, many of whom experience the most extensive trauma, abuse, neglect, and mental health issues in our nation, are equally able to receive these essential services. We offer 2 high school credits to program graduates to support continued academic success.
Further, we have found that the pristine wilderness areas of Montana are not only ideal for fostering healthy challenges and connection to the environment, but also provide essential access to mental health services for a population who is suffering at some of the highest rates in the nation.