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The Practical Side of Love in Recovery

Young men in recovery in Jupiter, FL

Central to our program is the time our patients spend in the wild woods and waters of South Florida, home to a stunning variety of native plants and animals. The natural world is the perfect backdrop for the change in perspective and behavior the men of Voyage need to experience lasting recovery from addiction.

Our staff roster is stacked with a wide range of talents and expertise, and we’re grateful to have a team that's keen to upgrade their skills and support each other extending their abilities to meet our patients needs, both clinically and experientially. Since Voyage first opened its doors we have had a Wilderness First Responder on our team, but in May several more of our staff members upgraded their skills and became Wilderness First Aid certified.

We looked for a company that mirrored our approach in their mission. When we spoke with the folks at the Florida Outdoor Academy, they were excited about the experiential programming we do and immediately connected us with Garrett. Garrett is a Wilderness EMT, Geo Medic, Wilderness First Aid/Responder instructor, and also kind, smart, and immediately recognized that love and practicality rule the staff at Voyage. 

Over the course of two days, first at our office then in Jonathan Dickinson Park, our team including Executive Director Kevin Bandy, Director of Experiential John Dornellas, Operations Supervisor Frank Forte, BHT Supervisor David Breen, and a few behavioral health technicians, became certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Garrett taught our team how to prepare, assess and survive in the wild

We learned:

  • How to prepare for excursions, what sort of items to always pack with us, and what kind of precautions we should always take;

  • How to assess a crisis in the wilderness, such as heat-related injuries, sprains and strains, burns, soft tissue injuries like punctures or lacerations, head trauma, fractures, spinal cord injuries and more;

  • How to treat and survive, including how to plan for rescue, administering CPR, bandaging soft tissue injuries or stabilize fractures, and how to lift and move someone who has been injured.

For our team, it goes beyond being prepared for anything. Having our staff know how to assess and administer first aid no matter the injury or environment gives our whole team greater confidence in each other and themselves. A team that can immediately respond to any crisis, whether it’s a physical injury or emotional distress, is invaluable to the men of Voyage.

Exploring the woods and waters of South Florida, it’s easy to show our patients the beauty that’s all around us; our experiential adventures show our men that they possess an inner strength beyond anything they ever believed. Our special mix of experiential and therapy helps prepare our patients with the tools they need to meet the physical challenges of the natural environment and the internal challenges of their own mental and emotional world.

The experience of becoming Wilderness First Aid certified was about the practical side of love, which is something we teach our men. 

We learned how to perform first aid using just the things we might have available to us—dive fins, pole spears, tarps, and clothing, as well as things from the natural environment like palm fronds and cedar bark—and they became tools of help and healing. Using what we have is an important metaphor for recovery. Internalizing the Twelve Steps, using our sponsors, relying on our recovery community, God, and meditation—these things become tools of help and healing with the right knowledge and training for how to use them.

Being prepared is about taking consideration of others, being aware of our own limits, and seeking knowledge to answer questions versus just winging it. Our choice to offer Wilderness First Aid training to our staff was because they wanted it and were eager to support our men in this way, and because we wanted our staff to be ready to love our patients the right way, with care and consideration.

Voyage Recovery provides addiction rehabilitation and treatment to young adult men. Our program is a careful blend of experiential and evidence-based therapies that help men identify their strengths and weaknesses, find their purpose and passion, and build a meaningful life free from drugs and alcohol. We are so proud to offer a staff that is ready, willing, and able to show men the love and support they need to achieve lasting recovery.

Call us today to find out if we’re right for you or someone you care about (772) 245-8345.


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