Youth counseling program gives back to forest preserves

Throughout the month of July, a group of youth involved with Adventure Works built benches at three DeKalb County forest preserves: South Branch Prairie in Genoa, Prairie Oaks Forest Preserve in Kingston, and Afton South Prairie in DeKalb.

With support from Adventure Works staff, the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, and a grant from Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP), the group planned, led, and implemented the project. Zachary Davis, 16, of DeKalb, took on the primary leadership role, assisting with grant writing and general project oversight.

The benches serve as a “thank-you” to donors and action groups that have provided land, resources, and time to the forest preserve district. Adventure Works uses the forest preserves on a daily basis, and used this project as a way to give back while building developmental assets for the youth they serve.

The project provided the group with the opportunity to practice leadership, communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills while giving back to the community. In return, they will receive recognition for their actions in the community and may feel more connected through positive interactions with adult community leaders.

Adventure Works is a nonprofit, interactive counseling agency that serves youth ages 6-18 providing individual, family, and group therapy through adventure. A proven alternative or adjunct to talk therapy, services are provided year-round, primarily outdoors, using natural environments to engage clients behaviorally, emotionally, and physically. Founded in 2010, their mission is to assist youth in overcoming challenges and becoming healthy adults through adventure-based counseling.

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