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Unique substance abuse treatment program desperate for new home

An adventure based therapy program for substance abuse is facing a tight deadline to secure a new home.

For 13 years the Shunda Creek Treatment Centre west of Rocky Mountain House has helped people get and stay sober using an adventure therapy model, the only one of its kind in western Canada.

"The biggest thing for me is this place is different from anywhere else, I know lots of places you get thrown in and you get thrown out, to me it felt like nobody really cared," said Colton Rolof, a program alumni.

The current lease will expire in two months and won't be available for renewal. The charity that runs the program said it has located a new site, but needs about $625,000 to purchase it. There is money set aside for the new facility, and the province is funding operations, but so far banks are looking for more assurances.

"In order to maintain the wilderness therapy aspect of the program, we have to stay in a wilderness based facility," said Stephen Harding, another alumni who now works at the centre. "I understand that one has been found and it's a struggle with banks and financing right now."

For Harding, those elements produced life-changing results.

"I learned things like how to be uncomfortable, how to stand in discomfort, learned who I was." Harding said. "The adventure therapy part was really critical."

Both men said the key difference was the sense of connection they got, both from the natural environment but just as importantly, from other participants.

"The connection just to the earth itself, that feeling of being grounded, that's something that a lot of society misses out on," Rolof said. He grew up camping, fishing and hunting but said that was all lost when he was actively using.

Rolof started a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to save the life-changing program, which can be found here.

While adventure therapy programs have been very effective, many have closed in recent years because of increased costs associated with safety and insurance requirements. Top Stories

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