The idea of wilderness programs like Trails Carolina is to guide ‘troubled’ children and teens via a holistic approach. But what breaks the heart the most is that such hopeful therapy programs can cause horror. Paving back to the history of the industry, horrors weren’t always a thing. Rather, camps were widely known to be a catalyst for change. Even today, there exist many such camps designed well enough for the participants and carry out everything safely. But we cannot say the same for Trails Carolina.
Instead of being the solace and transformer, Trails Carolina held onto a dangerous environment for participants. Well, we are specifically talking about the Trails Wilderness Program death of a 16-year-old boy, Ethan who lost his life in the camp. This incident has to be a much-needed wake-up call, hinting at the reality of the whole industry. Perhaps, there’s a desperate need to re-think about malpractices and other safety measures for the children.
More on Trails wilderness program death
Trails Carolina has recently been swarmed with legal consequences and public outbursts, following many death incidents of participants. Alongside the tragic death of innocent children, lies a darker reality of mental and physical abuse — according to ex-participants and ex-employees. Following multiple severe allegations, parents have also been questioning the legitimacy of Trails Carolina.
One specific Trails Wilderness program death case was prompted after a high-profile case of Ethan Thompson surfaced. Well, Ethan identified as a 16-year-old boy and was appointed in the Utah desert for the program. Parents of the victim allege that their kid wasn’t taken enough care of, and eventually passed away because of heat exhaustion. This allegation made people realize how negligent the camp is towards basic safety protocols.
Trails Wilderness Program Deaths: What Happened?
The parents of Ethan have been shocked to the core. They have even prompt questions, which mainly hint at the poor safety measures and ignorant staff. It was also said that Ethan was ill and had signs of distress days before his tragic demise. He had clear signs of an unwell body, yet was not offered adequate medical care. On the contrary, the poor boy was forced to undergo tough physical and emotional tasks as a part of his program. All of these allegations have been taken into consideration, commencing a criminal investigation against the camp.
The story of Ethan Thompson made news headlines around the summer season in 2022. Most of them were straight to the point, notifying of the 16-year-old teenager who had lost his life in a wilderness therapy program. Well, Ethan was said to be in the Utah expedition and went alongside other camp members. However, fate was nothing more than a tragedy for the teenager, while Ethan dying in camp was the least expected. Regardless, the actual reason for the Trails Wilderness Program deaths reason is still a mystery. Simply put, the cause of death is unknown to the public. Meanwhile, parents of Ethan suggest the reason to be sheer negligence that caused heat exhaustion. And because most of it is still a mystery, the incident sparked a huge controversy. Both Ethan’s relatives and the general public have been asking for transparency and better answers.
Ethan Thompson’s tragic death teaches something important
Wilderness therapy programs happen to be a great replacement for traditional treatment forms. Both are extremely distinct, so anyone who’s not receiving an effective outcome from the traditional form can choose the other. More precisely, wilderness programs are more inclined toward nature. On such camps, participants are made to hike and undergo outdoor activities in teams. Many believe that outdoor challenges alongside therapy sessions combine to become what’s best for troubled teens. Contrary to the belief, camps may have something that’s barely expected, such as ‘death’.
Well, Ethan Thompson’s story is real and teaches an important morality. It also hints majorly at the rough sessions, which should be overtaken by something more empathetic. That is because conventional methods can have a physical and emotional toll. If replaced with a compassionate approach, it could be a game changer. Additionally, the dangers of camp and lingering unprofessionalism have finally caught the limelight. Now, this can be the right start for wilderness therapies to change their protocols.
Trails Wilderness Program Death points out what needs to change
The holistic approach of wilderness programs set high hopes for troubled teens. However, allegations after allegations made against Trails hints at the need for some change. This may surprise you, but many programs are left unregulated. So, the first thing to not overlook anymore is the regulations. Meaning that camps are functional with a lack of safety protocols. Likewise, the qualifications or training period of staff does not even meet the bare minimum at most times. With stricter regulations and enough Staff Training and Certification, the system could become better.
Furthermore, there should be a better way to medically assess the participants. Each must receive enough attention and care, especially when their health is compromised. In addition, parents and the participants should receive enough knowledge about the camp. Things like the program’s risks and benefits should be shared beforehand. And finally, in case of mishappenings, enough transparency and accountability should be there.
Wilderness therapies are meant to help people transform, instead of being the reason for their death. While unconfirmed, many allegations suggest the camp to be problematic. Moreover, this Trails Wilderness Program death incident paints a bigger picture. That is the need for re-evaluation of the industry, its safety protocols, and so on. In a nutshell, the story of Ethan should be a reminder that it is high time now for more transparency and accountability. Only then will the industry be able to make a good comeback, with enough faith (regained) from parents and participants alike.