Blue Ridge first opened our Footsteps group for pre-teens in 2006, as one of the first wilderness therapy programs to work with this younger adolescent age group. It has always been developmentally focused to fit the needs of 10-14 year-olds, with an emphasis on nurturing these kids through every interaction. Our field staff balance supporting students through tasks while not rescuing them from what needs to be done. In this way, our students develop new skills while having the “safety net” of caring adults. We are a co-ed group led by co-ed field staff. This mirrors the traditional school setting where students develop their communication skills and build healthy relationships with peers and staff of different genders. These young students spend most days backpacking, but every ten days, they get to regroup and spend time at our hybrid base camp, called The Fort.