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July 11, 2011
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Meet Your Merchant: The Monarch Center

In 1995, while working with at-risk youth in residential treatment, we were looking for a way to help those youth in a way that removed the walls and limitations of traditional treatment and would bring them into the outdoors - with its inherent health and dynamic challenges.

We opened our business in 1996 (then called Trailhead Wilderness School and located on the Front Range) and began facilitating nine-day expeditions. We quickly became a Wilderness Therapy Program, running 365 days a year with an average length of stay of 45 days.

During the past 15 years, we have integrated the healing qualities of the outdoors in our interventions with the young people we work with, and also emphasized the integration of family and community. We have experienced that youth have a much higher rate of success (academically, socially and with addictions) when the family and community form a strong circle of support around them.

We offer Adolescent Counseling/Mentoring, Family Interventions and Group Expeditions such as the Rites of Passage Series offered this summer. These are a series of three expeditions to various locations such as a Navajo Ranch in Monument Valley, a wolf sanctuary in Southwest Colorado and a horse sanctuary in South Dakota.

Each expedition incorporates community service, cultural or environmental immersion and education as well as emphasizing the values of personal responsibility, communication and leadership.

We learned that it is important to diversify our offerings. Prior to the recession we were strictly a Wilderness Therapy Program, with a tuition of more than $10,000 a month. Our program now is an extension of what has been proven to work over the years but modified to include shorter-term and less expensive experiences.

Additionally, we used to market to youth from all over the U.S. and Europe; our emphasis now is to be locally focused which will enable us to provide ongoing support if needed.

Being patient, checking references using the 360 degree approach and, ultimately, listening to our instincts.

We have earned a reputation of providing world-class personal and family healing opportunities to our clients. We intend to continue to inform the local community of our services and build our reputation in the Roaring Fork Valley as successfully as we did on the Front Range. Furthermore, we are creating a non-profit arm and looking forward to the collaboration with other organizations this will bring.

1. Family and community oriented population

2. Active/outdoors oriented population

3. A community that embraces progressive and unique ideas and businesses.

4. Ultimately, it is a fabulous place to both run a business and raise a family.


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 11, 2011 11:08AM Published Jul 11, 2011 11:06AM Copyright 2011 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.