In order to provide families with an opportunity to share a SOAR adventure together we have developed the "Family Weekend". Parents and children have an opportunity to learn more about themselves and each other, through activities, adventures and round table discussion topics like communication, behavior management and self-esteem development. The activity for the Family Weekend Course is whitewater rafting.*
The weekend begins at Balsam Base at 5:00 pm on Friday and ends at 2:00 pm on Sunday. Before the start of the program, a survey will be mailed to each family soliciting input regarding topics of interest. Some may include: behavior management strategies, advocacy skills, conflict resolution, and preferred learning styles.
* Student Must Weigh at least 60 pounds to participate in Whitewater Rafting
PARENT FOCUS: Parents spend time discussing topics of interest with Jonathan Jones, SOAR's Executive Director and/or John Willson, Director of LD and AD/HD Services. Roundtable discussions and activity sessions create a forum for sharing, growing, playing, and learning.
STUDENT FOCUS: Students participate in all aspects of a regular SOAR weekend with opportunities to play and work with their peers, as well as their parents. Introductory activities, group games, initiatives, and opportunities for fellowship create an environment conducive for open discussions.
FAMILY FOCUS: Families enjoy opportunities for interactions on selected group games and activities, as well as whitewater rafting on the exciting Nantahala River. Each family will have their own boat with a guide. The weekend closes with games and activities for the entire family.
FAMILY PACKET: Upon acceptance into the course, families will receive a packet of information which includes a gear list, overview of activities, and a planning packet. Families will make choices regarding areas of interest. These include, but are not limited to: communication issues, sibling interactions, transition planning, organization skills, problem solving techniques, self-esteem development, team building, exploring family roles, and goal setting.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Parents are encouraged to make accommodations nearby while students are supervised overnight in the shelters at Balsam Base. A list of area motels and Bed and Breakfast options will be provided in the Family Packet. Balsam, Waynesville and Maggie Valley have many Log Cabin rentals, Historical Inns and Bed and Breakfasts with national reputations. Please contact our local Chamber of Commerce, at (828)456-3021, for more information.
PARTICIPANTS: Families with youth 8-18 identified with a learning disability or diagnosed
with attention deficit disorder. An ability
to enjoy the
outdoors is a must.
Instructors: Each is a highly trained professional with degree work in special education, outdoor education, secondary education, therapeutic recreation or counseling, along with a deep understanding of our youth and the adventure experiences we facilitate.
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING: Top priority to the SOAR staff, this essential element is planned into every program activity. Social, physical, and emotional security are continual considerations.
FEE SCHEDULE: $1,000 per family of four, each additional youth is $150. A registration fee of $150 for the weekend should be mailed with the registration form. The balance is due one month prior to the start of the weekend.
APPLICATION: After receiving the registration form, a complete application will be mailed to first time participants. An online application is available at www.soarnc.org for your convenience. Applications for SOAR Alumni are on file; however, we ask for an updated application yearly.
TRANSPORTATION: Round trip transportation between the Asheville Airport or the Waynesville bus station and Balsam Base is available upon request. Families will travel in fifteen-passenger vans to and from the Nantahala River.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: All expedition equipment will be furnished with the exception of personal clothing, gear, and sleeping bag. This includes a wetsuit, if necessary, for whitewater rafting. Upon acceptance, the Family Packet will include a gear list.
5/10 - 5/12
Students: 10 families
Tuition:$1,000 for famliy of 4
(Each additional youth - $250)
Bring a Friend and Earn $100 SOAR Credit.
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NC Base Camp (828) 456-3435
P.O. Box 388, Balsam, NC 28707
Philosophy: SOAR believes all individuals identified with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) possess inherent talents and gifts. These abilities can mean incredible success in adulthood once these students negotiate the challenging obstacles of childhood, adolescence, and a traditional education system, usually unable to respond to individual learning styles.
Therefore, the SOAR model is based on two fundamental principles. First, youth with LD and AD/HD flourish when they are encouraged to focus on their strengths in an experiential setting. The second principle acknowledges that success can be generalized by encouraging our students to develop and utilize strategies, enabling them to compensate for those challenging characteristics of LD and AD/HD. To this end, SOAR staff strive to ensure success for each student across a wide range of experiences. Such success, in turn, builds essential self-esteem and self-confidence.
Based on these two foundations, SOAR participants develop problem solving skills, effective communication strategies, increased self-awareness, and social skills. Program activities include a broad base of wilderness adventure experiences that empower students to make healthy choices, learn more about themselves, overcome challenges, and establish relevance from these experiences to other aspects of their life.
SOAR's Specialty Courses are open to SOAR alumni and students with the maturity and experience level to be successful on the course. Acceptance is conditional on the approval of the course director. Most specialty courses are led by one of SOAR's year-round staff including Richard Peters, John Willson and Joe Geier.
SOAR’s programs are designed to allow students the opportunity to increase their independence while away from home. Independence is gained through self-motivation and life skills instruction. With this in mind, we involve our students in many decision making processes, such as setting individual goals, developing group guidelines, as well as trip and meal planning. This also comes into consideration when developing SOAR’s communication policy, detailed in our Parent Handbook.
SOAR is dedicated to serving the needs of individuals with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) and is proud to be the finest: