Evolving Momentum
A New Era of Young Adult Therapy

Momentum has significantly evolved in recent years, and we are deeply committed to addressing our community's dynamic needs. This evolution, more than just a name change, reflects profound programmatic shifts.

Informed by research, best practices in young adult therapy, and feedback from students and families, we've adjusted our programming to better prioritize the dynamic interests, development, and well-being of our participants.

Continually assessing our offerings ensures to determine what is working well and where there’s room for growth allows us to improve our program and better serve our participants.

Change Driven By Data & Student Interests

Our Evolution At A Glance:

Momentum Then

  • 40% Campus-Based, 60% Adventure-Based
  • Strictly Employee-Designed Programming
  • Strict No Digital Devices Policy
  • Students Are Provided With Clothing/Gear

Momentum Now

  • 70% Or More Campus-Based, 30% Optional Nature-based
  • Self-Determined Challenge By Choice Programming
  • Intentional Tech Integration Program
  • Students Can Bring Own Clothing/Gear Based On Suggestions

Momentum Then

40% Campus-Based, 60% Adventure-Based

When we opened, one of the foundational goals of our program design was to offer a compelling alternative to the common, expedition-based programs in the field.

We began as a hybrid outdoor program that combined 2 core elements:

Momentum Then: 40% Campus-Based

For three days a week, participants engaged in a variety of activities within a campus setting.

This included academics, individual and group therapy, culinary skills training, yoga, and essential life skills training, all supported by modern dorm living facilities.

During these three days, daily activities occurred on campus, all cooking occurred in a commercial kitchen, and all meals were eaten in an indoor dining hall.

  • Spent 3-days per week on-campus
  • Modern dorm living facilities, cooking in a commercial kitchen, eating in a dining hall
  • Academics, individual and group therapy, culinary skills training, yoga, and essential life skills training


Momentum Then: 60% Adventure-Based

The remaining four days each week were dedicated to outdoor adventures.

Alternating between four-day backpacking expeditions and a variety of adventure activities like day hikes, canoeing, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, whitewater rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, and other outdoor skills, the program offered an immersive outdoor experience for young adults seeking to reconnect with the natural world.

  • Spent 4 days per week on an outdoor adventure
  • Camping in tents, cooking over camp stoves, eating around the campfire
  • Backpacking, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, whitewater rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing

Momentum Now

70% Or More Campus-Based, 30% Nature-Based (Optional)

Over the 6.5 years since Momentum's inception, the preferences and needs of young adults have significantly evolved, notably in the last 2-3 years due to and following COVID.

To align with these shifts, Momentum has significantly adapted its programming, underscoring our commitment to effectively serving our young adult community.

Momentum Now: 70% Or More Campus-Based

  • More Time On Campus: Students choose a dorm room/bed when they arrive, and that is their personal space throughout the program. Instead of only 3 nights indoors, the students spend a minimum of 5 nights in the dorm. The dorm is a modern building with AC/Heat, bathrooms, showers, etc. The other 2 nights have other options (such as glamping or camping) that the group may choose to engage in.
  • More Campus-Based Activities: In recent years, we have added more variety to our on-campus activities, including expressive arts, restorative time, creativity time, mindfulness, and gardening, to our campus programming, enriching the on-site experience for our participants.
  • Greater Emphasis on Culinary & Life Skills: Building on the existing culinary and life skills aspects of our program, we've enriched this area with more time dedicated to this skills training and an expanded curriculum to better prepare our participants for independence in adulthood.
  • Making Time for Fun & Play in the Schedule: Recognizing the importance of downtime and play, we've restructured our schedule to open up opportunities for the students to be creative and choose fun activities to add to our growing list. Student ideas and feedback have led to more activities in the schedule. Having fun and engaging in play is important for us all.
  • Flexible Clothing/Gear Policy: Students have the option of bringing their own clothing and gear needed for the program experience. Or, they could choose to arrive with the clothes on their backs and we will supply everything they need. During the admissions process, we provide a detailed list (with examples) of the clothing and gear they will need for their time at Momentum.
  • Intentional Tech Integration: In the past, we asked students to check their digital devices out the door, cutting tech cold turkey for the duration of their stay with us. Now, the focus aims to foster digital wellness and a healthier relationship with technology. It helps students use tech as a tool that supports their mental and physical wellness rather than solely a distraction or coping mechanism.

Momentum Now: 30% Nature-Based (Optional)

  • Introduced a Challenge by Choice Approach: Replacing employee designed adventure/expedition weekends, this newer model empowers students to design their weekly schedule, choosing from both adventure and non-adventure activities. Individual students also have additional choice within these activities, if the group democratically chooses an activity that they are not ready for, they can opt-out and do something else while their group engages in the activity.
  • Reduced the Wilderness Adventure Component: Responding to student feedback, backpacking trips are now optional, student-requested, and student-planned, focusing on shorter, 2-day excursions. Any backpacking trips are scheduled only at the request of the students, and the students choose the location and create the itinerary of the trip. Backpacking trips, if chosen, are 2-day trips.
  • Diversified Non-Wilderness Outdoor Activities: To diversify our offerings, we've added optional activities that allow our students to spend time outside without leaving campus. These activities include disc golf, volleyball, basketball, equine rehabilitation, and more time at the on-campus Nature Center.

The “Why” Behind These Changes

Redefining the Growth Zone

The driving force behind these programmatic changes is our commitment to keeping students within their personal “growth zone.”

Over the years, and largely as a result of the post-COVID era, the dynamic between the “growth zone” and the “flood zone” has shifted significantly, necessitating these adaptations to ensure that what we offer remains in the sweet spot for personal growth.

Central to this approach is our Challenge By Choice model, an experiential learning strategy that motivates students to venture out of their comfort zones to tackle challenges. This model underlines the importance of voluntary participation and empowers students to choose their engagement level, facilitating growth within the “growth zone.”

In our Comfort Zone, we are unchallenged.

It is a space that feels safe, with low risk and minimal potential for consequence so we can feel at ease. At best, our Comfort Zone is a space that can aid in regulation, where we can rest and gather strength before or after a challenge.

However, if we stay too long in our Comfort Zone, we may become complacent or unmotivated to change.

In our Growth Zone, we are actively and intentionally undertaking challenges.

Here, we are able to regulate the thoughts, emotions, and sensations we may experience. There is some risk and the potential for consequences in this zone, yet we have the skills and tools to navigate these safely; this can be matched with feelings of excitement, increased energy, and motivation.

People experience peak performance when there is a moderate level of stress, so the Growth Zone is the space in which we are most able to learn and grow. Here, we can safely begin to take risks, be vulnerable, be curious/open/flexible, ask for help, and be receptive to empathy or support from others.

In our Flood Zone, we have moved out of a regulated state.

In this space we are no longer able to process the thoughts and feelings, and we move more towards automatic reactions and fight, flight, and freeze tendencies.

There is the perception of high risk and likelihood of consequence in the challenges we face here, and this overwhelms our ability to cope.

Finding the Right Balance

In order to navigate these different zones, and make decisions that support our regulation and growth, we need to know our own boundaries and limits; we need to be able to recognize when the pressure has become too great and have strategies to care for ourselves and navigate our relationships in a way that allow us to manage the stress. All aspects of our improved program is designed to support young adults through this process.

We Appreciate Your Questions & Feedback

As we move forward, we continue to seek feedback and evaluate our services to ensure they meet the ever-changing needs of our clients.

For those interested in more detailed information about any specific change, or the rationale behind our rebranding efforts, we are more than willing to provide additional resources and insights.