U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) is providing its teenagers with an opportunity for personal growth, combined with the values, traditions and structure of Army Special Operations Forces. Leaving the confines of four walls in traditional therapy, this program is anything but conventional.

Partnered with a company called Panergic Life, these young family members will receive a week-long submersion into nature and the wilderness. They will eat, sleep,and live in the woods in the middle of the hot North Carolina summer.

In the Army, schools such as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) and the U.S. Army Jungle Warfare School, teach and train ARSOF Soldiers resiliency.

To an extent, teens volunteering for this life-changing experience will have a similar experience.

“I’d like to think that this program is like Military Realistic Training (MRT) for teens, but better,” said Angela Latham, USASOC’s Family Programs Management Division director.

Taking a clinical approach to the outdoors, licensed therapists and former Special Forces Operators will work together in the woods, a setting free from modern-day distractions, and put USASOC family teenagers through stages and exercises of healthy habits, teamwork and growth.

The goal of the program is to empower these teenagers and give them the self-awareness to recognize the level of control they have over their actions and reactions.

They will endure exercises and hikes that are designed to teach them teamwork, as well as challenging individual exercises created to test their personal resolve.

This program is part of a USASOC initiative, created to aid in the Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF). The POTFF’s mission is to build and implement a holistic approach to address the pressure on our force by identifying and implementing innovative solutions across the entire USASOC enterprise.

“When I heard and read about this, I thought it would be something interesting and different for kids to do. A lot of times you never know how much you can take until you’re put in situations where you have to perform, particularly in support of others,” said Barry Dugan, USASOC’s Family Programs assistant.

Deployments, permanent change of station and training exercises are some examples of the stresses USASOC families endure. This program provides adolescents with tools, which allow them to cope with these stresses as well as their own physical, cognitive and social pressures.

Interested USASOC family members ages 13 to 17 are invited to participate by contacting the USASOC Family Programs Department. To sign up for the July 15 through 21, session call (910)-432-9203.