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Here at In Balance we strive for excellence in all that we do. Same is true of our Outdoor Experiences program. We have developed a program at In Balance that rates among the top outdoor experience programs in the country. This is not just because of the types of trips we do, but rather because of the purpose that each trips serves for our students. 

What we know about the majority of students that we get to work with is that they come to us as wounded, selfish, disenfranchised youth. These trips are meant to connect them: connect them to nature, connect them to each other, connect them to orphans halfway across the world, and ultimately connect them to their higher power. It is by harvesting and rebuilding these connections that we start to heal the wounds, abolish the entitled sense of self, and enfranchise the disenfranchised. 

Our students will get many opportunities to accomplish just this. With the numerous trips we offer we give the students something to look forward to almost every month of the year. 


These trips all are coupled with both the therapeutic and 12-step elements of the Academy. We have found that these trips create many healthy opportunities for therapeutic processing, whether that’s a student facing his fears during a waterfall jump or learning humility from his horse after an all day ride. 


Below you will find a brief description of each trip as well as some student testimonials. Please read through it, so you can get a better idea of what your son will experience throughout his stay at In Balance.


Anchor 1



"Being of service in a war-torn, impoverished country made me really grateful for what I have in life and made me appreciate the little things. Changed my life."



Over the many years that In Balance Academy has been open, we have done numerous international expeditions. We have traveled to Costa Rica, Nepal, Peru, and Tanzania. The formula for success on these trips is simple: we bring a therapist, experienced expedition staff, and peer mentors that are working a strong program.  These trips are based around the idea of Voluntourism, which for us, normally involves cultural experiences, seeing places of worth, safari, trekking, and service.  We try and combine history, nature, fellowship, adventure, and service all into a single experience.  It should be noted that these trips are not considered a handout, in order for a student to become eligible for one of these experiences there is a considerable amount of work that he needs to do first.  This is including but not limited to: reading 2-3 books on the area of interest, completing multiple essays both before and upon returning, planning and participating in various fundraising activities to help augment the cost of their own trip and for a donation to the orphanage we serve. But most importantly they must be working a strong program here at In Balance. You can imagine the amount of risk that we as an organization accept when doing these types of trips. We only bring the students who are in an appropriate place in their treatment. He needs to be a leader in his milieu, be current and excelling in his academic work, and living a life of recovery and integrity, so as to warrant us trusting him halfway across the world outside of ranch setting.  These trips are not given, but earned. 

Here is a student testimonial from our trip to Kenya/Tanzania in August: 
"Africa was the trip of a lifetime. It was absolutely amazing. The things that I saw and got to experience were beyond incredible. From being 8 feet away from a male lion sleeping underneath a tree in Kenya, to being on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, to falling asleep with a little boy from the orphanage on my chest under a tree. These are just some of the many wonderful things that I got to enjoy while I was there. If it were not for the support I received from In Balance and my parents, I would have never been able to experience this.

Africa was a life altering trip. Something inside me changed upon returning to the United States. I was, and am, filled with an immense amount of gratitude. I discovered that I took the small things in life for granted. Small things such as water pressure in the shower, toilets and toilet paper, quality meat, a washer and dryer, and safe drinking water. All of these are normal parts of our daily living that we tend to forget about through the busy lives that so many of us lead. However,when we stop to think about what we have compared to others, and the lives that we are so blessed to live, we then understand and acknowledge how fortunate we really are.

This trip offered by In Balance helped open my eyes through firsthand experience, transform my values and beliefs for the better, as well as expand my perspective of the world we live in. In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone that is a part of the In Balance team from the bottom of my heart for everything that they have done to make this experience and prospect a reality for me."

Anchor 2


of the Spirit


"Seeing so many people who are in recovery, because they want to be, because it made their life better, was really inspiring and made  me think that maybe they are on to something with this whole recovery thing."


Here at In Balance Academy, staff are always trying to explore new ideas as a means to ignite and foster the passion for recovery in these young men as a means to propel them forward from addiction to enriched, sober lives. A facet of the experience we offer them comes by the way of traveling to spiritual retreats full of like minded individuals looking for a way out of the addiction problem- one that really works. We plan on doing four Fellowship of the Spirit conferences this year. This will allow each one of our students the opportunity to participate in at least one of these incredible experiences.

These weekends are experienced amongst people from all different walks of life who have found a common solution by way of working the steps from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Speakers from various parts of the country are flown in to share their experience, strength and hope with all who participate, and panels throughout the weekend are most helpful in providing instructions with how to work and implement the steps into a daily way of living. 

“Fellowship of the Spirit west challenged me to look deeper into myself to make a commitment to really doing this thing, this time not for my parents but for myself."- In Balance Student 

Here is a student testimonial from the Fellowship of the Spirit Conference in Los Angeles, CA: 

"Before I went on the trip to LA, I was on the fence about the NA and AA program, whether or not I wanted to be sober, and what I thought about sobriety. This trip has changed all of that for me. As soon as we got to the hotel, people started to come up to greet us, talk to us, and make sure we felt welcome at the convention. This was a big surprise for me, because I have never been anywhere where people were so kind and welcoming. Throughout the weekend, I have learned new things about myself. I tried to take in a meeting every day, a choice that I made, not that staff made for me. This surprised me at first, because there were other things going on that I could have done, instead of going to a meeting. I chose to go to the meetings because they were inspiring, and for once, I genuinely cared about what the speakers had to say. 

Another thing that happened on the trip was I realized how much I am able to accept myself now. I had a little incident on the dance floor while I was dancing with one girl, and I surprised myself with how I reacted. I was also able to go up and just talk to anybody I wanted to, something that a lack of confidence had previously prevented me from doing. 

Lastly, this trip has shown me just how much fun you can have in recovery. I think this trip was more fun than I have had in the past few years. Just being in the atmosphere where everybody was achieving a common goal, everybody was happy, and most importantly, everybody was kind to one another, has been a major factor in helping me decide what I want to do when I leave the ranch. I feel that the saying "My worst day clean is still better than my best day using" applies in this situation. Even when I wasn't doing anything on the trip, I was still having more fun than when I was using.  

In conclusion, this trip has completely changed my mind about what I want to do when I leave the ranch. If for nothing else, I want to stay sober just so I can keep going into those rooms, meeting new people, and helping others along with their recovery. Of course, I want to stay sober for myself. I think that this trip has shown me all the great things that AA/NA has to offer, what a clean life would be like, and what I can have if I want to take it. And I want it all. "


Anchor 3


"The horses and the horse trek was one of my favorite experiences sober. Being out there with my horse, without a worry in the world at that moment was so serene and peaceful."



This all day trail ride is a unique and amazing adventure for the students. Utilizing the natural challenges involved in trekking with horses, students bond with their horses and work through whatever ongoing issues they may be having with their horses. As stated in the Equine Therapy section, horses reflect our inner relationship struggles and in correcting how we come across to our horse, we are practicing improving our relationships with others. Students are asked by their horses to be aware, honest, genuine, caring and assertive leaders; truly what we hope they will become in all aspects of their lives! Another activity during the day helps students get back in touch with their parents’ deep and unconditional love. Often in the midst of the acting out and addiction, distances may have grown.  

Anchor 5


"I didn't think that I could board sober. I was so used to getting high on the ski lift. I didn't realize how much fun snowboarding sober actually was. It was even better than being high, I could remember everything and actually land my jumps."

Anchor 6



During the winter In Balance Academy will take our students on a skiing/snowboarding trip to the White Mountains. This experience is used as an opportunity to build the relationships between our students and their milieus, as well as to cultivate their passion for the outdoors.  We believe that recovery is a program of attraction, therefore, the more we can offer our students these fun, sober activities, the more attractive a life of recovery will become.

But this weekend is not just about fun. It lends itself to create moments of brotherhood, service, and accomplishment. For instance, every trip we offer our advanced skiers the opportunity to go in the advanced group or help with the beginners. Without fail every time we'll see one or two students volunteer to spend the day teaching rather than playing. This creates a special opportunity for both the beginner and the advanced student. The beginner is forced outside their comfort zone, they must let go of ego, remain vulnerable and open to learn. The advanced student has to remain patient and empathetic. Near the end of the day, when the beginner is finally able to navigate the slopes unassisted, there is a shared accomplishment between the two. The advanced skier is elated with feelings of service and pride; while the beginner is grateful and excited to have learned to ski.

Anchor 7




"My favorite trip was the level four trip. I felt like a leader for the first time in a while and felt I was capable of leading others."



In Balance Academy Students will be able to participate in 4 level specific trips while attending the Academy. The level 1 trip is an amazing camping trip in Arizona. The level 2 trip is the amazing aforementioned horse trek. The level 3 leadership trip is run by two of our clinicians and takes place in the White Mountains or another beautiful setting in Northern Arizona. It is a beautiful, serene getaway where the boys can develop leadership skills necessary to transition into the leaders on campus that they are capable of being. Lastly, we offer a level 4 trip, also in Norther Arizona that includes inspirational hikes. The level 4 trip revolves around transformation and how the boys have transformed into healthy, responsible, young adults ready for the next steps in life.  


Anchor 8
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