SOURCE: Chrysalis School

August 04, 2011 13:30 ET

Chrysalis Adventure Traces Montana Segment of Lewis and Clark Expedition

Five-Day Canoe Trip Serves as Father/Daughter Bonding Experience

EUREKA, MT--(Marketwire - Aug 4, 2011) - More than 30 travelers from Chrysalis School Montana recently retraced 56 miles of the historic expedition made more than 200 years ago by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark in 1803 to explore the uncharted West and find a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Fourteen Chrysalis students, their fathers and a handful of school staffers took part in a June 23-27 canoe adventure trip that retraced part of the explorers' famed expedition.

The Chrysalis group camped four nights along the Upper Missouri River, putting in at Coal Banks Landing, about an hour east of Great Falls, Montana. Their water adventure began some eight hours from Chrysalis, the therapeutic boarding school in northwestern Montana.

"I feel like the father/daughter canoe trip was an adventure with deeper meaning," said Adventure Coordinator Julie Hughes. "I enjoyed watching fathers and daughters hold hands around the campfire, working together to get down the river and help one another around camp. This trip made me appreciate my father more than ever, even though he was 700 miles away."

Chrysalis is located on a 65-acre campus near the Canadian border. The school is designed for girls who have struggled in traditional academic settings.

Founded in 1998, Chrysalis School Montana provides individualized care and therapy that helps girls ages 13 to 18 recover from different types of trauma and family difficulties.

Each year, students from across the United States receive an individualized education at Chrysalis that involves academic subjects, as well as lessons in personal accountability, coping with challenges, effective communication and interpersonal skills.

Outdoor adventures like the Lewis and Clark canoe trip are part of the Chrysalis initiative to teach girls how to live an active, healthy life. Other outdoor trips have involved horseback riding, backpacking and snowboarding.

Chrysalis staff member Carrie Peters describes the Lewis and Clark trip as an experience the fathers and daughters will never forget.

"The father/daughter canoe trip was different than our other adventure trips," said Peters, a Case Manager and member of the Adventure Staff. "It was encouraging and exciting to see the girls be themselves around their fathers. We had girls teaching their dads how to set up tents, how to play fun teenage games and even how to be comfortable talking about difficult topics. The camaraderie that was built over just a few days was wonderful."

With a current capacity of 36 students, Chrysalis has helped hundreds of girls overcome their personal obstacles since the school's founding.

"The impetus was to create a level of care that truly took care of kids in a more developed way," said founder and co-director Kenny Pannell. "Our kids do very well. Most of them go off to college following their graduation from Chrysalis."

Visit Chrysalis School Montana to learn more about how the Chrysalis experience serves as building blocks toward a higher education.

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