Frequently Asked Questions
How is Pacific Quest different than other wilderness therapy programs?
Pacific Quest challenges the status quo in outdoor behavioral health by utilizing a neurodevelopmental approach to treatment. This approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change. Students engage in activities which research has shown, increase emotional health and well-being. Through this client-centered treatment model, PQ continues to pioneer a cutting-edge approach to outdoor therapy, providing multiple opportunities to address brain development and enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning necessary for Sustainable Growth™. Learn more about PQ’s defining features.
How will I be involved in my child’s program?
Parents are an integral part of the treatment process. Parents have the opportunity to work on a comprehensive family curriculum that aligns closely with the student’s treatment plan. Therapists discuss the curriculum during weekly calls with the parent to ensure the unique goals and objectives of the family are addressed. Pacific Quest’s approach is highly individualized allowing the treatment plan to grow and change throughout the course of a student’s stay. By participating in weekly calls and completing parallel assignments, parents send a strong message to their enrolled child that the entire family is stepping into this important process and is committed to change.
Parents of enrolled adolescents also participate in an on site Family Workshop, which takes place around the mid point of a child’s stay. The on site workshop provides a wonderful opportunity to not only work on issues specific to one’s family, but to address common issues of challenge for many families. Students typically enjoy the Family Workshop as it gives them the opportunity to teach their parents about their environment at Pacific Quest, test new skills and share all that they have learned. Parents and students engage – together – in activities that foster feelings of pride and accomplishment. Additionally, each week, parents receive photos from the field which provide an opportunity to see their child fully immersed in life at PQ.
Where will my child sleep?
At Pacific Quest, students sleep indoors in simple, yet modern single-sex bunkhouses in a dormitory-like setting. Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program with full-time, awake night staff, 365 days per year.
Upon arrival, students learn the benefits of self-care, including effective relaxation tools to facilitate proper sleep cycles and rest. Prior to attending Pacific Quest, many of our students have had difficulty sleeping or have experienced irregular sleep patterns. While at Pacific Quest, students get a minimum of 9 hours of sleep per night. Students begin to wind down around sunset and wake up around sunrise. This routine helps to reset their natural circadian rhythm.
How do you keep my child safe?
Pacific Quest’s top priority is student safety. Pacific Quest has an impeccable safety record and employs only the highest quality staff. PQ operates out of residential base camps with dormitory style bunkhouses in a year-round, moderate climate. The Big Island of Hawaii offers an ideal combination of remoteness, while at the same time, allowing for quick access to important resources. Because each program site is located no more than 20 minutes from a hospital or medical center, Pacific Quest has 24/7 access to comprehensive medical resources.
Although the gardening camps are designed to feel remote and tranquil, we have vehicle access to all sites and access to shelter during inclement weather. Our location and real-time ability to contact treatment team members allows us to provide individualized safety plans to each student as needed.
Pacific Quest staff members prioritize the best care for every student. All staff members are trained in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention techniques as well as the Sustainable Growth™ model. Pacific Quest operates at a low student-to-staff ratio and provides awake night staff 365 days a year. Our safety committee meets weekly to review policies and procedures and discuss how we can further exceed industry standards and best practices for each activity and aspect of programming.
What will my child eat at Pacific Quest?
At Pacific Quest, students learn that what you put in our body directly impacts how you feel. The PQ diet has been designed to provide vital nutrition. We take advantage of locally grown foods in Hawaii so food is always fresh and healthy. Students learn the basics of nutrition and how the body utilizes food as fuel. Students drink only purified water and herbal teas and learn about how high-sugar diets cause fluctuating blood sugar levels, which lead to mood changes and energy crashes. While at Pacific Quest, students learn how to prepare and cook food using only fresh, organic and natural ingredients. Staff carefully monitor all kitchen work to ensure proper hygiene and safety.
Students eat an anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic, and blood sugar balancing diet, comprised of whole foods and high in critical nutrients for optimizing health. In order for students to feel their best and have adequate energy for optimal engagement in the therapeutic process, they must eat clean and nutritious food, free of artificial chemicals, harmful substances, and refined sugar. The Pacific Quest base diet includes 90% gluten-free ingredients and 50% organic ingredients, many of which are grown on our organic farm. Pacific Quest can accommodate a wide range of dietary needs and preferences including, celiac, allergen-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan.
A typical diet for Pacific Quest students includes:
- Whole grains: quinoa, oats and brown rice
- Variety of fresh fruits and vegetables Protein: eggs, nuts, tofu, chicken, fish, and beans
- Limited amounts of dairy: cheese and yogurt
- No processed food or refined sugars
What about Academics?
Academic credit is available to students in both our adolescent and young adult programs that have not yet completed high school. Pacific Quest students have the opportunity to complete six academic courses for a total of 3.5 credits.
- Career and Technical Education – Horticulture Pathway (0.5 credits)
- Health Education – Health Education (0.5 credits)
- Language Arts – English and Language Arts (0.5 credits)
- Physical Education – Lifetime Fitness (1.0 credit)
- Science – Environmental Literacy (0.5 credits)
- Social Sciences – Hawaiian Culture (0.5 credits)
All courses are aligned with Pacific Quest’s therapeutic curriculum, the Common Core Curriculum and National standards, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience, which incorporates both therapeutic growth and academic learning. Students receive transferable credits issued through Pacific Quest’s accreditation with AdvanceEd and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). In addition, Pacific Quest integrates Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and accommodations for students’ learning differences. Pacific Quest integrates learning styles and multiple intelligences into daily activities and assessments.