These are crisis times for far too many of our teens. They’re at a critical stage in their physical and emotional development. They’re searching for their own identities, and for role models they can believe in. Their youthful sense of hope and optimism is being challenged by the intense pressures placed on them by society, their peers, a major breakdown in traditional values, widespread family dysfunction, financial insecurity, a highly competitive educational system, and by constant news of war, revolution and natural disaster. They’re being constantly assaulted with sensationalist headlines by corporate media and special interest groups that derive huge profits by capitalizing on fear, scandal and human frailty. These factors cause overwhelming and often repressed feelings of insecurity, depression, hopelessness, and even rage for many teens. Not surprisingly, millions have developed unhealthy self-images that contribute to a wide range of negative behaviors and conditions – eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, ADHD, bullying, drug abuse, suicide, gang membership, irresponsible sexual behavior and high dropout rates are all reaching epidemic levels.

Meanwhile, there has been an alarming decrease in the amount of interaction that teens have had with nature over the past twenty years, despite the fact that the therapeutic benefits which people of all ages receive from regular contact with the natural world have been extensively catalogued. The adverse consequences for teens caused by this disassociation from the outdoors are troubling, because their natural instincts to explore, experiment, or to act spontaneously, creatively and playfully have been severely restricted.

As a teacher, health educator, coach and mentor in the public schools for thirty-five years, Brad Cook has personally observed the challenges young people face today. He knows that there is a solution for this crisis, because he discovered it during his own lifelong journey to fulfill his dreams. He wants teens to be encouraged to participate in life and nature, rather than being sheltered from them – this is how we all learn to experiment, explore, question, discover, create. Teens must be allowed the freedom to experience each day for the gift that it is, living their lives joyfully and following their dreams with courage, enthusiasm, and a spirit of adventure. They must be encouraged to seek out, to imagine, to take risks, and to gain satisfaction in their own accomplishments while accepting even greater challenges in their quest for personal growth.

Brad understands that the process for achieving true happiness is an inside job,” and that it begins by developing self-esteem at an early age. Self-esteem can be defined as the positive awareness and respect that we hold for ourselves, as well as our own recognition of our value as a person. Who we believe we are is who we will become, and this self-image will guide everything we experience and accomplish throughout our lives. It’s therefore critical that teens learn the essentials of self–esteem in these, their most formative years.

Trail Dreams: Follow Your Dreams! is a program specifically designed for teens. In his relaxed and direct style Brad will describe his own transformational journey that led a young man from the depths of depression and hospitalization to a life of great happiness and inner peace. He’ll provide students with the basic building blocks for establishing a strong sense of self-esteem that can guide them throughout their lives. He will also introduce them to the Three Essential Needs for Happiness that have been passed down to us by our greatest thinkers over the centuries – these are the three basic requirements that all people need in order to achieve true happiness, and to lead the lives they were always meant to have. Finally, Brad will help attendees to focus on establishing goals, and on developing a healthy diet and physical fitness routine. He will also deliver a strong anti-drug message.

Please contact Brad or Samantha to schedule a workshop, or to obtain additional information about Trail Dreams programs.