To provide all Alaskans with quality opportunities to enhance understandings of
health, independence, and teamwork through experiences
in the wilderness of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Goals and Objectives
Health through Wilderness- Physical and emotional health is enriched through
wilderness experiences and transfers as respect for oneself, others, and the environment.
Independence through Learning- Independence is enhanced through learning
basic outdoor skills and expands into universal self-efficacy.
Teamwork through Challenge- Teamwork is strengthened by recognizing and
persevering through challenges and develops into group empowerment.
Growth through Denali- Personal growth is accelerated through a
discovery of Denali’s Wilderness and expands into self-actualization.
Since 1999, the Denali Education Center has been using unique wilderness experiences to improve the mental health and quality of life for Alaskan youth and adults living that face challenges when trying to access wild places- be they physical, behavioral, or developmental. Denali Education Center is proud to be able to partner with social service agencies to reach Alaskans who will most benefit from our W.I.L.D. program.
In the more than 20 years that W.I.L.D. about Denali has been in existence, one thing has been overwhelmingly shared by participants on why they want to return to this program: because it’s FUN!
When asked, our partner agencies’ staff members have consistently described W.I.L.D. as an organized and flexible program that works to inspire independence, teamwork, and educational experiences only possible in Denali.
W.I.L.D. about Denali is a program designed to serve all Alaskans. It is the only program in Alaska that provides National Park access and transformational wilderness experiences to underserved and vulnerable populations. Our partnerships with Alaskan social service agencies that benefit at-risk youth and people living with disability has ensured that W.I.L.D. can continue to serve and benefit those seeking independence and new opportunities for personal growth through active exploration.
W.I.L.D. is the only program of its kind in Alaska. The program’s success is due to its simplicity – the time spent enjoying nature allows participants to reconnect with themselves, form lasting bonds with their peers, and connect with their environment.
During this program, participants engage in activities that expand independent living skills and strengthen notions of teamwork through wilderness experiences in Denali National Park and Preserve. Participants will travel on a Camper Bus to Wonder Lake, 90 miles along the road that winds through Denali National Park, and stay at the Wonder Lake Campground for three nights. While being in this remote wilderness setting, our W.I.L.D. program works to further the mission of the program, further the participant’s understanding of how to safely explore a wilderness setting, and deepens participant’s understanding of Denali as a protected place.
W.I.L.D. would not be possible without the continued support of our community and local partners. We would like to thank the staff and administration of Denali National Park and Preserve for their continued support of this program and its mission. To the family of Maureen Sims and the community members who have donated to the Maureen Sims Memorial Endowment.
To Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Ventures for the use of their buses and drivers to safely transport our participants during this program as well as help them better understand Denali’s transportation system.
And last, but certainly not least- to
McKinley Creekside Cabins and Cafe and their staff!
Since 2016 the McKinley Creekside Cabins and Cafe have generously hosted their fall W.I.L.D Brunch Fundraiser. Each year, Creekside and its staff have generously donated their time, all of the day’s proceeds, and any tips collected to directly support Denali Education Center’s W.I.L.D program and participants.
We can not thank McKinley Creekside Cabins and Cafe enough for their continued support and the work they do to ensure the continued success of our youth and W.I.L.D program!
2021 Program Dates
Wonder Lake Campground
Dates coming soon!
For more information please contact:
Justine Schmidt- Youth Programs Manager