"Everybody is a genius.."

“..but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its entire life believing it is stupid”
– Albert Einstein


Have a question?

Although our team is always happy to answer any questions you have, we may have already answered it here in our frequently asked questions section. If you cannot find the answer you’re looking for please get in contact via one of our available contact options and we will get back to you as soon as possible.  



What is an FAQ?

A Frequently Asked Questions section (or FAQ for short) is a place where you might be able to get the fastest answer to some of your questions. We have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions here so feel free to browse and see if yours has been answered.  

Just click on any of the questions and the answer should appear below it in a little text box (just like what you see here!) 

We are always happy to speak with you via email or on the phone so if you would like to speak with one of the team here at Comeragh Wilderness Academy you can email us via info@wilderness.ie or phone us (Mon-Fri 9-5) via 051 646854 

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of boys are enrolled in the school? What age?

CWA is for boys who are facing difficulties in coping at school, at home, or with peers. These symptoms can have a variety of causes including various diagnosed disorders. The age range that we accept is from 11-15.

We do not offer short-term summer camps. CWA is a residential camp that operates year round throughout the summer and winter. Sleeping/living accommodations are in log-framed structures, which are secured against the elements and heated in winter.

Our programme is not a boot camp. The wilderness setting removes unnecessary distractions and gives boys an opportunity to focus on learning and growing. Instead of maintaining control through strong authority or punitive measures (as would be the case with most boot camps), CWA uses the group process and consistent routines to maintain a healthy, therapeutic environment.

There is no set length of time for a young man to be at the Academy. The duration depends entirely on each person’s individual needs. Eighteen months is the average length of stay for most lads, interspersed with a five-day weekend home visit every six weeks. CWA is not an alternative to long-term residential care because our goal is always to re-establish the young person’s relationships with his home and community. The change that CWA seeks to achieve with young people does take time, but our aim is to bring about lasting change.

Completing the programme is based on each individual’s progress while at camp. Regular evaluation conferences with the boy and his family (every four months) are held throughout the young person’s stay. Based on these assessments, once the boy has learned the appropriate skills to be able to function well in his home, it is time for him return.

On average, a youth’s rate of learning at the Academy will surpass his contemporaries in formal education. CWA’s education is holistic and non-formal and meets the minimum standard of education for Children Receiving Education in Places other than Recognised Schools under Section 14 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. Rather than reproduce the conventional school environment we aim to build a positive attitude to academics by teaching through life-wide education. CWA’s highest goal is to help a young person enjoy learning.

We do require that each family be able to contribute an individually set monthly amount based on household income toward the expense of the programme. There are significant costs incurred by the programme operations, facilities, and staff; however, because of contributions we receive from caring people/organizations, we are able to accept anyone into the programme regardless of their financial ability.

Although we recognize the need for programmes tailored to girls, due to limited resources at this time, we are only able to accept boys.

CWA is open to all young people regardless of religious belief. Our staff is committed to the Christian faith and to following the example of Jesus Christ. Essential to our faith is the dignity and autonomy of each young person. In light of this, the programme does not require the young people to make any religious commitment for advancement in or graduation from the programme.

A simple Christian non-denominational service is held each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening in our outdoor chapel. One of the care staff leads an informal discussion on a spiritual topic or reads an inspirational story. Anyone may speak up if they wish. Attendance is required at the service, but there is no requirement to participate verbally.

To be able to grow and learn new skills at the Academy, each boy needs to be personally committed to completing the programme. We will make every effort to communicate accurately the benefits and challenges of Academy life to each young person. If a boy is not interested in enrolment after having seen the campsite and chatting with other campers, his choice will be respected and any alternatives will be pursued.

Most importantly, we require personal initiative from the parent(s), to relate and build a healthy relationship with their son. This involves a willingness to set personal goals and address their own parenting needs. This also includes regular and on-going communication with your child while he is at CWA. Transportation to and from the Academy for each home visit is necessary every six weeks. A financial contribution each month toward the cost of the programme is also required.

Since the Wilderness Road Therapeutic Camping model was put together in the 1950s, there have been thousands of youth who have benefited from the programme. The best way to accurately judge the benefits of the Academy is to speak to a former students or his parents. If you are interested in having your son enrolled, we are happy to give references for this to take place.

While your son is at the Academy, we encourage letter writing as the form of communication. As young people and families learn to write their thoughts and feelings to each other, broken or strained relationships can begin to heal. Similar to journaling, feelings are processed while writing and a depth of communication is reached that is not possible with modern technological means.

All staff members are Garda vetted. Prospective employees/volunteers go through an extensive application, reference, and induction process before joining the staff team.

We are a registered charity and depend on the support of concerned individuals and organizations. If you would like to contribute in any way, please give us a ring. Financial contributions are also possible through the PayPal link on our website.

You can contact us by email, web form, or phone. Since we value personal connection, we usually follow up with a phone call. Then there are several steps to the formal enrolment process.

We will post you an application form, and the parent/guardian fills the form and returns it. This is not a commitment from either party, although it places you in the waiting list for a place in the Academy. When we receive the application, we will be in contact to discuss your situation, and advise of an approximate time of the next opening.

Home Interview
Our family support worker will visit your family, explaining the academy programme in detail, and learning about the challenges you are facing. If you still feel the Academy is a good option and the child fits our enrolment criteria, we proceed to the next step.

Pre-Placement Visit to Camp
A short time before there is an opening available, each young person and family will visit the Academy, and make a decision whether it is the best option for meeting your family’s needs. Each person involved must be in agreement in order for enrolment to proceed, and the young person’s voice will be taken seriously.

A young person usually joins the group a week or two after the pre-placement visit.

Enrollment Process
If you would like to begin the enrollment process pelase click the button below.