A program called Adventure Therapy is wandering through Duck Mountain Provincial Park in southeast Saskatchewan.

Oliver Kabatoff completed his second session on Jan. 7 with a six kilometre hike through the hills to Moose Lake and back. 

"It's more or less just feeling better about myself and just a better outlook on things, you know?" said Kabatoff at the halfway point. 

This route is the shortest in the program, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. 

"Their true character comes out when people are pushed and that's the idea, we want to see the real person. We don't want to see the mask they're hiding behind," explained Jamie Desjarlais, who started the program this past summer with Shelley Gunn. 

The program, so far, supports a few First Nations and a youth group.

The adventures range from hikes, horseback riding and cross country skiing in the winter to white water rafting in the warmer months. 

"This is an opportunity just to put their phones away and interact with one other and learn people skills and learn to connect with people and nature is a beautiful thing, you know, it clears your mind it gives you just an ease about life," said Desjarlais.

He said they want people to be active and realize the importance of physical exercise and how it can improve mental health.

Stacy Dustyhorn, an adult reintegration case worker with the Yorkton Tribal Council (YTC), said the landscape is beautiful and being with nature is both a good experience as well as good for your mental health. 

The YTC teamed up with Desjarlais about a month ago as a way to expand their youth integration program, which works with kids coming out of the judicial system. 

Dustyhorn said they hope to use Adventure Therapy with all of their programs in the future. 

YTC reintegration worker Cory Cadotte said the program gives youth the chance to test themselves. 

"You're pushing each other to make it on the hike, you're pushing each other to come out and just enjoy yourselves,” said Cadotte. “It seems like a special kind of bonding when you do this kind of thing outdoors."

Desjarlais said the groups hike once a week and are working on building up the stamina for a trip to the mountains later this winter.