Forward Learning Youth and Young Adults (FLYY) is a youth and family-serving nonprofit organization based in Dane County, Wisconsin. FLYY responds to issues faced by teens and families through its distinctive and unique educational program design. FLYY is known for providing value-forming wilderness expeditions, parent skill development and support groups, and community-based aftercare.
FLYY works collaboratively with youth and family-serving agencies and organizations that focus on mental health, delinquency prevention, substance abuse, truancy/dropouts. Many young people served by FLYY are marginalized, overlooked, and not effectively reached by, or able to access existing community resources. FLYY provides an adjunctive setting to address the behavioral, educational, and therapeutic needs of youth, while supporting the family system to sustain what is learned.
FLYY’s mission is to be a leading catalyst and resource for youth and families to transform their outlook, develop coping skills, and build capacity for resilience. FLYY helps students transfer what is learned to the broader context of their lives by asking: “how do you want to be in your life; to yourself, others, the environment and your community?”… And then helps them live the answers. FLYY is the is application of all that is being taught, pleaded for, talked about in various large and small gatherings regarding the crisis in many communities and this nation. It is what many people are searching for.
FLYY provides young people an opportunity to experience being a part of something positive that is larger than they are, to give without expecting anything in return, to lend support to others, and to build confidence by completing something challenging.
FLYY’s success with the high-risk population we serve begins with a dedication to the physical and emotional safety of all participants, building trusting relationships, and cultivating a strong sense of community. Lasting change is dependent on making genuine connections with every student and parent. It is crucial for them to feel accepted and safe in order to fully embrace and benefit from the growth opportunity that FLYY provides. Community is one of FLYY’s 5 guiding values; without it, many teens and young adults face feelings of isolation, depression, and lack of hope and meaning in their lives. Community doesn’t stop after the expedition; FLYY’s aftercare includes: individual/family counseling, dispute resolution/communication skill building services, a mentoring program, and a drop-in center.
FLYY’s educational curriculum centers on restorative justice principles. FLYY uses an experiential education framework, hands-on and culturally relevant teaching methods, small group learning environments, and time for focused reflection and discussion. Staff provides the positive support necessary to aid teens and young adults to understand themselves, their relationships, and their surroundings with more courage and integrity.
Wilderness Expeditions (14 and 25-day)
• 25-day backpacking expeditions include: 18-day backpacking expedition, a 2-day solo experience, a ropes course day, 2 days of community service, 2 parent skill development and support groups, a 2-day family seminar, and 1 follow-up visit upon request.
• 14-day winter expeditions include: a snowshoeing expedition, 1 parent skill development and support group, 1-day life skills workshops, and a 1-day family seminar; winter expeditions provide a more intimate learning environment with smaller staff-to-student ratios.
Parent Skill Development and Support Groups
Parents and guardians attend 2 parent skill development and support groups while their teen is on expedition (1 parent group during FLYY’s winter expeditions.) Groups focus on teaching families strategies that build capacity, skills, and resilience. Parents and guardians are supported throughout the process with a self-reflective workbook and staff availability.