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Dances With Wood Serving Hospitalized Children with Serious Illness
Adventure Learning Program

Introduction to the Adventure Learning Program

Children and young adults facing serious illness undergo treatment protocols that can last for weeks, months and, sometimes, years. This includes children who undergo bone marrow transplants. These children often spend weeks in isolation undergoing very challenging and debilitating treatments.

Children who undergo long-term treatments benefit from long-term creative projects that support and strengthen their emotional and psychological health. Research has shown that caring for the spirit is an important component in the healing process.

The Adventure Learning Program utilizes a variety of creative, linked activities designed to provide each child with a project that captures the imagination and provides a stimulus for empowerment. These long-term projects engage children over a period of weeks and build incrementally to provide a very powerful experience of creative success and achievement.

Some of the projects provided by the Adventure Learning Program include:

How the Adventure Learning Program Works

The Adventure Learning Program is designed to capture the imagination and creativity of a child and young adults during a long and often very difficult treatment protocol. This includes children and young adults undergoing a bone marrow transplant, which can mean weeks in isolation.

The Dance With Wood program provides a series of linked creative activities that can be offered to the child in accordance with his or her energy and the time available. The program is communicated through a series of instructional pages that are divided into bite-sized activities and placed in numbered envelopes along with the program materials required to complete the task. The instruction and activity pages are collected in a “Ship’s Log” that is kept by the child or young adult. This provides a detailed record of the project and serves as a valuable tool for children to use when sharing their creative adventure.

The Adventure Learning Program is designed to function in a variety of locations within the hospital. For example, a child or young adult being treated for cancer may have a treatment protocol that requires periods of time as an inpatient and frequent visits to the outpatient area. The program can follow the child or young adult and can even be done at home between hospital visits.



Studies have shown that a positive attitude and a good level of self-esteem enhance medicinal treatment. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that positive activities reduce pain and depression and increase treatment adherence.

While the challenges of a long-term illness are many, the Adventure Learning Program provides children and young adults with a creative, hands-on experience that transcends their illness. It is a program that allows children to be children, giving them an opportunity to nurture their inner child, develop self-esteem and enrich their quality of life. The Adventure Learning Program allows children and young adults to creatively work their way through long-term illness and celebrate the end of that journey.

Adventure Learning Program Outcomes

Funding for the Adventure Learning Program is needed to further develop program materials and provide program services to children's hospitals throughout the United States.

If you would like to help, please contact
Woody Wilkins
Program Director/Founder
or call 860-669-5221

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