Wolf Ridge Wolf Ridge

Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification

As a provider of accredited school programs and youth camps, we see about 13,000 kids each year. Most of our participants arrive excited and ready to learn, but others are silently struggling. One in five youth ages 13 to 18 lives with a mental health condition and we want to be there for them as well.

That’s why we offer our staff Youth Mental Health First Aid training, an 8-hour course that teaches participants how to help adolescents experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Having a more informed staff can dramatically help early intervention efforts and get youth the help they need when they need it.

Our Youth Mental Health First Aid training course is open to the public as well. We especially encourage staff from other camps to attend. In addition to the excellent course materials, we have built in time during meals and in the evening when we can share methods and strategies specific to situations that are unique to overnight youth programs.


Thursday April 16
11:30 welcome
12:15 lunch
1:00 – 4:30 class

  • What is mental health first aid?
  • The role of the first aider
  • Mental health challenges, signs and symptoms, and their prevalence in the US
  • Discerning normal adolescent development from mental health challenges
  • Risk and protective factors

5:15 dinner
6:00 – 7:00 class

  • Spectrum of interventions
  • Sharing session – camp/program practices

7:15 rock climb, canoe, ropes course, or hike, depending on interest

Friday April 17
7:30 breakfast
8:00 – 12:00 class

  • Mental Health First Aid Action Plan
  • Assessing
  • Approaching
  • Techniques for giving reassurance and types of appropriate information
  • Types of professional help and how to encourage accessing it
  • Dealing with potential crises such as thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and panic attacks
  • Skills practice
  • Taking care of the first aider

12:15 lunch
1:00 Class Wrap-up

  • Plans for incorporating what we have learned
  • Closing and graduation

1:30 departure


In addition to her role as a Mental Health First Aid instructor, Carrie Anderson is a naturalist at Wolf Ridge and member of our program staff. She brings Wolf Ridge’s participatory teaching techniques to both the Youth Mental Health First Aid and to the Adult Mental Health First Aid courses. She has seen first hand the difference early intervention and knowledge can make on the course of a mental illness, and the power of reducing the stigma and sharing information about these common challenges.

In addition to providing this training, Carrie has actively worked over the last ten years to create safe and caring communities for those living with mental health challenges, both locally and in conjunction with organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI,) Northland Healthy Minds, the Make It OK campaign, and the North Shore Mental Health Group.

NOTE: Through Wolf Ridge, Carrie is available to travel to your site to provide this training. To arrange Mental Health First Aid training (Youth or Adult) for your organization, either at Wolf Ridge or at your location, please email carrie.anderson@wolf-ridge.org or call 218-353-7414.

Housing and Meals

A place to kick back and relax.

Participants will be housed in the new Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. Our newest dorm, MAC Lodge is one of only about 40 in the world built to meet Living Building Challenge standards. Residents will experience what it’s like to live comfortably at net zero for both water end energy. Learn more about how our MAC Lodge has already changed the landscape for sustainable building in the northern US.


Margaret A. Cargill Lodge

The new Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Lodge features stunning views of the campus’s hills, valleys and cliff-lined lakes. In the common spaces you’ll find comfortable couches and chairs to relax in, tables for socializing or game-playing, and a small kitchenette with sink, microwave and refrigerator. Massive stone fireplaces with wood-burning pellet stoves grace two of the five shared areas – a perfect place to settle in and read a book during some quiet time. The outdoor deck overlooking the bird feeders behind the lodge is another favorite for enjoying some time in the sun between activities.


MAC Lodge sleeping accommodations are divided into suites. Each suite includes two bedrooms, a shared space with two sinks, and separate toilet and shower rooms. Those who want more privacy can close the sliding door to their individual bedroom. Each bedroom contains two bunkbeds and can sleep one to four people. For adult programs, a maximum of 6 people share a suite.  If you choose to pay for a single bedroom, you will have a private sleeping space, and will share a bathroom and shower with 1-3 suite-mates. Groups of four or may request to share a suite.

Experience “Living Building Challenge” Design

MAC Lodge is one of only about 45 in the world built to meet Living Building Challenge standards. Residents will experience what it’s like to live comfortably at net zero for both water end energy. Learn more about how the MAC Lodge has already changed the landscape for sustainable building in the northern US!


Fuel for your imagination.

We take great pride in creating delicious daily meals.  Whether coming in from a day spent outside or fueling up for the next adventure, everyone will find choices to satisfy their appetites in the Lake Superior Dining Room.

Our Food

Food Service Director Chris O’Brien and his staff go above and beyond to produce a choice driven, healthy, hearty meal while creating a sense of community here at Wolf Ridge. Most of our produce is from the Wolf Ridge Organic Farm while meats and other products are sourced as locally as possible.  From-scratch vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes are available at each and every meal. Fresh fruit, veggies, and homemade breads are available all day, in addition to coffee and tea.

“It’s about quality. It’s about passion. It’s about good food done well.” – Chris O’Brien

Special Diets

Our kitchen staff regularly works with participants to meet allergy and dietary concerns. Daily vegan dishes are inherently free of any animal product, including dairy, and are most often gluten-free as well. Individuals with common food allergy and sensitivities, including to dairy or peanuts, will find good, healthy food at each meal that addresses their needs. Our Dining Hall is nut-free. Please note dietary requests, concerns, and preferences when completing camp registration materials.

Dates and Cost

Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification

April 16, 11:30 AM -April 17, 1:30 PM, 2020


$195, all-inclusive of instruction, course materials, lodging, meals, and off-time activities.

Private sleeping rooms available for an additional $50
Linens available, add $10

Deposit, Payment, and Cancellation Policy

To Register

You can register online for this program.