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Makana Leadership Academy logo

We are a residential-therapy / leadership-course hybrid
that combines everything our youth need to
turn their hardship into greatness.

Achieving Lasting ChangeIgniting the Intrinsic Drive to Succeed

Two Makana students on an adventure

We help struggling teens overcome hardship and reframe their adversity into an experience that will serve them to become great. Our program is designed to help each individual overcome resistance to change, establish healthy habits, and gain the skills needed to become a powerful leader.

As hope is renewed for a successful and happy future, the internal engine of self-drive is ignited. We call our program a continuum of care because it is not a short-term interruption but an ongoing transition into independent success with a robust aftercare program and incredible parent course built into our process.

Who We Serve

Our program is for families of teen boys and girls ages 14 - 17 who are struggling with academics, unhealthy behaviors, substance abuse, and relationship problems as a result of failing mental health. We require that our students experience the renewal that comes from a quality wilderness therapy program before coming to our program.

Makana is for youth who come willingly with supportive primary caregivers who are ready to learn and change along with their child. Our program is not suitable for teens with severe addictions, self-harming behaviors, autism, or extreme aggression.

Co-ed group of Makana youth

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The Hero's Journey Always Includes Hardship Before Transformation

We’re proud to have Author & Hollywood script-writer Kristina Paider on our board. Her new book The Hollywood Approach illustrates our belief that with help, our struggling youth can become great because of their struggles – not just in spite of them.

hollywood approach

Why Makana?

Makana Leadership Academy was created in response to what we consider to be an incredibly underperforming industry of youth treatment programs. With roots in wilderness therapy, we have assembled a world-class team of experienced professionals who are passionate about our mission to provide better care for our youth and address the shortcomings of the options available to caring families.

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Makana family

What Makes Us Different

Makana girls with residential mentor

of Care

The concept is simple: we put an end to perpetual therapizing and never-ending program-hopping. We begin with the end in mind: a powerful, competent, skilled leader, ready to take on any life challenge. We do this through progressive, daily immersion into physical, emotional, educational, and social challenges that help each individual overcome resistance, establish healthy habits, gain useful skills and then transition into thriving adult life with continued support.

Continuum Page
Happy Makana family reunited

Parent Program

Our parent and family program requires parents to show up to weekly training as part of our 24-week course. Self-awareness is the pivotal component of successful parenting. Becoming a better parent means becoming a better person. This is what our children are asking of us—to step up—to expand our mind and our own emotional health—to widen our understanding of what we and our children are capable of—to know and understand ourselves on the deepest level of insight.

Parent Page
Makana boys with residential mentor

Holistic Therapy
That Works

The path to emotional wellbeing involves embracing new discoveries and understanding of our human brain and mental health. Our clinical approach embraces these new science-based methods as well as established modalities that help young people overcome resistance to therapy. This approach gives each individual the tools they need to overcome past trauma and approach future challenges with a reframed belief in what they are capable of.

Therapy Page

The Gift Of Hope[Video]

Video transcription: "Makana means 'GIFT', and the Makana Leadership Academy is the gift of hope, of the future, of uncovering your greatness, especially when you gave up on yourself, and didn't believe it could happen.. the gift of reuniting a family, the gift of a future career that you're passionate about, and we're gonna uncover that, we're gonna help families and youths in crisis, to uncover their best selves, their greatest future, and that's the gift we want to pay forward in life.."

Makana 2020 video thumb
12 days of christmas

This season our students have chosen to help three families who have run into incredible hardship during 2020. Their vision is to create a life-changing version of the 12 Days of Christmas. They have carefully mapped the stakeholders needed to pull off a $30,000, in-kind donation fundraiser. They are now contacting members of the community and local businesses to generously pitch in.

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The Makana Experience

campus culture and enjoying music from staff

Campus Culture

The entire experience at Makana is designed to be therapeutic. Our passionate and qualified Home Mentors show up every day, all day to help create an environment of emotional safety and love. A morning routine of exercise and meditation sets the stage for a productive day at school. Evenings are rich with club activities, therapeutic fun, and reflection. Our relational approach is informed by attachment theory and helps each student meet life’s challenges with self-awareness and a secure sense of belonging.

Campus Page
Makana's inspiring academics

Inspiring Academics

We are an accredited Private School approved by AdvancedEd (Cognia). We provide each student with individualized education and a sense of progress while participating in our leadership course. We spark true curiosity and a passion for learning through fun, interactive, and experiential projects. Our students frequently outpace public school with our credit recovery program. Each student receives valuable career counseling provided by the well-respected Greenwood Institute.

Academics Page
Makana instructor teaching student

Forethought Into Aftercare

The new mindset and skills that a student gains on campus are remarkable, but we must prove these new transformations in normal daily life after they leave our campus. Our Mastermind Aftercare program fills the gap where other programs fall short. Each family is assigned two Mastermind Mentors who will help build clarity and positive momentum during the transition to home or school and help them build an expanded network of positive influence.

Continuum Page

Request a Consult

We’re eager to hear your story and discuss how Makana might be a good fit for your family. Please fill out the contact form and we will be in touch within 48 hours.

Utah Department of Human Services
Utah State Board of Education
California Department of Education
Post Adoption Service
Greenwood Associates