Frequently Asked Questions


STLF offers the following programs and services:

  • Financial assistance for nature-based therapy treatment programs
  • Comprehensive Coaching Service for the parent(s)/guardian(s) and young adult to help with the transition back into the home.
  • Community support including individuals who have been through the treatment process as well as support resources such as the Speaker Series podcast. 

In fiscal year 2022, STLF helped 213 youth and young adults and their families and provided $1.9M of support. Since inception in 2010, we have provided over $6.7M to over 1,182 families. 

We served 213 youth/young adults and their families from 38 states in fiscal year 2022. Participants are diverse and include, but are not limited to, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaskan Native and White.

Ages: 10-13 years 13%, 14-17 years 76%, 18-26 year 11%

Gender: Female 39%, Male 54%, Non-binary 7%

STLF is a nonprofit organization supported by individual donations, special events, foundation and corporate grants and sponsors. The organization is governed by a volunteer board of directors. For more information about our financials,

Online donations receive an email confirmation and donations received by check, phone, or wire transfer are mailed an acknowledgement letter of the gift. 

Total tuition varies by program. Programs have a daily rate, enrollment/equipment fees and other expenses may include fees for psychiatric/psychological testing, family workshops, and any other services offered by the program. When you are speaking with the program, ask about their tuition and additional fees that you may incur. You may also incur travel related expenses to get your child to and from the program.

No, STLF is not a referral or placement agency. We do not recommend programs. Adolescents and young adults must be accepted into one of our partner programs before applying for financial assistance.

STLF partners with 12 outdoor therapeutic programs across the United States from Hawaii to Maine. For more information, 

STLF’s goal is to continue to partner with programs that are accredited and that offer unique treatment options and/or focus on a specific mental health issue. We have a very thorough vetting and interview process to ensure the programs meet our standards. These standards include: maintaining a high level of accountability, transparency and safety, having a family component, and measuring outcomes.

Our Program Partners provide a reduction in tuition, further reducing the financial burden for the family. If you are approved for STLF financial assistance, you will be directed to contact the program to obtain the amount of their contribution towards reducing your tuition.

STLF does not have an employee to assist with insurance reimbursement. Health insurance coverage varies by carrier and by the policy. Call your specific insurance plan’s provider and request information regarding mental health and/or addiction treatment options. Or, if you are already in contact with a treatment program, ask their admissions representative to check and verify your coverage.

Yes, every family that receives financial support from Sky’s the Limit Fund may apply to receive support through our Coaching Service. STLF coaches provide approximately 12 hours of coaching over the course of three to six months  to clinically approved families to help ease the transition home. Through weekly phone calls, the STLF coach supports and guides the family and their adolescent or young adult, expanding on the gains made in wilderness therapy.

You can send an email to requesting to speak with another parent who has gone through a nature-based therapy treatment process.  

Suggested topics to consider/ questions to ask may include:

  • What does the typical day look like, ie. activities, meals, sleep patterns?
  • Is it a base camp or nomadic style program?
  • How many students will be in my child’s group?
  • Is there an academic component to the program?
  • How often will my child receive therapy?
  • Is it group and/or individual therapy?
  • Is family therapy included?
  • Are there levels or phases my child must complete to progress through the treatment?

Here are some questions to ask representatives of any program you may be considering. 

  • Is the program licensed by the state? What aspects of the program the license covers: educational, mental/behavioral health, and/or residential? 
  • Is the program accredited by an organization such as CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) or AEE (Association of Experiential Education)?
  • What are the credentials of the staff, especially the counselors and therapists, who will be working with my child? How experienced is your staff? Have they worked at other residential treatment programs? If yes, where and for how long? 
  • Do you conduct background checks on your employees? 
  • How do you handle medical issues like illness or injury? 
  • How do you discipline program participants?


Applications for financial assistance must be completed and submitted after the adolescent or young adult has been accepted into a program and before they enter the field. Completed applications include all required information, documents and signatures. Do NOT wait until after your adolescent or young adult enrolls into the program to contact STLF and submit your application. The application must be submitted prior to enrollment. 

Once an adolescent or young adult is accepted into one of our nature-based therapy partner programs, families with financial need complete and submit a STLF application, which includes providing financial documentation. The application is reviewed by STLF staff, and if appropriate, the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and/or young adult have a phone interview with STLF staff. If it is determined that STLF will provide financial assistance, the appropriate parties are notified. How quickly we process your application and award financial assistance is dependent on how quickly we receive information from our program partner, the timing of our phone call, and that you have submitted all requested and required financial documents. The average turnaround time from when we receive a completed application is 6-10 days. Submitting an application does not guarantee funding. 

Qualification for financial assistance is based on the family’s financial necessity and overall commitment to helping their child. We review tax documents and pay stubs and take into consideration variables such as cost of living, number of dependents, past and ongoing treatment. 

STLF’s financial assistance does not cover the entire cost of the program. Our financial assistance covers a portion of the tuition and the amount of assistance varies per applicant, depending on need. Our financial assistance averages $7500. The program’s reduction covers a portion and the family will be responsible for a portion of the cost for the child to attend the program.

No, STLF sends the funds directly to the program to offset the tuition. STLF’s financial assistance will be disbursed as a reduction in tuition for the estimated length of stay to complete the program. If your child voluntarily or involuntarily leaves the program for any reason prior to completing the program, your award will be prorated over your child’s length of stay in the program. The program will refund a pro rata amount of the financial assistance back to STLF corresponding to the length of time remaining in the program after withdrawal.

It is a financial assistance payment and is not expected to be repaid, does not incur interest, and has no tax consequences for the recipient. Funds are paid directly to the program the adolescent or young adult is attending. The financial support is a reduction in the program’s total tuition and fees.

Yes, the financial assistance is valid for 30 days from award date. Your child must enroll in the program within 30 days of notification of the financial assistance. If your child enrolls after 30 days from award date, you may re-apply for financial assistance.