ANASAZI Foundation

There is much to be learned from the world around us—far more than we normally comprehend. The ancients knew this well—most particularly the wise teachers among them—those who, in the Navajo tongue, were called “Anasazi.”

In the Native American tradition, life is a “walking.” One’s walking is determined by the state of one’s heart toward all that is around him. “Anasazi” is a Navajo word commonly interpreted as the “ancient ones” or “wise teachers.” According to legend, these wise teachers taught that the Creator placed man on the Earth in order for him to learn to “walk forward”—in harmony with man and all creation.

The Path of We

For years, ANASAZI Foundation—a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Arizona—has served families by introducing them to the wisdom of the lives led by these ancient ones.

Founded in 1988 by renowned wilderness pioneers Larry Olsen and Ezekiel Sanchez, ANASAZI gives young people an opportunity, through a primitive living experience and a philosophy that invites healing at the hands of nature, to effect a change of heart—a change in one’s whole way of walking in the world. ANASAZI’s licensed and nationally accredited outdoor behavioral healthcare programs are non-punitive—its caring and patient staff is focused not on bad behaviors, but on helping young people discover and nurture the “seeds of greatness” which lie within. To those at ANASAZI, the wilderness is not a harsh place to break youth down, but rather a safe place—a place free from distractions where one can learn, ponder, and build.

ANASAZI’s family-focused intervention programs (for youth 12-17 and young adults 18-25) are recognized worldwide for their unique and caring approach to treatment. ANASAZI’s preventive efforts—including parenting workshops and community drug awareness/education forums—have inspired two international best-sellers (Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace), an Emmy-nominated drug abuse prevention campaign, and peacemaking techniques used as far away as the Middle East.

ANASAZI’s menu of services includes:

  • 42-day (minimum stay) level II outdoor behavioral healthcare programs for youth and young adults
  • Parenting workshops and continuing education forums
  • Special courses (couples retreats, youth leadership expeditions, corporate training)
  • Community-based drug and alcohol abuse prevention education forums

The 42-day program aids families of youth with mild-to-moderate mood disorders, behavioral problems, attachment disorders and/or adjustment difficulties. These would include depression, anxiety; bipolar disorder; oppositional behaviors; substance abuse; relational problems with family, school, law enforcement and/or peers; self-harming behaviors (eating problems, cutting, etc.); poor social skills; lack of motivation; entitlement orientations and other similar problems related to a lack of self-regulation and moral identity.

Independent research indicates that less than 10% of the youth who participate in ANASAZI’s 42-day treatment program return to in-patient care, and 56% of the youth who participate for substance abuse and chemical dependency completely abstain from future drug use (based on post-treatment outcome studies conducted at three years).

ANASAZI’s work is rooted in its core mission—to help parents and children turn their hearts to one another, begin anew, and walk in harmony in the wilderness of the world.

**This blog is NOT an official blog for ANASAZI but it supports the mission of the ANASAZI Foundation.

About the author

Seth Adam Smith

Seth Adam Smith is a best-selling, award-winning author and blogger whose writings have been translated into over thirty languages and featured on Huffington Post, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, the Today Show, and many other news outlets around the world.

A survivor of a suicide attempt in 2006, Seth is an advocate for resources and understanding concerning depression and suicide prevention and regularly writes about these topics in his books and on his blog. He recently finished "Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern," and is currently working on a series of historical novels set in Colonial America.

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1 Comment

  • I was a young walker at ANASAZI. It was the absolute best thing that ever happened to me. I still visit the office, talk to intakes and trail walkers, I still keep in touch with all of the girls who walked with me. I do not know how I could ever thank you. I have been sober from drugs since I got out of ANASAZI and if it weren’t for this program I would still be on the run. I feel everyone there is put there for a reason and I genuinely love every single individual at ANASAZI. I hated hiking and the whole outdoorsy concept at first, but if I could redo it all over again I would 🙂

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