Our approach

Since 1996, the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation has organized therapeutic adventure expeditions for young people living with cancer. These adventures are much more than just wilderness outings; they give participants an opportunity to spend time with other young people who share the same realities, to exchange ideas, and to be understood without needing to explain themselves. We aim to help them regain self-esteem and recover hope in life by enabling them to push their limits during these expeditions. Further, by facing challenges together, they can create close bonds of friendship, as many young people wish to do at this stage of their lives.

Conventional medical treatments aim to treat the body’s ailments, but therapeutic adventure heals the soul, the heart, and the mind. Our interventions – together with the beauty of the landscapes, the contact with nature, and the pleasure of sharing in the group activities – enable young people living with cancer to change their story, to become aware of their strengths, and to recover their dreams.

Benefits of therapeutic adventures

We are not therapists; we do not offer therapies. However, our expeditions, punctuated by moments of reflection and intervention activities, have indisputable therapeutic benefit. The results of a recent study indicate that the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation therapeutic adventure expeditions have had significant impact on self-esteem and quality of relationships with parents and friends.

In the study, participants and their parents claimed that the expedition experience contributed in large measure to their development of personal identity and autonomy. Further, the fact that they shared similar experiences in an environment conducive to exchange helped greatly to reduce their feelings of isolation.

The concept

The concept behind our expeditions is very simple: we take an individual out of his or her comfort zone and encourage them to recreate for themselves a new comfort zone. The expansion of this zone and the feeling of achievement raises awareness of capabilities, strengths and skills that were heretofore underestimated, or even unknown. Our participants return to everyday life equipped with new energy, a new outlook and an undeniable sense of well-being.

Linda Paquette, Ph.D. Effects of an outdoor development adventure program on the psychosocial adjustment of adolescents journeying with cancer. AEE. 2017