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True Path Adventures offers kids the opportunity for survival and camping training under the guidance and supervision of Marine veteran Amanda Hoenes.

A camp where children can learn critical thinking and enjoy nature has pitched its permanent tent in Cedar Creek. 

True Path Adventures was founded by Iraq veteran and solo canoeist Amanda Hoenes, who in 2021 traveled the entirety of the Missouri River and Mississippi River. You can read more about Hoenes’ canoe trip in our archives ‘Branson graduate, Iraq veteran canoes the Missouri River’ at

Hoenes said the idea has been a passion project of hers. 

“I am a certified life coach and do that for adults, but I really love working with kids,” Hoenes told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “To be able to teach them in an outdoors adventure atmosphere critical thinking and camping techniques at three levels is truly what I want to be doing with my life.”

In a technology driven society where children have the world at their fingertips and an enormous amount of distractions, Hoenes said it is sometimes difficult to develop the unique skills outdoor adventures create for kids. 

“Young people do not have the same access as we did growing up to play outside, be creative and develop strong critical reasoning, problem-solving and leadership skills,” Hoenes said. “They are tied to devices and they do not get the chance to build the confidence up from being outdoors, like I did when I was a kid. Rational decision-making can be difficult in our society. Despite the challenges, it’s not impossible to develop or enhance critical-thinking and decision-making skills in children. My courses are designed to do just that.”

​True Path Adventures currently offers three fun, unique, collaborative outdoor learning experiences with a high level of physical and emotionalchallenge. 

“We remove the typical ‘camp’ structures and take a raw, wilderness approach that encourages the child to use critical and abstract thought to solve problems rather than relying on an internet search or what someone else says,” Hoenes said. “We are there to guide and supervise, but our hopes are through guided dialog with peers, setting their own goals, and responding to challenges as individually and as a team, the kids will find they have ownership and a vested interest in the experience. Kids will be expected to explain their own reasoning and respond to the reasoning of others developing better communicators, leaders and problem-solvers.”

True Path Adventures is located on the Hoenes family’s property, Cedar Ridge Ranch in the heart of the Ozark Mountains. Cedar Ridge Ranch is almost 400 acres, with more than seven miles of maintained trails, camp sites, and activity spaces where the kids are supervised and guided on adventures of various types and duration. The ranch is located on gated, private property so the kids are free to safely adventure without interruption.

“Many of my adventurers have not yet camped away from their parents. It’s true this can be scary at first, but the sense of accomplishment, ownership and responsibility when they complete the adventure is an amazing thing,” Hoenes said. “When kids face their fears, and test their limits they grow so much. They get to work alone and as a team to develop communication, critical-thinking and leadership skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”

True Path Adventures offers a Basic Camping Adventure. In this two day and one night basic introduction to outdoor adventures, the child will be hiking and camping on a fully guided and supervised overnight adventure with a group of other children.

The Basic Camping Adventure will include:

- Guidance to pack their rucksack.

- A total of two miles of hiking 

- Learn to identify risks, edibles, and other resources.

- Swing across a small creek using the Cedar Ridge Rope Swing.

- Successfully complete a team challenge.

- How to start a fire.

- How to build a shelter.

- Participate in team discussions about learnings and challenges.

The cost of the Basic Camping Adventure is $180, and it is hosted at Cedar Ridge Ranch. 

The second level adventure is the Intermediate Adventuring, which is a three day, two night outdoors experience. This takes outdoor learning to the next level, according to the True Path Adventures website. 

The Intermediate Adventuring emphasizes developing and enhancing leadership and critical-thinking skills with more activities and challenges. Children will participate in planning and decision-making activities rather than just taking direction.

The Intermediate Adventure will include:

- Guidance on planning, organizing and packing rucksacks.

- Team participation in the adventure and route planning.

- Swing across a small creek using the Cedar Ridge Rope Swing.

- Hiking a total of four miles, while learning to identify risks, edibles, and other resources.

- Build a homemade water filter.

- Complete multiple team and individual challenges.

- Learn orienteering over a short distance.

- How to start a fire.

- How to build a shelter.

- Participation in team discussions about learnings and challenges.

- Complete a staged real-life survival scenario, putting all newly learned skills to the test.

The cost of the Intermediate Adventure is $320, and it is hosted at Cedar Ridge Ranch. 

Hoenes is also offering an Advanced Adventuring experience, which is a four day, three night excursion.

This adventure is for children who already have some awareness of adventuring in the outdoors, and who may be hungry to hone their leadership, creative and critical-thinking skills. 

Hoenes said this package is a more leadership intensive course, allowing children with outdoors and survival skills to take the reins of the adventure, with complete supervision. The children who take part in the Advance Adventuring course will work in a team of peers to plan and execute their outdoor adventure taking ownership of their decisions and their experience.

Included in this adventure is everything from the Intermediate Adventure and the following:

- Participants will take the lead in planning (instructor guidance always available).

- A total of seven miles of hiking 

- Learn other methods of choosing water sources and water purification.

- Practice map reading and orienteering.

- Learning how to start a fire using different methods.

- Learning how to build different types of shelters and learn when each might be useful.

- Work through simulated risk mitigation scenarios.

- A packing list for this course will be provided upon sign up.

The cost of the Advance Adventure is $720, and it is hosted at Cedar Ridge Ranch, with possible excursions planned. 

For all three adventures meals, water and all necessary gear are included in the adventure package. The child will only need to bring enough weather-appropriate clothing, including good hiking shoes for an outdoor adventure, and any personal items, toiletries, and medications needed for the duration of the outing. With the exception of possible additional items needed for the advance option. 

Hoenes said she looks at each child as an individual and based on specific answers parents given during the application process, will determine what group the child belongs in and what group of kids will be best fit for each child. 

“Parents can sign up online, but I have to approve it. So I go in and review their information and determine what group and adventure is best for them as individuals,” Hoenes said. “It’s personal service. I get to monitor who I think will go well together and work well together. I had four boys in the intermediate session last year, two 13 year olds, an 8 year old and a 9 year old. It was my first course one and they did great! None of them knew each other prior to that weekend. They had some spats, they were exhausted. All these things in the course they get done, together as a team. One of them said to me, ‘I felt like I could do anything.’ And I was like, ‘That’s the whole reason for this. That’s it. That’s it. You got it.’ It was really even more rewarding than I thought it would be for them and for me.”

Hoenes said she hopes to instill confidence and leadership skills in the children who attend any of the courses. 

“Too often I hear people make excuses for not going on the adventure. Maybe I’ll take this trip someday. It’s too expensive. I don’t have time to go on an adventure,” Hoenes said. “I believe in overcoming these hurdles. We gain so much from outdoor adventuring. Outdoor adventures require courage,  and perseverance. They teach us to think and react critically to so many obstacles and the environment. I want to bring the value of outdoor adventures into everyday life, especially for kids. True Path Adventures started with a long-time dream of mine to introduce kids to the valuable lessons learned in outdoor adventuring.”

Hoenes said she is also willing to custom create outdoor experiences for kids, families and adults.

“I tell people to just contact me and we can build an adventure for them,” Hoenes said. “I have someone now who wants me to take them on a guided canoe adventure, not as big as my solo trip, but she wants to try it and I am going to help her with it.”

Prices for True Path Adventure custom courses vary based on experience.

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