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About Us



In short, we are a residential treatment center for young men with residential treatment center environment and academic structure. White River Academy was founded in Puerto Rico in 2002 by operations and program director Justin Nielson. After five years, it relocated to Delta, Utah, which sits on the edge of the rural Great Basin area.

White River Academy has developed a strong relationship with the town it calls home. Delta is a community where small-town values still shape day-to-day life. Rugged individualism and self-reliance are highly valued, but Delta’s also a community where everyone takes an interest in each youth’s future. This mixture of guidance and mentoring from the local community along with our intensive treatment curriculum guides our students to become men of character and integrity.

Our residential treatment center is licensed as a residential treatment center by the state of Utah. We can provide help for students with a variety of issues including:

How We Heal

  • ADHD

  • Adoption and attachment issues

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Impulse control disorders such as gaming addictions

  • Learning disabilities

  • Low self-esteem

  • Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety

  • Oppositional defiance

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Substance abuse

  • Trauma

How We Work

White River Academy’s staff draws on a wide range of skills to provide treatment and care for students. We understand our students’ fears, insecurities and emotional and behavioral needs and employ a variety of therapeutic interventions to teach teenage boys how to better understand their own thoughts and make better decisions. We also use techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy as part of our therapeutic efforts.


Our program has a low student-to-staff ratio, so every student can have the individual guidance he requires to discover his true self. Finally, our positive peer culture approach encourages students to work with and be accountable to each other, increasing their self-esteem and self-worth.

Our program helps each youth acquire the competencies, knowledge and coping skills necessary to replace bad behavior with insight and personal responsibility. Individual and group therapy help students learn to understand and manage their specific feelings and behaviors.

Men Working in Recording Studio

If you have more questions about enrollment, admissions or our program, please call us at (435) 922-1183


How We Teach

White River Academy puts a strong emphasis on academic development. Our faculty develops customized educational plans for each student, whether they need academic rehabilitation or college prep. We are known for helping students raise their grades and many of our students go on to college, often with scholarships.

Rake and Wheelbarrow

How We Serve

An important component of our program is community service and involvement. Additionally, each student is required to plan, fundraise and implement a significant service project before completing his program. Students perform volunteer projects that have included:

  • Reading to students in elementary school

  • Coaching youth sports teams

  • Re-roofing a church

  • Repairing cattle fences

  • Installing a fire station flagpole

How We Stay Healthy

White River Academy encourages a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle, which includes healthy foods and exercise. Students have the opportunity to participate in nutrition classes, meal planning and preparation. For exercise, each student engages in a personal fitness routine that often includes exercises and activities like lifting, hiking, biking and running.

Our program also includes additional activities that provide an opportunity for our students to take on and overcome wilderness challenges, including outdoor adventures like bouldering, fishing, canyoneering, rock climbing and whitewater rafting.

Counseling Group

How We Involve Families

At White River Academy, we recognize the importance of family. Although it’s necessary for your son to be away from home in order to experience personal growth, we make every effort to include you and your family in the experiences he will be having at WRA.


Although phone calls are limited to a pre-approved schedule, you and your son are welcome to email and write letters as often as you like. We have a parent liaison who will keep you informed of your son’s progress, and you will have regular phone calls with your son’s therapist. Also you are welcome at – and encouraged to attend – our quarterly family weekends.

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