Students participating in the residential program will be young men between the ages of 14 and 18, who are ready for the next step in their recovery. Our residential program can support up to 25 students, living in a household setting with no more than 15 students in a single house. These young men need are in need of a long-term placement to work on their chemical dependency, emotional, and academic challenges. Our residential program is designed to provide a strong level of support while still allowing the student to experience a normal life, as close to what any well-adjusted teen might experience in any given day.
We firmly believe that a well-structured environment, designed to support the student and build upon his success in as close to a real world situation as possible is crucial to the long term success of the individual. This is an aspect of our program that is woven into each students day-to-day life as quickly as possible. From having to accomplish chores, such as cooking, laundry, or cleaning, to attending public school, to our many opportunities to be involved with the community, our students have the opportunity to experience a normal life while in a controlled and supportive environment.
Over the summer, our program takes full advantage of the scenic and rustic beauty of Northwestern Montana by engaging in four adventure based wilderness trips. These trips are designed to take full advantage of serenity of the wilderness in order to help the student truly focus on his challenges. On each trip, every student is given an individual Master Plan with several assignments and tasks to be completed during that trip. Between each trip the students will have a two day break back at our facility.
Traditionally, our first trip is a two-week backpacking trip through Lolo National Forest. Each day the group, led by our wilderness instructors, will wake, prepare breakfast, break camp and hike towards the next campsite. Once there, they will set up camp, enjoy a well-earned meal and engage in group and individual reflection. We follow Leave No Trace principles on each of our trips which reinforces the concept of having zero negative impact on our surroundings and the individuals who may come after us.
Following the hike we take a two-week bicycle trip of nearly 500 miles. This trip follows a large loop, with the top of the loop coming within several miles of the Canadian border. Students will face several challenges along this ride, not the least of which includes how to maintain and repair their bikes.
Two-weeks in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation is our next trip. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is a designated wilderness area covering over 1 million acres. Our students will backpack into a different area every year and provide much needed support to help maintain and repair the numerous trails and campsites through the 'Bob.' At the end of this trip, each student receives a certificate certifying their 90 hours of community service, which may be applied towards any obligations they may have back home.
Our last trip is an eight-day raft trip on the Clark Fork river. Along the way, students will encounter several rapids, engage in 'raft wars,' and work together as a team to keep their rafts moving and their supplies dry. This is often the highlight of the summer and provides a fun and relaxing end to our summer program.
Throughout the entire year, including the summer if needed, students will continue to wok on their academic growth. Many of the young men who come to our program are behind in their schooling, sometimes they are just missing one class, sometimes they are missing several years. Whatever the case, our Academic Coordinator will work closely with each student, parent, and the school to set each student up for success. This may involve additional independent study classes, one-on-one tutoring, or some time in a home school environment prior to full enrollment in the public school.
Whatever the case, it is our goal for each student to attend public school. Without this aspect, students may never gain the strength it takes to handle the sorts of challenges they will face when they return home. Having the support of their peers, many of whom will be in the same classes as they are, provides the opportunity to learn how to overcome these obstacles to their sobriety, with the more senior peer leading by example and through positive confrontation.