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Messages - xii.anon

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Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 31, 2012, 02:31:16 AM »
The treatment plans are unique for each individual the individual therapist goes over a treatment plan at the beginning of the week and the head staff can make minor changes in the field when the therapist visits mid-week the treatment plan is reviewed as to its effectiveness and the therapist is updated on each student.  There are several therapist who conference after each debriefing period along with the resident teachers and other members of the treatment team.  There is a sat phone available for any updates deemed pertinent by the head staff for immediate  consult as well as three call-ins per day for status updates and welfare checks.  The packets required to be completed are the same for every student and only occasionally modified for the individual.  General camp chores and upkeep are part of everyone's respectability.  The individual treatment  plans consist of specific ways to respond to a student, specific things that should be addresses in essay sections of packet, a set of weekly, daily and long term goals and coaching techniques to be used on one on one basis with students.  There's much more but as unique as each case is its impossible for me to outline the full breadth of an individual treatment plan.

As far as the marketing goes I was not involved directly with that so I can't speak as to how the process goes.  What I do know is that often times the students coming in had expectations that were different from what was reality.  What from students were saying was there was lot of talk about element such as the fishing trip which was a midway reward for completing half the program and little talk about the nature of everything else.  I think for these programs to be effective they should only be accepting people who want to do something hard to push the boundaries of there potential and grow as an individual.  Not those who want a vacation there is much cheaper vacations to take.  However I do know know the gap in information often came from the sponsors usually the parents who would say anything to get their kids to go to the program.  Some of the best students I had had footed the bill themselves and would push you as a staff to push them harder or hold them accountable because they really valued the experience and the goal of the program.

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 30, 2012, 03:26:12 AM »
I will first mention I'm not here to debate just trying to inform.  If it appears there was judgment in my comment I apologize.  The only point I was trying to make before is there is an apparent gap between what is marketed and what is sold.  My comment about the students was not a measure of other students attitudes but relating, in my experience, what gives the best chance of success.  I think if the students coming in were made more aware of the reality of the program rather than being marketed an adventure product they would feel less cheated (and rightly so) and more committed going in, if the still chose to enroll.
I don't think comparing the stress level of students to staff is a fair comparison.  One person is in treatment, while the staff is needs to be vigilant about safety concerns 24 hrs a day.  Some staff just weren't willing to perform at the level needed.  You expect the staff arrive with the ability to perform.  The course is 15 weeks long, I did several years of 8 on 6 off, each scenario has its own responsibilities and expectations.  I think we are comparing apples and oranges.

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 27, 2012, 01:57:53 AM »
Any job where you spent more that half of your life without a phone and under the amount of stress that comes with will have high turnover.  Moreover if your performance was not up to standards you would be let go pretty quick this includes behavior off the mountain.

As to the review by Alex I remember him, I think the biggest issue there is there is a gap between marketing and what goes on in camp.  A lot of my former students have been really successful and a lot of good work is done there.  But when the company is marketing an adventure model when much of that has been stripped away over the years and been steered more to the therapy model I can understand why some people don't agree with the program.  I think coming into a situation like this with the wrong expectations will lead to disappointment.  Its not fun its repetitive, as repetition is common with most any therapeutic model.  I really think when somebody enters the program with no expectation other than its going to be hard but they need to change and want to, its a great program.  As to the question that I've been avoiding of why I left it because of the marketing I went from having great productive supportive groups to having groups that have half the students not wanting to change and not wanting anyone else to either.  I think that's what brings allot of these places down, the selection process for these camps is supposed to build a team of students who can build each other up, we used to turn down many applicants, but then we were taking anybody for a while and it made it impossible to manage.  Since I have left the have returned to the old model and hear things are back to like they were.  I will say the group Alex was with was one of the better ones we had a staff that was running the group when he got there who was one of those we had to let go not that she was doing any of the terrible things that I've read about here but, she was just in-congruent with the goals of the program and didn't build the most supportive and therapeutic environment.

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 25, 2012, 02:09:47 AM »
Runs weren't to common unless, which brings me two the second part of your question, students were conspiring or there was a lot of talk about runs.  Students and staff alike were not allowed to talk about run  incidents, distances to highway, ect. as it may perpetuate a negative thought.

Point were earned by doing everything required to do throughout the day from waking up, participating in camp maintenance, hygiene, group participation, ect..
- 525 point are earned throughout the day
- During the first 6 weeks you pass 450 points were requires to pass a day, and you may fail one day.
- After passing 6 weeks students move on to ranch phase which means more responsibilities and require 475 points to pass a day
- points can be lost for any rules not followed, and disrespecting other student and staff.
- Average student fails 2-3 weeks (in adult camps), some never pass, but that's rare
- Failing a week means a repeated week, if you fail early in the week there is nothing really to hold you accountable until the next week

Regarding talking drugs or drug related behaviors, health and treatment options were OK to talk about anytime however story's about drugs and talking about positive things about drugs were not allowed.  This is because, mind you I'm only answering questions not debating efficacy, this particular model is designed to be stressful in the work is as hard as maybe a survival model, or adventure therapy model.  You are out of your comfort zone, your out of your expertise, basically in over your head your are often going to turn to what ever coping mechanism you have developed.  If that is drugs that is something we want to change.  Studies have shown that brain activity in the brain of an addict changes before the drug is consumed the things that cause this are called trigger mechanisms; looking at a needle, looking at a pipe, or even talking about drugs.  So when your in the wilderness drugs aren't available all you got left is to talk about it.  Sooo the idea is to replace the old trigger with something positive and therapeutic.  Unless you are in a guided exercise or in a therapeutic session.

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 23, 2012, 03:05:02 AM »
Sorry I will have to be vague I don't care to have myself identified by my former employer as I was well known and stile have contact with the owners, so I will skip over the first part of your question and give you a staffs perspective, in particular a head staff.  Before the beginning of your 8 day shift you arrive at the office as a head staff you first meet with the directors alone and two directors.  In this meeting they let you know who your support staff are and address all issues that have arose during your off shift you also go over any issues they have with your performance that have come up during this time being with the students there is always something since there always a way to improve there is always something to talk about.  It feels like reprimand at first but after a while you come to understand you can always improve.  They address you in the same manner you are expected to problem solve with students, "What is wrong with this situation?" "How are you supposed to handle this?" also use same therapeutic model that is expected to be used in camp "I can see where your coming from with that but can you see how that is not in line with what we are trying to accomplish here?"

After that you go to a general meeting with the entire shift, the directors, therapist, teachers and treatment team where we address any company wide issues, improvements, policy changes, and so on.  Then you meet with your team and each therapist individually and go over the treatment plan for each individual student.  This includes addressing points of concern such as run threats or conspiracy.  If you have good status and report with the company you will aid in any modifications to treatment plan to suit your staffs capabilities and strengths to meet the student goals.  After that the therapist will sometimes pull you aside to address any issues to be wary of concerning staff usually a sign that staff may not be with the company much longer.

After that you gather supplies and head to the mountain (your assign camp).  Upon arriving support staff unload supplies and head to camp and there is an exchange with the opposite head staff to fill in any additional details of the goings on and most recent developments.  Then you exchange keys go into camp and address students and staff as a group you assign students to their individual staff and gather supplies, distribute food and educational materials.

Day to Day

A staff is assigned to go out before wake up start a fire put a pot on for breakfast and then call 8 minutes, the students then have 8 minutes to roll up there gear and stuff their packs.  When everyone arrives at the fire circle hygiene is done  (wet wipe bath around fire: feet, hands, neck and face) Then we retrieve bear bags and make breakfast we then brush teeth.  After that the rest of the day is spent maintaining camp, and working with individually.  Student are responsible to finish all required work to complete week on their own.  Staff keeps track of points (students must earn a certain amount of points throughout day to pass a day), works on individual treatment plans (expectations are different for every student), and keeps schedule.  Staff will meet once during the day to make sure everything is on track most often, this is done after a phone call is made via Sat-phone to the office and updates are given,  if possible the head staff will wait until this moment to reprimand support staff and make adjustments.  After dinner there is group this is the only time  which starts with questions, comments or concerns, this is a safe time where students and staff alike talk about changes they want or things the like.  After that there is a group exercise this is the only time, other than individual therapy, that students may talk about drugs or drug related behaviors. Then to bed.

What else...students have therapy once a week the therapist comes up and head staff will meet with the therapist to give an update the therapist has also received the updates throughout the week, after individual therapy head staff again meets with therapist to update treatment plans.

When the week is over we go down to the office and debrief, again head staff meets with the director and we go over week at this meeting we focus on staff performance then head staff is told how their performance could be better and how to address support staff.  Head staff is given a stack of check meets with team again and, if necessary individual staff, hands out checks and we go home for 6 days.

Couple notes this is how I ran my group and not all groups are the same but due to my lengthy experience this is pretty close to how they should be also I was head staff in an adult group but again others should be the same

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 22, 2012, 05:10:14 PM »
I don't remember the name of the other program it was about a decade ago.  Moffat county is only used for the youth camps no adults at the time when we started using Moffat county we had to evacuate another area I that may have been the only time we had the adults near those camps and it was only for a few days.   Ashley Valley has many different arrangements for property use and arrangements differ from site to site depend on what licenses and permits are needed, who owns the property ect.  As to the "No one older than age 18 shall attend the program" that was particular to Moffat only I don't understand why since, in general, adult programs run much less risk of incident.

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 22, 2012, 02:40:19 AM »
Quote from: "Ursus"
Quote from: "xii.anon"
Former employee at Mountain Home/Ashley Valley happy to answer any questions you may have. prefer to remain anonymous.
Okay, I'll bite... For starters:

  • Do you know what program backgrounds the founders of MHYR/Ashley Valley Wilderness have?
  • What other programs do they seem to have a professional relationship with?
  • How similar, from both a philosophical and operational standpoint, are Mountain Home Youth Ranch and Ashley Valley Wilderness?
  • Do MHYR and AVW make use of the same terrain/property acreage, or is the use assigned accordingly ... as per stipulations of the conditional use permits?
  • Are the local folk aware of the fact that these people have an age-over-18 program, namely, Ashley Valley Wilderness?
  • Why are you a former employee, as opposed to a current employee, of MHYR/AVW?

Thanks in advance ... for your input and insight!

Marty Bingham Started the program after working briefly at a wilderness program in the area that was on its way out (as in closing). Rob Cauldwell also worked there, Rob originally didn't take an offer to partner up but later did after Marty did the leg work.  Marty owned a lumber company before Ashley Valley

Just the two programs they work with a few "Educational Advisers" who arrange transitional programs for those whose needs aren't met at Ashley Valley but there is no preference to any particular one

As to your third question, near identical with more privileges on the adult side eg: headlamps, fishing trip

Property is complicated they have many resources for property not just those in Craig that is a very small percentage of the property used

The local folk aren't your normal type, if you mean where the camps are most are there to be alone, so its hard to say those in town certainly are aware of both programs.  About 90% of the time the youth and adult camps are at least 60 miles apart so your talking about two different communities

Facility Question and Answers / Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« on: January 22, 2012, 01:42:26 AM »
Former employee at Mountain Home/Ashley Valley happy to answer any questions you may have. prefer to remain anonymous.

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