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Messages - youthadvocate

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Vision Quest / VisionQuest Deaths
« on: June 23, 2006, 09:17:00 PM »
As always, great discussion guys.  Haven't been here for a while; so I don't know where to start.  Um, first off, and this is very important, I was in the Army not the Marines. hehe.  Okay, now that that's out of the way, intimidation and fear do not work as far as causing internalization of values.  I have never thought intimidation or fear were good practices for working with youth.  I will say that sadly some staff, not just in boot camps but the aforementioned counselors as well, do attempt to use this method.  I prefer to have true and mutual respect.  As a DI, if you've got that, then you are safe no matter what.  If you don't, then you're vulnerable to be attacked at any opportunity the residents may find.  And i wouldn't blame them.  As far as team building or any other type of thing working, I find it is vital to treat the youth as intelligent, thinking, people, which they are.  You may not do it initially, but you should put everything into context.  For instance, in a case where everyone is doing push-ups you might say something like, Trooper Smith's rack looked like crap.  So why is the whole platoon doing push-ups right now?  How can we apply this to someone acting a fool in the community?  As far as, i believe antagonizing was the word used, I can only assume this refers to a DI responding to explosive behavior on the part of a kid with explosive behavior of his own (and no this does not necessarily mean a physical altercation or hands being placed on anyone at all).  From a cognitive, social-learning standpoint, most people who display explosive behavior, do so because they have learned to utilize it as a defense mechanism.  If I explode, then people will leave me alone.  If an explosion is met with an explosion, the youth learns that in this case, explosive behavior will not mean being left alone, and so the youth will have to face whatever the issue is.  So, over the course of his time there, the youth gets experience actually processing issues and coming up with appropriate coping skills rather than running away from the problem. Now is three months in boot camp long enough to change a learned behavior, which has been utilized for 15 years or so?  No.  But that's why I place so much emphasis on after-care and in-community support no matter what type of placement the youth is being discharged from.  For real, for real, if there were greater emphasis on in-community supports in the first place, there would be less kids getting sent to placement, and that should be the goal.  I appologize if this was incoherent at points.  Unfortunately, this site won't let me break this up into paragraphs.

Vision Quest / VisionQuest Deaths
« on: May 14, 2006, 03:50:00 PM »
I read the article and the program sounds horrible.  I don't know who thought that it would be a good idea to abuse kids to "help" them, which is exactly what that is, but I think they should go through that program and see how well it helps them.  They don't do that sort of thing in actual military boot camps, I think it's a horrible idea to do in juvenile boot camps.  
I'm with you on the California thing, too.  The California Youth Authority is one of the most jacked up entities known to man.

Vision Quest / Break-out at Vision Quest, Venango Co., PA
« on: May 13, 2006, 06:08:00 PM »
That was back in the day.  They no longer sleep in tipis.  They now have heated (and air conditioned) long houses and get daily showers.  But the program is completely worthless and a waste of months or years of a young person's life.

Vision Quest / Vision Quest is a Sad Place
« on: May 13, 2006, 06:03:00 PM »
I worked there several years ago myself at the boot camp.  And I know what you mean about the full circle "program."  There's no program at all.  And I definitely noticed the blase outlook of their staff.  As far as doing something to get it shut down, I would suggest taking the advice of contacting agencies.  You could contact DPW directly and tell them your concerns.  I would not suggest secret video taping as it would breaking the confidentiality of the youth and would have serious legal implications for you as well as get you banned from working with kids in the future.

Vision Quest / VisionQuest Deaths
« on: May 13, 2006, 05:41:00 PM »
just so everyone knows, I am the second ex-visonquest drill instructor, and poster of the previous post.  I just signed up, so i wanted everyone to know that my posts will be under this screen name from now on.  Love the discussion, and I hope we can come to some well thought consensus on what changes should be made.  The system is badly broken, and I'm down for helping to get it changed.

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