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Schools, Programs, & Visit Reports - Nov, 1989 Issue 

Spring Creek Community School
Headmaster: Steve Cawdry
Lon Woodbury's Visit

"Nothing is worth giving up all the work I've done to be where I'm at in the Round Table."

I was listening to a 16-year-old student Tour-Guide with six months at Spring Creek Community School (SCC) in Western Montana. With her talk of Squires, Knights, and Knights Templars, I was beginning to wonder if I had stumbled onto Camelot in the Montana wilderness. Actually, it is a student developed program which uses the symbolism of King Arthur's Round Table to help the students achieve the courage of honesty. A student has to apply for each level, face the honest and full questioning of his or her peers, and be elected by majority vote for each level. Three-fourths of the student body are members, and as one girl stated, "We own and help run the school." I found this was fully supported by the faculty and was an important part of their program.

I was there to spend two days with Admissions Director Doug Ferral to critique their admissions program. I found in the last six months the Admissions Department has learned one of its most important duties is to service referring professionals, helping them to service their client parents having children at SCC. Admissions is listened to and respected by program people. For example, Daily Living staff are currently responding to a push by Admissions to upgrade the standards of the dorms and the physical environment.

The SCC program is a marriage of experiential education, traditional academics, AA/Addiction model, family systems counseling, physical activity, healthy daily living, student centered education, and the idealism of King Arthur's Round Table. The curriculum is unified to encourage students making their own decisions as soon as is feasible, allowing the staff to gradually back off from making decisions for the child. They feel this is vital to keep the students from developing a dependency on the school. The students I talked to had made positive changes in their behavior and attitudes. In the Personal Recovery Program developed for each child when he or she first enrolls, SCC identifies the child's and family's issues, and helps the child and parents work on them throughout their stay. Among other issues, they have identified the special needs of graduates of Chemical Dependency Units and are ready to help that child continue working on those issues through continuing their 12-step work. In essence, SCC seems to be strongest as a long term continuation from a short term Drug Treatment Program. Another strength is the attitude that once enrolled, a student and his or her family are always part of SCC. The counseling staff are regularly traveling to all parts of the country to work with parents of current students. Alumni and parents of alumni are encouraged to attend these groups and many do keep working on their issues through these groups. SCC is also looking to develop a program for young adults over the age of 18 some time next year.

Everybody has some fun too. If you visit and time it right, you maybe can even see Headmaster Steve Cawdry play Merlin in a Round Table ceremony, complete with a wizard's conical hat.

Copyright 1989, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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