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Schools, Programs, & Visit Reports - Jan, 1990 Issue 

Loveland Farms School
Lon Woodbury's Visit: December, 1989

"It's not a program, its a home" I was emphatically told by a 16-year-old blond. I had to agree. If a girl can not stay with her family for some reason, then Loveland Farms School would be a good second choice.

Larry and Sherri Culp bought several acres a few years ago bordering National Forest land in Western Montana. A little under two years ago, they decided to work with a small number of teenage girls who were making bad choices and needed a safe environment to grow up in. Starting with a log cabin, they have built a large home with room for six girls and staff to live in.

They are in the enviable position of having more applicants than they have room. The school currently has six girls, which is their maximum. They feel the girls can get the attention and help needed only if the numbers are kept down to family size. The Culps adopt family type rules, and refuse to be policemen, or anything else that is reminiscent of an institution.

A new student usually starts with a 28 day wilderness expedition, which gives the Culps a chance to determine if the girl will fit in with the other girls already there and if she really needs the residential experience. Once she has completed the expedition, she settles into the routine of her new home away from home. She will attend the local public school, and tutors are available to help with school work in the evening.

Each girl is responsible to do what she is able to help with keeping the place running. They help with the cooking, the garden, taking care of animals, canning, housework, and are taught knitting, sewing, and how to use workshop tools and do basic mechanics. The Culps claim the girls are vital to keeping things running, and the girls feel that by being needed, it gives them a feel of ownership and makes it a home.

Their no-nonsense approach to daily problems that come up gives a sense of safety, stability, and consistency. The girls that are accepted are lucky, and the ones I met seemed to realize that.

Copyright 1990, 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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