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New Perspectives - Aug, 1993 Issue #23 

HILLCREST SPRINGS
(formerly Wilderness Recovery Center)
Redding, California
Ross and Jan Carter
916-246-0117
by: Lon Woodbury

This is a 12-18 month program for boys ages 14-18. Established in 1990, the optimum size is 24. Although their primary focus deals with substance abuse, from the length and focus of their program, they work with all the other issues that usually are addressed by Special Purpose schools and programs. They have a educational and rehabilitation program that seeks to resolve developmental problems such as antisocial behavior, depression, anger, anxiety, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Certified by the California State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, counseling for substance abuse is staffed by trained and experienced people. Their policy is to get the whole family involved in the treatment process, and an aftercare plan will be developed during the course of treatment. They point with pride to a high recovery and rehabilitation rate, and claim many graduates have continued on to higher education or to a specific vocation. While many of the boys have come from county referrals and funding, Hillcrest Springs has the ability to reject county-referred children who are not appropriate, and the program focus is now tending toward private pay children.

A full curriculum of educational courses is offered by credentialed teachers and teachers' aids on campus from the local school system. Each boy receives individual instruction and tutoring based on his current academic level and learning abilities.

Located on a 200 acre working apple ranch in Montgomery Creek, approximately 35 miles east of Redding in northern California, the program involves each boy in daily ranch work and recreation, together with daily group and individual counseling. Each boy learns to live a structured, disciplined and goal oriented life mixed with the fun of many outdoor recreation activities including extended wilderness trips of up to 14 days in the nearby Trinity Alps, Mt. Shasta, or Lassen Park areas. They also have a facility in the Trinity Alps Wilderness area for three day retreats where families and participants can explore complex family issues in an environment of beauty and solitude.

I made a short visit on my way to the IECA conference in San Francisco last May, and liked what I saw and the people I met. I think the program has potential. Especially helpful for the family who has a child in trouble with the legal system in California, that child may qualify for county/state funding at Hillcrest Springs.

Copyright 1993, 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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