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New Perspectives - Dec, 1997 Issue #49

“Learning Is The Best Alternative”
Marion, Montana
Loren Johnston

Taking in their first students in September of this year, Wilderness Ranch is the new long-term program undertaken by the well known Wilderness Treatment Center. The Ranch is separate from the Treatment Center, situated on 40 acres which is across the highway from the Treatment Center. 

They are aiming at working with young men between the ages of 14 and 18 who need a supportive, challenging, structured and positive environment. The ideal students will be those who have successfully finished a short term program and do not need an intensive therapeutic environment, but know they have issues they need help to work on, and going home is not a good option. Although addiction counseling is available, the Ranch is not geared exclusively toward those needing drug treatment. 

Academics will be through an enhanced local public High School program, with tutoring and mentoring support for academics being provided during the time students are back at the Ranch. Enrollment at the Ranch follows the traditional school year, with placements for the school year and for summer programs. However, if necessary, students can remain on the Ranch during typical vacations and during transitions between school year and the summer program. Educational placement will be from one to two years. 

“Young men will benefit from the structured daily schedule of schooling, sports, character development, recreation and mentoring that our staff provides. Young men will have the opportunity to experience a true Montana cattle ranch and its workings. Students will be provided with an opportunity to learn positive social skills through their activities both at school and at home.” The program utilizes family-style living in a private ranch home environment. The staff are currently being quite selective in their enrollments in order to solidly develop a positive peer culture with the original students, and plan to have a maximum of eight students when the program has matured. The low tuition should make this an attractive option for parents who need a safe, structured and supportive environment for their son, who does not need the highly structured, intensive and/or therapeutic environments of the more expensive schools and programs. 

Copyright © 1997, 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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