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New Perspectives - Dec, 1997 Issue #49

Summit Achievement, Inc.
Fryeburg, Maine 
1-800-99SUMMIT or fax (207) 697-2021
by: Candide Mays, Director of Admissions

Summit Achievement celebrated itís first anniversary on August 9, 1997. Our fully licensed therapeutic wilderness program is one of the first operating in the Northeast. During our first year we have graduated over 100 teens from throughout the country.

The Summit program is designed to accommodate individual differences, and to promote personal growth within a flexible time frame. Participation in the Summit program is from 21 to 90 days. We are the first licensed Residential treatment Center in Maine to provide this level of outdoor therapy with a focus on controlling and improving behavior. Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues are directly addressed.

Summit is certified by the State as a non-traditional private school. Our students may continue with, and transfer current academic work throughout the school year.

Our 5500 square foot Cold River Lodge houses the Summit program. This large restored mountain lodge sits on 50 acres of fields and woodland, bordering the White Mountain National Forest. The Lodge facility has a modern interior with all the comforts of home. Students are housed in newly constructed cabins while at the Lodge. Each cabin accommodates eight students in 4 bedrooms. Summit provides all equipment necessary for safe expedition travel, with the exception of personal clothing. 

Summit serves the following student profiles: 

* Moderate to high functioning adolescents who are in need of a primary wilderness intervention in order to address specific family, behavioral, or substance abuse issues. Typical stay is 21 to 90 days. Many of these individuals require assessment and planning which includes a therapeutic academic environment. Up to 60% of time is spent on wilderness expeditions, hiking, backpacking, and camping. 

* Individuals who need a transitional setting prior to attending private or public school. These individuals have graduated from a wilderness therapy or residential treatment center and need encouragement, and a safe structured environment in order to continue progress and growth. Typical stay is 21 to 90 days. 

* Individuals who are on the edge of being expelled or dismissed from school. Summit provides short term interventions with full ability to evaluate and assess the student for a variety of non-productive issues. Typical length of stay is 7 to 21 days. 

The Summit community operates on the level system, providing each student with concrete requirements in order to progress within the program. Students participate in expeditions ranging from 4 to 21 days in length. During the winter months, students typically spend 4 days on expedition and 3 days at the lodge. This allows the program to process outdoor and interpersonal experiences. Structured academics are required each week. Staff address classroom behavioral issues and conflict resolution skills, highlighting the importance of pursuing academic goals and aspirations. Rolling admission policy allows parents, consultants, and private school administrators access to enrollment in the program throughout the year.

Program founders Chris and Candi Mays have 20 years experience working in, and managing outdoor programs, primarily in the East. Their experience with Outward Bound, VisionQuest, and several other established programs have allowed them to accomplish the start up and early programming. Will White, LCSW, LADC is Clinical Director bringing over 15 years experience providing therapy to adolescents. Willís experience includes working with private school students from throughout New England, emphasizing the transition from therapeutic to academic settings.

The summit program provides support and encouragement to the parents, offering a unique follow up and support program to graduates. Several students have returned to the program for several days to address specific issues or to receive follow up during holidays or breaks. The close proximity of Eastern Schools allows this flexibility.

A non-punitive, caring environment which offers opportunities for challenge and growth through outdoor and traditional therapy are the basic tenants of the Summit program. Consultants, parents, and private school staff are welcome to visit us at any time.  

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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