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News & Views - Feb, 1997 Issue #44


Spring Creek Community School (SCC)
Thompson Falls, Montana

By: Linda Shaffer; Educational Consultant
Sandpoint, Idaho 208-263-8394 

The Cawdreys of Thompson Falls, Montana have moved on to a new chapter and new adventures. 

After 25 years in the field of working with struggling adolescents, (15 as founders of Spring Creek Community and prior years in England), Steve and Nancy this past Fall have sold Spring Creek and 35 of their 80 acres to another school. Owners of Majestic Ranch and Cross Creek Manor in Utah will run a boys only program there naming it Spring Creek Lodge. 

Over the years, Steve and Nancy have impacted MANY lives -- those of students, parents, staff, and former staff as well who have moved on to start four well-known programs serving teenagers and families today- Mission Mountain School in Condon, Loveland Farms in Noxon, Explorations in Trout Creek, and Galena Ridge in Trout Creek, all in Montana. Many lessons were learned with the Cawdreys and from the Cawdreys about academically and emotionally educating children, and demonstrating courage, passion, honesty, fun, laughter, pioneering and pursuing one’s dreams. 

Steve and Nancy, as founders of SCC, were certainly in the forefront of the controversial, innovative, experiential educational arena where tradition did not wish or quite know how to tread. There were muddy roads and ground breakings, gardens, wilderness expeditions, student leaders among initially very angry teenagers, all forms of art, learning to speak French, theater productions, native American teachings, a student newspaper, the yearly adventure to somewhere in Europe, graduations and on to college, experiential education, group sessions, encounter groups, chopping wood and carrying water, personal growth interwoven into an academic curriculum, and program changes and evolution into Anne Wilson Schaef process work. 

Over the years, Steve and Nancy took lots of struggling teens, families and staff into some unchartered waters at times. Because of their care and courage and passion there were for all a ton of experiences of exhilaration, intensity, disagreement, resolution, appreciation, joy, creativity, introspection, challenge, and surely growth for all. 

The Cawdrey’s, at this writing, continue to live in their log home on the 45 acres adjacent to the new school program. The roles of writer/parent (Steve) and artist/parent (Nancy) are taking the lead at this time -- FINALLY -- after many years of juggling and sometimes setting aside those dreams in order to develop a school for struggling adolescents. Nancy continues with her oil paintings, watercolors, and silk paintings that are winning shows and selling well. Steve is taking on his interest as a writer from his studio while listening to Hawaiian music and watching snow fall on nearby Tamaracks, he reports. And young son Morgan, --- well, we hear Morgan is presenting Steve with “major challenges” (translation: “beating Dad a lot”) at an African Wooden board game while winning ribbons for painting, as well. 

Steve, Nancy and Morgan -- MERCI BIEN! Those of us who came your way broadened our life experiences, paths, skills and opportunities incredibly when we found Spring Creek and “signed on” to be a part of the adventure, pioneering and growth. Such creative environments are bound to support its staff members’ continuing growth as each school builds to a point and individuals split off again and again for many and varied reasons and keep the process going, as you are now diving more completely into Writer and Artist. You are sent all good wishes for joy and delight in new passions pursued -- and, especially good wishes, in all your most passionate efforts at trying to stay two steps ahead of a growing, creative, bright, young son. 

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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