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Schools & Program Visits - Feb, 1997 Issue #44

Trout Creek, Montana Paul Clark and Cheri DesMarais

Visit report by Vicky Hartman, June 3, 1996, staff at Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions, Albany, Oregon 

Galena Ridge is a small family-style program for four boys in NW Montana. Daily activities include daily chores, work crews, attending public school, outdoor activities which includes fencing and archery as well as more traditional outdoor activities and involvement in the local community theater. Boys who would succeed at Galena are those who can handle public school, and boys with Drug and Alcohol issues unless they need a strict aftercare program. Paul and Cheri provide appropriate guidelines to help boys be accountable for their actions and explore their issues. Families will need to be involved in the process. The boys live with Paul and Cheri and their two sons on 10 acres outside Trout Creek, Montana on the edge of the Cabinet Wilderness. Paul and Cheri also run a 9 week wilderness component in the summer, 3 weeks of “primitive” (wool blankets, exact rations, bow drills, etc.), and then move on to a wide range of outdoor activities. They use this experience as an assessment tool for potential residents as well as a challenge for current residents. Both Paul and Cheri take turns going out to interact/visit the trek, run groups and support the field staff. My impressions were it was warm and welcoming, despite the frantic activity of preparing to start their summer program. Communication with participants was warm and clear, and there was obvious affection for Paul and Cheri. In addition to getting ready for their summer program, they were also individualizing their program to handle a 13 year old who was not coping well with their standard operating procedure. They maintain good communication with parents, provide parents with reading lists, and encourage them to attend AL ANON

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