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New Perspectives - Oct, 1997 Issue #48

Thompson Falls, Montana

Spring Creek Lodge, for ages 12-17, is the newest program started by Bob Lichfield and Teen Help, headquartered in St. George, Utah. It is a “Residential Boarding School for boys with behavior, attitude, substance abuse, defiance, or emotional problems.” 

This new school/program is not to be confused with the old Spring Creek Community School ran by Steve and Nancy Cawdrey. Steve and Nancy have closed SCC to pursue other interests, and the property was acquired by Teen Help. Only the physical property is the same. The personnel and philosophies are different. 

For those familiar with Cross Creek Manor, a school for girls in LaVerkin, Utah, and Paradise Cove, a boys school in Somoa, Spring Creek Lodge will look familiar. There is a heavy emphasis on behavior modification with tight supervision around the clock. Appropriate behavior is encouraged, reinforced, and rewarded while poor behavior brings immediate consequences. 

The series of intensive seminars which has been very successful at Cross Creek Manor and Paradise Cove are duplicated here. Called TASKS (Teen Accountability, Self-esteem, and Keys to Success), they consist of four phases aimed at enhancing self esteem. “Each student will take a look at issues such as honesty, integrity, trust, agreements, leadership, communication, peer pressure, self-limiting beliefs, anger responsible and accountable decision-making.” The purpose is to help the boy evaluate the choices they have been making based on the results in their lives, and use that as a basis for choosing new and more effective choices. 

Parents also are invited to participate in seminars which include a three day Parent Seminar (similar to the seminars attended by the boys), followed by a series of three-day Parent/Child Seminars which parents and teens attend together. The goal is to enhance working relationships within the family unit. “Parents and boys are also encouraged to attend the Parent/Child Follow-up Seminar a couple of months after the teen goes home. 

Academics are performance-based. Course credit is based not on time spent in class but on mastery of the subject matter. This means for the student who is serious about his studies, he is not held back by other teens in the class, lesson plans, teachers’ schedules, course offerings, or class availability. All academic classes are based on a module system. When a student enrolls in a class, he is provided with a module (a module is the equivalent of a chapter) to work on for that class. A teacher is always available to him. When he has passed a test for that module with a score of at least 80%, he goes to the next module. When he has mastered all the subject matter for that class, he receives academic credit. 

Another important element is Emotional Growth and Personal Development. This tightly integrated part of the program includes group feedback sessions where the boys interact with each other in an honest environment in which they learn to express their feelings, and develop an awareness of what is working and what is not working in their lives. Also included are audio tapes, specially-designed reading materials, and educational, skill building video tapes. 

Located in some of the most beautiful and rugged mountains in the country with four very obvious seasons, the students not only have numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, but can also gain a personal appreciation of “adjusting to nature”. The staff believes the setting “fosters growth, new perspectives, and a strong appreciation for home and parents.”

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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