May, 2001 Issue #81
A. Lee Wardle, CEO
Skyline Journey is a newly established, fully licensed, therapeutic, educational and experiential outdoor program that “puts teens in touch with their potential.” Designed for teens ranging from 13-18 years of age, their “main objective is to individually maximize personal growth and understanding while developing social awareness and interpersonal relationships.” Skyline Journey strives to “help each individual participant realize that he or she is a valuable, lovable person with unique attributes.” Each will be “helped to increase personal responsibility and integrity, self-reliance, internal motivation, communication skills, academic skills and improve family relationships and social responsibilities.”
The program offers a curriculum in an outdoor-camp setting that can range from 28 to 60-days, depending on the progress of the student and the needs of both the student and parents. Each group is organized into nine teens with 3 to 1 staff ratio and a treatment team consisting of a Clinical Director, Field Director and Field Therapist. The treatment focuses on both emotional and behavioral disorders including chemical dependency, impulse control disorders, depression, ADD, and other behavioral disorders.
Upon entering Skyline Journey, an individualized treatment plan is developed by assessing intellectual, academic and psychological functioning. It “is not a forced deprivation program. We differ from most other programs in that we provide for all of the individual’s needs at the start. This way we begin with a more receptive, less hostile individual. As the individual learns to cope with his or her life choices, along with survival of the outdoors, worldly conveniences gradually become easier to give up.”
The academic program focuses on social, emotional and outdoor skills, and is rooted in the latest educational research, which consists of a “Rites of Passage” curriculum. Progress is monitored by state certified staff as each teen completes a series of Social Science, English-literature, General Science, and Physical Education units, all while simultaneously maintaining a personal journal. Skyline Journey will administer academic credit, and if motivated, students may earn additional credits.
A therapist will be assigned to work with the student for the duration of the student’s enrollment in the program, with a minimum of therapy sessions once a week. In addition, the therapist will work closely with field staff in order to maximize the field staff interaction with the student.
All of Skyline Journey’s staff are highly trained and qualified, and in-service training is ongoing. An extensive background check is conducted on each employee with annual updates to ensure student safety. Skyline maintains daily logs on each student regarding field activities as well as therapeutic interviews. It is licensed by the State of Utah.
The program offers “open enrollment, same gender psychologists, a challenging curriculum, no locks or alarms, and 24 hour contact. The menu program meets or exceeds the recommended daily allowance established by the National Research Council—National Academy of Sciences. A 3000+ calorie, nutritional diet will be provided each day, along with (1) daily multivitamin.
The Owens and Wardle Family own and manage Skyline Journey. Owners Austin Lee and Alberta have been married for forty-nine years, with four children and seventeen grandchildren. All off their children are involved in Skyline Journey with them. Austin Lee Wardel was raised on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in Eastern Utah. He was Chief of Police for the Ute Indian Tribe for 6 ½ years, Criminal Investigator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for 30 years, the last sixteen years of which he was stationed on the Northern Idaho Agency at Lapwai, Idaho, being responsible for law and order on four reservations. During his career he received several awards for developing youth programs on the reservations that helped prevent juvenile delinquency. Other staff members include his son who has had eleven years in outdoor programs, an athletic director and certified teacher at a Utah high school, a medical doctor, a registered nurse experienced with therapeutic youth programs, and other family members.
To graduate, the student must reach the designated “summit” level, at which time the parents are invited and expected to attend a “Summit Celebration.” Skyline Journey is “dedicated to assist the teen to eventually return home to their families and communities where they can attain the measure of success in life that they desire.”
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1999-2001, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)