New Perspectives - August, 2001 Issue #84
J.J. Williams – Admissions Director
Ridge Creek, located “in the beautiful mountains of Dahlonega, Georgia,
is a 27-day therapeutic wilderness leadership program for boys ages 13-17 who have been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
(ODD). Eight to twelve of the boys are placed in a group where they are taught leadership and decision-making skills, responsibility
and commitment, to “assist them, not only in wilderness, but in life.” They participate in orienteering, mountaineering, basic first
aid, environmental science, leadership and fitness activities that stretch their perceived limits of physical endurance and foster
teamwork and camaraderie among the students. At the end of each day, students are exhausted but have a sense of accomplishment.
Ridge Creek provides an opportunity for boys to think without being mired in the distractions and traps that ordinarily surround them.
Students have one-on-one counseling and/or group counseling by Masters-level counselors at the end of each day to help them gain insight
into how their fears, attitudes and impulsive, reckless behavior impact the group. The staff members attend training programs in risk
management techniques and decision-making throughout the year to insure that they are “highly proficient and certified in the skills
they teach, since “safety is of paramount importance at Ridge Creek. Four full-time staff members, in addition to the counselors,
support each group of boys, which provides a sense of ‘emotional safety” as well.