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New Perspectives - Mar, 2002 Issue #91 

Galena Ridge Wilderness Program
Trout Creek, Mountana
Paul Clark and Cheri DesMarais

Galena Ridge provides a small, rigorous outdoor adventure program with strong counseling support that serves as a follow-up for teens transitioning from other programs or treatment facilities. “Our program will complement a Twelve-step oriented treatment program, as we use these principles in our own lives. Galena Ridge is not just a behavior modification program. We address both behaviors and feelings and help students explore their interaction with their families. Our goal is to assist teens in the process of moving back into their families, to clarify communication, process emotional issues, and re-evaluate family priorities…Individual and family emotional health is the critical focus for all we do…We consistently find our students need the willingness and involvement of parents to explore how each member of their family contributes to the family process as a whole. Our family conference time in September is an important event for parents and their sons.”

Galena Ridge accepts males 12 - 17 years old, ranging from those who may need a boost in self-esteem and motivation, to those who are experiencing conflict at home or difficulty in school. Students may be “acting-out” with inappropriate behaviors and may have issues with family, peer relationships, physical or sexual abuse and/or substance abuse. It is not an appropriate placement for teens who have a history of severe violence toward others, psychoses, sexual abuse perpetration, suicide attempts, or who are at high-risk for running away. Because this is a physically challenging program, teens who are not able to be active for health reasons may not be appropriate. “

Our country lifestyle and outdoor adventures provide the structural framework where growth and healing can occur.” Typical activities at Galena Ridge include: backpacking, mountaineering, orienteering, rock climbing, canoeing, primitive living skills, environmental awareness activities, and individual and group counseling. The family conference is scheduled at the end of the summer.

The base of operations is located five miles from Trout Creek (population 400) and thirty miles from Thompson Falls (pop. 1,600) on 10 acres of forestland bordering the Cabinet Mountains and Wilderness Area in Northwest Montana. The property includes Paul and Cheri’s home, a fishpond, barn and camping area, with lots of wildlife frequenting our backyard. The program is conducted primarily in remote and scenic wilderness areas throughout Montana and utilizes the base camp for course preparation, counseling sessions and the family conference. The program operates beginning in May or June and runs through August. The usual length of stay is 4 - 12 weeks with rolling admission between expeditions.

Some of the students transfer to the Twenty Peak Ranch Program from September through May. This residential program offers academics in public school as well as a structured living environment with continued counseling support.

PO Box 1671 | Bonners Ferry, ID 83805 | 208-267-5550
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