New Perspectives -
July, 2002 Issue #95
The Edge at Shepherd’s Hill
A Division of Gables Academy
Stone Mountain, GA
Jon Walsch, M.Ed Program Director
The Edge is a residential therapeutic wilderness program designed
to equip struggling teens with the tools necessary to become more productive members at home, school and in the community.
Students live outdoors, where “communal cooperation” is necessary for even the most basic daily needs. Their rights and privileges
are exercised only to the degree that responsibilities and obligations are fulfilled. The challenge of living in the woods for the
duration of the program takes kids out of their normal comfort zone and requires they learn new and more effective coping skills.
At The Edge, therapy is done everywhere and all the time. Staff are trained to look for “teachable moments” in every activity and
in every situation. A variety of proven therapeutic strategies are used to challenge faulty thinking and encourage positive changes
in behavior. The foundation of this approach is based on the relationship and trust developed between the staff and student, and through
The students also learn to live with authority and morality. As kids see staff and leadership submit to a “Power greater than themselves”,
they find a security to submit to their authority figures. As their capacity for self-restraint increases, so does their self-esteem.
These two qualities combine for a better atmosphere for learning. As they understand the spiritual origins of the world, they are
challenged to choose and think for themselves about life’s issues such as origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.
Scholarships for this non-profit, Christian program are made through contributions to Shepard’s Hill Farm, and available to families
who are in need. Shepherd’s Hill Farm also offers parenting classes and ‘family experience sessions,’ where parent and child interact,
physically and mentally, to accomplish goals, build trust, solve problems and have fun.