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Posted: Jan 6, 2008 09:54


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Clearview Horizons
Heron, Montana
By: Ali Schmidt

An annual winter trip to Spokane is a tradition at Clearview Horizons. It offers the girls a weekend of fun, relaxation and bonding away from the lodge in Heron. Life at the house can be busy, with lots of hard work, but this weekend was set aside just to have a good time.

On Saturday, we packed up our sleeping bags and weekend supplies, stuffed ourselves into the bus and headed to Spokane. Almost there, we stopped at the Hot Rod Café in Post Falls, ID to grab a bite to eat. A large cheeseburger, a milkshake and quite a few laughs later, we were back on the road headed toward Polka Dot Pottery in Spokane. There we all selected pottery to paint to give as presents over the holidays. We lovingly painted our pottery, our recipients in mind.

Next we began our Christmas shopping. With forty dollars in hand, we hit several stores: Target, Value Village and Fred Meyer. With our shopping buddy, we scoured the shelves for affordable presents we could buy for our families.

After our extensive shopping, our stomachs were rumbling and with an overwhelming vote for Crunch-wrap Supremes we headed to Taco Bell. We all sat together, savoring our food and basking in the positive, jubilant energy surrounding us.

Exhausted by our day we headed back to our director, Mary's house in Spokane where we bunked down for the night. In our sleeping bags on the floor, all huddled together, it felt like a humongous sleep-over, complete with abundant good-will and feelings of sisterhood.

In the morning, a few girls went with the house mom to Albertson's where they picked up donuts and Starbucks for our breakfast before we headed to church. After we got dressed in our Sunday finest, we headed to a large church in Spokane, Life Center, where we heard a wonderful sermon about giving. The message resonated with me personally, as it is the holiday season and giving is synonymous with the holidays.

After church, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Carl Jr.'s and headed to the Spokane Civic Theater to watch The Christmas Schooner. The play, telling the story of the Christmas tree in Midwest America, was touching and helped to get us all in the Christmas Spirit.

After the play, we all voted to go to Sonic, our favorite eating destination on trips to Spokane. There we huddled together, warmed by our piles of blankets and pleasure of an exciting weekend well spent, enjoying our slushies and tater tots, together as a family. Then once again, with a renewed bond and cheered dispositions, we climbed back on the bus to head back to Heron.

These weekends are more than just an opportunity for us Clearview girls to eat the food we miss and shop at the stores we once frequented. They allow us to bond as sisters without the expectations of the house. And they show us the huge amount of fun that is waiting for us, clean fun with no regrets, only great memories.

About the Author:
Ali Schmidt is a student at Clearview Horizons.

About Clearview:
Clearview is a Christian residential program for troubled adolescent girls located in Heron, MT. Mary Thielbahr is the Director of Clearview. For more information, you can reach Mary at 208-263-5894,

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