Visit by Sue Bigg, MPH, CEP, June 23, 2009
In search of therapeutic programs in the Midwest, I traveled to Eagle Summit, a brand new residential treatment center for boys, on June 23, 2009.
As I approached the campus, I was reminded of many summer vacations past, when my family drove through (and beyond) Midwest farmland and all its bleak beauty. I was happily welcomed as we entered the similar campus, 160 acres of an old farm, and approached the beautiful new campus building.
The building appeared home-like and attractive, decorated in soothing beigeish furniture and coordinated walls. Everything was clean and in spiffy condition. Each boy, at capacity (14), will share a room and bathroom with another boy. The boys do their own laundry, typically on 2-3 days each week. Although there are Three Springs reminders, Eagle Summit definitely has its own flavor.
The boys can earn cooking privileges and thus can assist the staff in preparing the meals. The staff, in the pervasive Midwest openness and friendly acceptance, had prepared a nutritious lunch for us, replete with veggies, fruit, and other wholesome treats.
The administrator, Angie Fusco, is warm, confident, humorous and enthusiastic - just the type of person who engages well with even the most difficult youth.
The two boys were hard at work in their classroom, not easily distracted from their studies as the outsiders strolled by with questions. At present, both students were sexual abuse victims. Although therapy with this group will be geared toward helping the boys process this and all their issues, it is not presently intended to be a sexual abuse victims' facility.
At present, the academic curriculum is through National High School, a SACS accredited curriculum. All classroom time is supervised by certified teaching staff, and immediate help is available from the teacher and tours online at NHS. Eagle Summit is in the process of developing it own academic curriculum and will be seeking licensing through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Accreditation will be sought through the most appropriate accrediting body.
Adventure based trips will fill many weekends and will include, but not be limited to, hiking, canoeing and white water rafting.
Monthly on-campus Family Weekends are scheduled. Parents and other family members will be able to spend the weekend engaged in structured therapeutics with their son, other students and their families. Families prepare meals as a family unit. There is no extra charge for these activities and families can stay on campus at no charge. Eagle Summit is able to transport visiting relatives to and from campus as part of their tuition.