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Posted: Mar 30, 2008 22:37


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Orrington, Maine
Jacqueline Danforth
Founder/ Executive Director

Visit by Robert Kantar, Fall and Winter 2007

New Horizons, located in Springfield, ME, is the base camp for what I believe is the only all-women's short-term treatment program in the United States. As a regular visitor to this wonderful area of the North Country, near remote wilderness, lakes and rivers, and filled with wildlife, I can attest to the opportunities that young people gain by participating in a program located in this marvelous natural resource area. New Horizons is not new, it is not an experiment; it is a carefully developed program led by highly professional staff. New Horizons exceeds the standard of excellence in therapeutic treatment program stability, professional staffing and safety standards.

New Horizons ascribes to very high standards, continually scrutinizing the work constant assessment and training of the staff. When I sit through the weekly staff change over, I am impressed with the careful discussion of each young woman with both therapists and field staff actively engaged. Subtle nuances, clarification of goals and therapeutic principles are all components which staff discuss and strategize each week based upon the most recent past experience.

Eileen MacKenzie, LCPC, supervises the clinical staff, visits students in the field and trains the staff on a regular basis so they are all working at highly professional levels. Paula Codrington, LMSW, and Kathleen O'Donnell, LMSW, are very competent therapists and I typically hear high praise from my clients, particularly students, but also their parents, for the therapeutic help they have received.

The program is nomadic, and depending upon the season the program will travel the woodlands, the Appalachian Trail or campsites among the islands around the local lakes. The care and safety of the participants is always a first priority. The students all receive excellent equipment, and weather is always a consideration when planning daily or multi-day treks. Upon arrival with their parents or by transport, the participants are checked-in in a well-constructed heated building with no extras but all the essentials. The staff members are friendly while retaining their professionalism, and there seems to be relatively low turn over.

While at New Horizons, interaction with fellow students, making campsites and walking through the forest and woodlands provides the type of experience that is permissive of open expression and emotional growth. Campfire conversations provide a venue for participants to discuss difficult emotional situations, time to reflect on the day's activities and an opportunity for staff and students alike to share positive and difficult aspects of the group experience. The day to day activities and conversations gleaned by the field staff provides additional insight for therapists to have information to work with individual participants on their personal therapeutic objectives.

The staff members, who have verbalized their own appreciation for New Horizons, bring their fondness and enthusiasm to field with them on a daily basis. Jackie Danforth (Executive Director) and Audrey Peavey (Admissions Director) are very involved in the quality of the program. Jackie has had her own life experiences that lend to her level of dedication and commitment to running a quality wilderness program for young women. The facts that principles are honored, exceptionally high standards are the norm and young women find a true sanctuary to sort out their problems make this program very special.

Don't look for a lot of hype and fancy marketing from a program that can truly stand on its reputation. New Horizons serves a population of young women who are capable of gaining insight into their issues through very hard clinical work and very intense outdoor activity. This is a program where the costs are obviously focused on the quality of the people, the appropriateness of the facilities and the devotion to the children entrusted to the staff. One additional note must be made for those who wish to travel to the furthest parts of the northeastern United States: when visiting New Horizons, don't bring your dog. The office police will stop you without the most recent record of health immunization and certain breeds, including my wonderful Siberian Husky, are excluded.

About the Author:
Robert Kantar is a member of the IECA who has successfully recommended the above program for some of the young people he has worked with. He writes only about programs he trusts to concentrate their energies on the young people with whom they work, receiving no compensation or solicitation from the program for this report. His recommendation is for those children for whom he considers this program an appropriate fit based on extensive evaluation of many factors, as each child is unique. For more information, visit, or call 802-626-4620.

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