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Posted: Oct 29, 2005, 08:34

Success Oriented Achievement Realized (SOAR)
New Perspectives


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Jonathan Jones, Executive Director
Balsam, North Carolina

Success Oriented Achievement Realized (SOAR) is a private, non-profit adventure based wilderness program with experiential education components that works with students, ages 8-18, who have Learning Disabilities (LD) and/ or Attention Deficit Disorders (AD/HD). With two Outdoor Education Centers, one in North Carolina and the other in Wyoming, the goal is to instill self-confidence and a sense of teamwork. A student's length of stay depends on which program and/ or component he/ she attends, which range from 3-26 days.

Both locations provide Academic Discovery/ Adventure Programming components for students. The academic program includes individualized academics, tutorials in language arts or mathematics, a learning styles inventory that identifies strength areas and opportunities for development, and a survey of specific study skills and compensatory strategies. Throughout the 26-day course, students participate each week in three days of academics and four days of adventure programming. The adventure programming includes horseback riding, rock climbing, fly fishing, canoeing, whitewater rafting and an exploration of Yellowstone National Park.

At SOAR the emphasis is on the student's development of social skills, problem-solving techniques, enhancing self-confidence and a willingness to tackle new challenges. Students are empowered to make healthy choices, learn more about themselves and overcome challenges through a broad base of wilderness adventure experiences. The goal is to help students establish the relevance between these experiences and other aspects of their lives.

The program is modeled on two fundamental principles. First, SOAR encourages the youth to focus on their strengths in an experiential setting. Second, students are acknowledged for their successes and encouraged to develop and utilize strategies that allow them to compensate for the obstacles they face with LD and AD/HD.

Editors Note: The information used in this New Perspective was gathered from the SOAR website and brochure.


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