New Perspectives
New Perspectives

Aug 4, 2004, 09:20

Thompson Falls, Montana
Glenn & Evelyn Schenavar

Cougar Mountain Ranch is a small, family oriented, residential program for boys, ages 12 to 17, who need a boost in self-esteem, motivation and direction to move forward in their lives. These students may be "acting out" with inappropriate behaviors, have difficulty with family or peer relationships and are frequently struggling with substance abuse. They are bright children who are failing to reach their potential due to unresolved conflicts or the inability to make decisions that lead to a positive outcome.

The Cougar Mountain philosophy follows a 12-step model, holding students accountable for their behavior while addressing underlying emotional issues. The program focuses on individual and group counseling, community involvement and helping students to find their unique gifts and explore new directions in life. Cougar Mountain works in conjunction with Galena Ridge Wilderness Program, which provides a "small, high quality, rigorous outdoor adventure program with strong counseling support" when needed.

The ranch sits on 110 acres located between Thompson Falls and Trout Creek, MT. The campus includes the family home, student quarters, barn, equipment barn and a pond. Activities include ranch work, such as mending fences, feeding cattle, and calving, and recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, swimming, and horse back riding. In addition, Cougar Mountain offers a service program "designed to help meet local needs within the community" such as assisting the elderly and disabled with chores and working at the local food bank.

All students at Cougar Mountain attend the local community high school, which offers a small, high quality academic program. The staff members keep in close contact with the teachers, counselors, and principal at the school. A structured academic policy includes student accountability, weekly progress reports, and individual tutoring if necessary. Other academic options include Alternative School, which are offered to students who come in mid-semester, and Independent Study courses for those students trying to catch up on credits.

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