February 2, 2002
To: Whom It May Concern
Subject: Obsidian Trails Wilderness Program
The purpose of this letter is not only to support the work Obsidian Trails does, but also to recommend it to any parents that has a
child they are unable to control or maintain appropriate behavior with.
It has been our experience over the past year and a half, in getting to know Gregory Bodenhammer, Joel Lisson and a few others in the
staff at Obsidian Trails, that this program is run by dedicated and well trained individuals that truly care about the safety and well
being of all the children in the program. Every one of the staff we have met exhibit a strong desire to see the kids that have been
placed in their care succeed in life, as well adjusted and successful adults, while providing a safe environment for the kids to learn
and grow in the skills they need.
Having looked into this and other programs for a period of time, prior to enrolling our daughter into Obsidian Trails, I would not hesitate
to recommend this program to my friends or family members that needed this type of service for their out of control teen. My wife and
I have spent time in the field, in the camps with the kids, counselors and field staff and I can say from first hand experience that
all the focus of the field staff is on providing for the health, safety and well being of the kids first, and then the necessary work
on behavior modification to assure a successful return to their families when they graduate.
This is not an easy job these people have taken on, working with these kids, or an easy environment for these counselors and field staff
to work in. After spending some time with them in the field I have come away with a great deal of respect for the service they provide
and the professional manner that they go about it. Most of them could easily find cushy jobs in some office on a 9 to 5 schedule; pay
far more money I would guess. But because of their dedication to these kids, they choose to spend their days in less than comfortable
conditions, for the simple fact that the program works. The results speak for themselves, and these kids are far better off because
of it. If this program is shut down because of a few individuals that have not taken the time to evaluate the program on its true merits,
and facts, but rather on the news media hype, it will be a great loss to all of us parents, that after having tried everything else,
turned to this program that cared enough to provide the help we needed, when we need it.
Tod and Marilyn Watkins