At Discovery Ranch we say we have an experiential and relationship based program. But, to say that is easy and you must hear that all the time. Being an experiential and relationship based program is not just a program, but a mentality. Everyone from the leadership down to the front line staff who truly make the most difference must have that mind set. Without it, it’s just filling time.
We created our program based on the principles of wilderness (RedCliff Ascent’s 16 years experience) and combined them with the 30 plus years of clinical, residential and equine experience to truly create a unique program. We started with the premise that if we are utilizing the same principles as wilderness then we should get similar results. What we have found is that our kids do grow and change quicker, with a much longer lasting effect.
Our average length of stay is about 10 months, with many kids moving on to boarding schools, home type settings and some therapeutic boarding schools.
With the economy being in such turmoil, we offer a much more time effective and cost effective experience.
Some of our students’ greatest experiences have come through working with their calves, our top notch equine program that goes from ground therapy to western riding or through our community service, “VIP League” being the favorite where DR students are paired with a physically or mentally handicapped child and coaches them 1-on-1 in soccer or t-ball. We have a video of that on our website, please take a look!
Being able to help students gain an understanding of their experiences and how that applies to their lives in the moment is the key to retention. Learning through the five senses, creating experience with a purpose and learning by doing, not just reading about it, is the most effective form of learning. We help our students understand the patterns that show up in all areas of their lives.
“Real Time Therapy”
One Saturday while giving a tour to some perspective parents, we stopped and watched a group of staff and students moving calves from one pen to another. A student was standing in the middle of the way, trying to get the calves to move to the pen behind him. We watched as the staff stopped and processed what was happening. It was a Saturday chore and staff was able to draw upon what was happening to help that student understand the metaphor of what he was doing and how that was a perfect example of how he interacts with his peers and that although he is trying to accomplish a task, or progress in the program, that his actions or approach is what was keeping him from succeeding. I couldn’t have been more proud of that staff as the parents got a birdseye, unplanned experience of what we do at Discovery Ranch.
We have received emails and letters from alumni who share with us their experience once they have left. They usually share that after they left, they struggled, but eventually remembered what they learned and once they began to re-apply those principles, and how they became successful again. That is our payback and what makes it all worth it.