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Archives for September 2013

Intensive Family Weekends, Family Counseling

Intensive Family Weekend is a highly focused family counseling weekend dedicated to reconnecting bonds between family members and helping create stronger family relationships. The weekend, which starts on Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon, is filled with group sessions, singular family counseling, family dinners, activities and more.

Our Intensive Family Weekend is an opportunity to help renew and connect broken bonds in your family. During the weekend we strive to rebuild safe and healthy communication among each family member in order to create stronger relationships that will last. All family weekends include lodging, meals, and counseling sessions. There are many recreational family activities like Ping-Pong, basketball, hiking, camp fires and more. Intensive Family Weekends are offered monthly and are open to the public. These weekends are also integrated into our residential care programs.

“Intensive Family Weekend was 100% beneficial,” stated a student who recently participated in Intensive Family Weekend. The time he spent at our family weekend was not time wasted. He gained valuable insights about his parents and how much they actually support him. “It feels so good to know I had such amazing family support behind me. They really do want to see me succeed.” Intensive Family Weekend reconnected the student with his family and helped strengthened their bond as a family unit.

“The first day was a little confusing,” admitted the student but within a few hours he was bonding with his family and other families participating in the weekend. “There was something profound behind the weekend; it was emotional. I don’t think I can even explain it in words.” The weekend is structured around renewing the family bonds. We try to connect families again by creating a healthy atmosphere for both the child and the parents.

We have over 45 years of experience working with disconnected families and youth. During these three days participants receive support, encouragement, and instructions on how to heal family hurts. The student admitted to gaining friendships with other guys his age and was able to talk with other families who were also going through the same situations. “It was cool to meet these guys and then see this amazing support behind them. I only hope other guys going through the same situation have a family backing like that because it is hard when you don’t.” The student expressed how excited and happy he was that he participated in Intensive Family Weekend with his parents because he learned how much his parents loved and cared about him. “This is an amazing program. I would suggest this program to every family that has a son struggling in life because knowing your parents support you is the most amazing feeling.”

The family counseling during these weekends helps build stronger relationships.

Adventure Camp Marks Fifth Year – 2nd time around

This year celebrates the completion of our fifth successful summer camp for troubled youth or as we like to call it “Summer School with an Edge”. Our Executive Director, John Solberg, states that the decision to re-start the summer camp from a 30-year rest was the direct result of numerous phone calls from parents seeking help for their teenage son and aligns with our continued desire to help families with early intervention.

Summer Camp for Troubled Youth Expands

This year we provided four one-week camps and the focus of these camps is to teach youth respect, responsibility, and self-control. The curriculum is approved through STARR Academy (our licensed private school) to provide one high school credit in either Physical Education or an elective once completed. Lyle Byre stated, “Because of the demand of returning campers we had to add a second year curriculum which focuses on leadership principles.”

Lyle Byre has lead our camps since May of 2009 and came to Rawhide from a youth ranch in Oregon where he ran similar outdoor camps. He and his wife Sarah and their dog Copper live on Rawhide grounds and Lyle is also a Professional Youth Care Worker (PYCW) in the About Face residential program. Lyle is responsible for developing and running the summer adventure camp as an outreach and prevention program to young men ages 13 to 17.

The one-week camps include a 29 mile canoe/camping trip at Flambeau River State Park, high ropes course, mountain boarding, fishing, swimming and other team building activities. We have partnered with Camp Forest Springs to provide all the gear and river guides. The one week camps are limited to 8 youth and are age specific. Due to the limited number of spots for camp, there is a high demand for them, and they fill up quickly. We have seen an increase in the number of counties that are helping to send youth from the families they are working with. Many counties are financially assisting the families, since some counties can access Medicaid monies for this. We can then bill Medicaid for these costs. The weekly cost to send a guy to our summer camp for troubled youth is $450, and in most cases the family may qualify for a $100 scholarship as well.

To learn more about Rawhide programs please visit our professional section of our website or if you have any questions or comments please Ken Price or call him at 920-531-2647.

Foster Care that Fosters Hope for At-Risk Youth

And So It Begins

Pastor Bruce and Lynda first considered foster parenting when they met a young man who had attended Rawhide and was in need of a transitional place to stay, so he could get his feet on the ground. This student became the initiative for Bruce and Lynda to join our treatment foster care program. Bruce and Lynda have always opened their home to people in need, and our foster care program became another way for them to continue doing so. As foster parents they offer temporary, stable, and a loving environment for the healing process to begin.

How Rawhide’s Foster Care Works

Our foster care program places young men in a foster home as part of their treatment program and with state supervision, helps transition them back to their home or into independent living. The program provides our young men with access to additional counselors, therapists, and Rawhide staff. This program offers the guys more points of contact than just their county social worker. This program is only available for court-referred youth.

Each of our foster homes are licensed with the state of Wisconsin for foster care and have to meet specific criteria in order to become part of our foster care program. Bruce and Lynda received their foster care license three years ago and since then, have been helping our students succeed.

Our Foster Care Mission

The mission of this program is to provide young men guidance, consistency, instruction, and support to help them make positive changes toward becoming contributing members of society. Foster homes ensure a strong family atmosphere that encourages a healthy lifestyle, and relationships with a strong model of Christian values in everyday life. Our foster care program provides hope and healing to many of our students.

What It Means to Bruce and Lynda

Providing spiritual and loving support for their foster children comes natural to Bruce and Lynda. They understand how to influence a young man’s life and believe without Christ the young man will not be able to change their lives around. Bruce says, “I enjoy seeing the guy adopt a Christian world view and how that changes their perspectives on everything. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, but seeing the guy respect that we are honest, consistent, and safe parents is a blessing. Most of them don’t have that in their lives.”

Being a foster parent for our foster care program is challenging AND rewarding.  Many guys who are in the program have made mistakes in their lives or got caught in circumstances beyond their control. Because they are under court order to be here, they have a social worker that checks in on them and evaluates their progress. Along with the county social worker each guy also has their Rawhide social worker who evaluates their progress. The county social worker and the our social worker meet with the guy in the foster home and evaluate the progress six times a year. During this time the biological parents are brought into the evaluation via phone conference.

Bruce and Lynda are grateful that our staff is supportive and always there if they need help. “I don’t think we would be in foster care if it wasn’t through Rawhide,” Lynda stated. We offer foster parents support, care, and spiritual backing that other foster parents do not receive. Our mission is being dependent on God; we inspire and equip at-risk youth and families to lead healthy and responsible lives through family-centered care, treatment, and education. Through this mission our foster parents strive to help the young men that participate in our programs to change their lives.

Meet Our New Wisconsin Foster Care Manager

Meet Jim Harley, the new manager of our  Wisconsin foster care program, CATCH. Jim came to Rawhide in April 2009 as a direct care staff in the role of Professional Youth Care Worker (PYCW). He is married with four boys ages 3, 5, 7, and 9. Jim’s desire to work with the youth at Rawhide caused him to obtain his Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University which allowed him to move into a therapist role here at Rawhide. Jim moved into his current role in May 2013, and is responsible for supervising, licensing, training, and treatment of CATCH homes youth and staff.

CATCH stands for Community Alternate Transition Children’s Home. We started our Wisconsin foster care program, CATCH, years ago to meet the transition needs of youth who did not have alternatives to return back home after leaving Rawhide. We currently have four homes located in Appleton, Oshkosh, Elkhorn, and Sun Prairie. Currently three of these homes are level-four care and one is a level-three care home for the CANS Assessment. The CATCH homes are focused on Trauma Informed Care and one home is working in a leading edge therapy called S.M.A.R.T. (Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment).

Youth placed in our CATCH homes generally attend school in the community; however, we also offer a CATCH Plus alternative in Starr Academy, (our private school) located in New London for those youth who cannot legally or academically attend a community school.

Consistent with our lifelong commitment to youth, most placements into our Wisconsin foster care program, CATCH, remain youth who have completed one of our residential programs and need the family structure and support to transition; however, direct placements into CATCH are on the rise. Youth and CATCH homes are carefully selected for the benefit of the youth’s needs, and long term relationship is one of the desired outcomes. Our CATCH home parents work closely with the youth’s families when appropriate for the benefit of the youth and often become a huge part of the family’s support system.

The typical age of placements into one of our CATCH homes is age 13 to 18 and there are several cases in our placement history and one currently where the CATCH homes have continued to support youth, after county services end at age 18.  Rawhide’s CATCH program homes offer independent living skills, family sessions, and transportation.