All Kinds of News for April 05, 2017
Honor. Integrity. Accountability. Success. At some schools and youth treatment programs, terms like these are little more than vague concepts, but not at Turn-About Ranch. At Turn-About Ranch, a residential youth treatment program that is located on a historic working cattle ranch in Escalante, Utah, honor, integrity, accountability and success are guiding principles for staff members and very real objectives for students. These values are at the core of the program's guiding philosophy and are central components of daily life on the Ranch. They play a primary role in the long-term successes Turn-About students achieve after they complete their enrollment and return home.
Core values often fall by the wayside as we lose our way in life. If you are the parent of a struggling teen, you know the damage that can be done when honor ceases to be a concern, when integrity becomes an afterthought. If you'd like a look at what life could be like with a child who not only understands these concepts, but embraces them, take a few moments to learn about Turn-About Ranch.
An Emphasis on Accountability
From the moment they arrive at Turn-About Ranch, students learn that accountability is the foundation upon which their future successes will be built. "We hold our students accountable for everything they do," said Michelle Lindsay, the Ranch's Executive Director. "This program is based on making real changes -- and as we always tell them, if you can own it, you can change it."
In addition to emphasizing the importance of being accountable for present and future decisions, staff members and therapists at Turn-About Ranch also encourage the students to take responsibility for the attitudes and actions that led to problems in the past. "If students are still stuck in the pattern of blaming parents or others for their problems, they're not making any real progress," Lindsay said. "The students need to own up to their mistakes before they can start making the changes they need to make."
The Value of Hard Work
Making real, lasting changes to one's attitudes, beliefs and behaviors isn't easy. But at Turn-About Ranch, hard work isn't limited to classrooms and therapy sessions. In addition to benefitting from the Ranch's respected academic and therapeutic programs, students at Turn-About Ranch also fulfill many of the responsibilities that are required to keep a working cattle ranch up and running. This daily milieu naturally fosters essential values like honor, integrity, and accountability.
From repairing fences to hauling hay and feeding livestock, students work with staff members to complete the myriad duties that are essential to successful ranch operations. And though the students may not initially appreciate the value of the jobs they are doing, ranch staff-members make it clear that the work is both necessary and beneficial to the students as well as to the ranch. Lindsay explains, "This isn’t busy work. They're doing necessary tasks that need to be done. They're making valuable contributions and taking an active role in what makes the Ranch work."
A Cooperative Effort
Emphasizing the value of work, staff supervisors and personal counselors work side-by-side with the teens who are enrolled in the program. The therapeutic process often occurs out in the field, working alongside a student. Instead of being confined to talking about problems in the office, they are out doing and relating the activities to their life at home. "Our staff members don't sit and watch students work," Lindsay said. "They work right alongside them, and the students can see the sincerity in what they [staff members] say and do. Our students don't work for our staff members -- they work with our staff members."
With staff members and veteran students serving as role models to new arrivals, an appreciation for the value of work is a constant component of the Turn-About Ranch experience. And though the students may not see the connection at first, the work they do on the ranch directly impacts the successes they are seeking in the academic and therapeutic parts of their lives. "Working on the ranch gives students a sense of worth and empowerment," Lindsay explained. "There's value in being tired at the end of the day, and feeling proud of what you've accomplished."
From Struggling to Self-Sufficient
This sense of work-related pride is central to Turn-About Ranch's effort to help students transform themselves from struggling and dependent to self-reliant and self-sufficient. With individual, group and family therapy sessions, the master's level (and above) therapists help students define the obstacles that are preventing them from achieving their true potential, then work with students and their families to develop the skills and strategies that will enable them to overcome these obstacles.
As students develop the ability to exercise greater control over their attitudes and emotions, they find that they are able to achieve on the individual level while also making positive contributions to the greater group. And as they demonstrate that they have begun to internalize the concepts of honor, integrity and accountability, they are given greater responsibilities on the ranch; they serve as mentors to other students, and they assume more formal leadership positions within the program.
When students graduate from Turn-About Ranch, the challenges that they will face -- difficult academic subjects, family crises, the inevitable interpersonal conflicts -- will still be there, but because they have embraced the program's core values, the students will be much better prepared to deal with these issues in healthy ways. "We emphasize empowerment, coping skills, and improved interactions," Michelle Lindsay, M.S., LPC said. "We want our students to be able to return home and become more productive members of their families -- and we want them to be able to live lives of integrity, honor and accomplishment."
About Turn About RanchTurn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.