All Kinds of News for November 11, 2020
Building Bridges Summer Adventure Program and Family Conference continued creatively during the summer of 2020, moving almost directly to Winter in the Northwest, as the cold weather and snow has settled in. It is a good time to reminisce all that happened this past summer. It was eight weeks of adventure and outdoor activities that culminated with a parent seminar. The beautiful outdoors of Montana provided a great way for the students to get safely outside and not miss a step therapeutically with their adventure program. The summer activities typically end with a four-day family conference at the program but with COVID it was decided the creative solution would be to build a three-day virtual seminar and it was a huge success.
Summer equates to new experiences for the boys at the program. They spend eight weeks doing a variety of outdoor activities and reacquainting with passions they had before their struggles began and discovering new ones. Generally, the trips are eight to fourteen days with a few days back on campus to have some recreation on the water, do some laundry, make some calls, and prepare for the next trip. The adventure starts with a bike trip where the students get to rock climb and take in the beautiful scenery of western Montana. They continue with a back-packing trip in the Kootenai forest where they get to experience breathtaking scenery and majestic views. The third trip is into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to do volunteer work for the organization. It is unique because “The Bob,” as it is typically called, is a non-motorized wilderness area, which means there no combustion engines so there are no vehicles or power tools. This allows the boys to use tools such as a crosscut saw and creates a way to work together to accomplish the task. Because the “Bob” is non-motorized and roadless, it is some of the most pristine wilderness in the lower 48 states and wildlife is abundant. The students enjoy world class fishing while giving back through volunteering. Our Lead Therapeutic Counselor comes in on horseback to resupply and do sessions. The last trip of the summer is the river rafting trip. This trip is a slower paced float down the Clark Fork River and allows the students to fish, swim and have fun! The Adventure Program concludes with the Family Workshop and family sessions.
The Family Conference is designed to create a time for learning, sharing and building a better relationship within the family. This year instead of being on campus, the workshop was done virtually. It began with an overview of the conference and an introduction to the Building Bridges team. There was also an opportunity for the families to introduce themselves and share. There were several interactive discussion portions and small group breakouts. A few of these discussions included: “Your Part of the Process,” “Resumes and Reminders.” And “The ABC Process.” Each family meets with the academic team to create a plan for the upcoming semester. One of the more popular pieces is the Alumni Parent Q & A discussion. In keeping with safety protocols family visits were scheduled for later in the month in small groups so be able to stay in line with our Covid protocols.
Building Bridges is a licensed Chemical Dependency Treatment Center with the structure of a Therapeutic Boarding School. Located in Thompson Falls, MT Building Bridges is for boys 13-18 with substance and behavioral issues. The team's passion is creating a structure that mirrors real life. Students are involved in the community and it is our goal to have each student eventually attend public school. Building Bridges seeks to bring real life to treatment through redirection and empowerment. We strive to educate our students to see how substance use has created patterns of unhealthy coping which have gotten in the way of pursuing their life in healthy ways. By providing students the tools to increase their self-confidence and create a more positive outlook they can generate growth in a normalized safe environment that will transfer on in their lives.