Skookum House: A New Traditional School With Adventure & Educational Support, Instead of Just Virtual Home Schooling
September 8, 2020 Skookum House is a rolling admissions semester- or year-long boarding school for boys who need a community, education, and experience. COVID-19 has left boys across the country without a peer group, out of classrooms, without academic support and without activities to keep them unplugged and active. Skookum House was created by the owners of Passages Alaska, a wilderness therapy program in the town of Klawock, Southeast Alaska, to meet the need of traditional students who have been stuck inside during the pandemic.
Alaskan Adventure and Educational Support: this semester-long program was created because COVID-19 has no clear end. This is the high school semester (or year) created for those who need community, adventure and academic support in a COVID-19 safe environment. Skookum House semester boys will use their home high school virtual platform and have education support onsite.
With doors opening to Skookum House the day after Labor Day, for a maximum of 20 high school-aged young men, school and experiential adventures will continue through their academic semester or year. The schedule will be geared toward fun, physical activity and group interaction. Boys enrolled in this unique boarding school semester will fish, see whales and a plethora of other wildlife, create and learn about the Alaskan culture and have a unique semester of education. Community service is also a component to the Skookum House, including programming like providing firewood for elders or others in need. Similar to boarding schools throughout the lower 48, daily living in the house will include the traditions of being up on time, hygiene, chores and meetings that support the house and its members, scheduled school, meal preparation, and free time that will be monitored by “house parents.” House members will be responsible for their own laundry and will learn to shop for and prepare meals. During weekly outings, participants will explore and become familiar with places and communities on Prince of Wales Island.
The school is located near Klawock, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island west of Ketchikan. The campus is about a 2.5-hour flight from Seattle. Annual temperatures are quite moderate and similar to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Summer temperatures are usually in the 50’s and 60’s and winter temperatures most often range between 20’s and 40’s. The ocean doesn’t freeze, and no one lives in an igloo. There are also 6.5 hours of daylight on the shortest day despite people thinking it’s dark all the time. The house parents will be Shay and Sean Tomkinson. Sean is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker has lived in Alaska since 2009. He’s a brother, a father, an uncle, grandfather and husband. He is the owner and Clinical Director at Passages Alaska Wilderness Therapy. Sean has been a mental health clinician since 2003 and earned a Master of Social work degree from Walla Walla University. The support staff are all experienced wilderness guides who have worked extensively with adolescents. The cost of the program is $35,000/semester with a small enrollment fee for the proper clothing. Skookum House is currently taking applications.
Skookum House is located on a separate campus from Passages Alaska students. Passages is a unique wilderness therapy program in Southeast Alaska for young adult males 18-28. Using the magic of Alaska and access to the coastal waters allows it to be a changing of perspective for the participants. Hands-on therapeutic interventions include paddling, whale watching, fishing, primitive skill building and service with extensive therapy and coaching will be available for those with Anxiety, Depression, ADHA and Failure to Thrive. Sean Tomkinson, 907-821-8092, firstname.lastname@example.org