My experience in the Marine Corps along with my personal, and professional development have given me the qualifications to be a wilderness "survival expert", and prior to becoming the founder/CEO of Northwoods Ranch and Retreat, I led several week long adventure therapy trips along the Allagash.
I am continually amazed by the ways animals are used in therapy and in education. Seeing eye dogs are completely passé. We've now got rabbits that help kids with reading and miniature horses that serve as guides. Even dogs have expanded the variety of therapy roles in which they serve.
When I first heard the term "nonviolent communication," I thought it sounded like some sort of rehabilitation program for violent felons. And indeed, it has been used successfully in that sort of program. However, it's actually a way of communication that we all could benefit from
The real answer is that these programs simply do not go far enough. Students who are struggling with traditional education also frequently struggle with mental health issues. These issues require more than merely an effective method of knowledge retention.
I split my time between two worlds- psychiatric hospitals and life skills programming on a farm and in the wilderness. People often ask me which is more impactful. My response is always the same. "you can't compare the two because they each have their place"
Teens and young adults who are described as troubled or high risk often share a very similar characteristic- they have self-defeating attitudes. Self-defeating, which sounds obvious in nature, typically stems from much more comprehensive issues.
When we experience something, we assimilate (or absorb) the information learned from that experience; it enables us to make better decisions in the future. So when asked, "Why do teenagers make such bad decisions?" my answer is, "Because they don't know how not to.”