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Hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion’s National Park, Southern Utah

Thursday, 6 August, 2015

Angels landing Zions Hike

Some of our female students enjoyed a two-day hiking trip to Zion’s National Park, in Southern Utah. They, along with three staff members, hiked Angel’s Landing, which is one of the most famous hikes in the national park system.

Angel’s Landing boasts incredible views in every direction! Each girl had a huge feeling of accomplishment after finishing the hike! The accompanying staff was impressed there was minimal complaining on their strenuous journey.

After the hike, the girls found a campsite and successfully pitched their tent, with little direction from staff. In the evening, they built a fire and then prepared tin foil dinners, which the staff cooked. After a quick breakfast and cleaning up camp, the girls returned back to campus in Provo!

Angels landing Zions Hike 2

Angels landing Zions Hike 3

Angels landing Zions Hike 4

Angels landing Zions Hike 6

Angels landing Zions Hike 5

Life lessons learned from Japanese Art and culture

Friday, 1 May, 2015

Discovery Academy Art Therapy – Students learn life lessons through Japanese Art with Dr. Ann Ngatai.

Students were taught about Bonsai trees and had the opportunity to visit a local nursery to choose their own tree. Students learned that Bonsai trees reflect natural situations:
• Literary and wind swept styles reflect a tree’s endurance to overcome nature’s persistent elements.
• Formal upright styles are characterized by a straight vertical trunk and reflect calmness and a stately stature.
• Cascade styles are inspired by trees clinging for their lives from the side of a mountain.

Art Therapy Bonsai tree

Students have been practicing their kanji (logographic Chinese characters which are used in the modern Japanese writing system). Kanji reflects their perceptions of themselves and their aspirations. They have painted their kanji on Japanese rice paper. Among the 25 different kanji to choose from, there is:
• Love (Ai Suru)
• Happy (shiawa-se)
• Truth (Shin, shinjitsu)
• To Overcome/Win (koku)

Art Therapy Japanese Characters

Students are also learning about Japanese rock gardens which often have three stones with one leaning (vertically) and two supporting. If there are “leaning” stones, there must be “supporting” stones.” We pointed out to students that when we have struggles, we all have had a need to lean on our parents or others who are our support. Rock gardens imitate essence of nature (i.e. ripples in a pond), and serves to aid in reflection and meditation about the true meaning of life.
Students have been crafting origami cranes. In Japanese tradition, 1,000 origami paper cranes were folded to honor a marriage, but after the WWII bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , the 1,000 paper cranes took on an additional meaning of hope for peace and health. In the art therapy class, they built upon this tradition with the students to take on hope for “personal peace within themselves” and “keeping goals of personal health”.

Art Therapy Japanese paper cranes

Students have been working on Koinobori (carp streamers or windsocks). The carp was chosen as a symbol for boys because the Japanese consider it the most spirited fish — so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals. It is hoped that each child will grow up healthy and strong like the wild carps. Presently, the Koinobori are used for both boys and girls on Children’s Day (kodomo no hi).

Art Therapy Japanese Carp

All of our students’ Japanese art creations were on display during the Parent Seminar in April.

Kokua Connection, Aloha Student overseas service tour in Hawaii

Tuesday, 7 April, 2015

Discovery Academy is excited to announce their first ever overseas service tour in Hawaii – KOKUA CONNECTION

Kokua Connection is based on the concept of the Hawaiian word “kokua”, to help, aid, assist, or to give relief. Kokua Connection is an experiential retreat that will offer your student the opportunity of a lifetime. We provide cultural education through experience and therapy through service, all while incorporating a positive and fun environment with lots of Aloha.

Although we would like to accommodate all students who are interested in this opportunity spaces are limited and student appropriateness will need to be determined by the treatment team here at DA. Our boys group will be leaving on June 21 and return June 27, 2015. Our girls group will be leaving July 12 and return July 18, 2015. Learn more at Kokua Connection.
Students will experience the following:

Cultural Exploration:

Sharks Cove-tide pool exploration
North Shore’s Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline
Zipline at Keana Farms including a fun ATV adventure
Snorkeling at the world-famous Hanauma Bay
Hike Hanauma Bay Crater Rim
Haleiwa- Shave Ice at Matsumoto’s
Waimea Bay or Hukilau Beach
Polynesian Cultural Center
​Students will experience the cultures of Polynesia walking through six different villages learning songs, dances, foods, and languages of the Polynesian people who have inhabited the Pacific islands for thousands of years. This activity will include a guided tour through the different Polynesian villages as visitors get to interact, experience and learn.

Historical Experience:

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument USS Arizona Memorial. Students will be able to walk around the visitor center’s museums. They will then watch a short educational clip on events that led up to World War II. Students will then board a motor boat and ride across a section of historic Pearl Harbor to the actual site where the USS Arizona was struck down, and still rests on the ocean floor today.

Service (Kokua) experience:

Students will tour a certified working organic farm and will provide volunteer service each day to the farm by pulling weeds, planting, composting, soil preparations, and more. Students will learn about the new “farm-to-table” trend of serving healthy foods to consumers in the most sustainable way. Students will also learn the business principles of starting, operating, and sustaining an organic farm.

University Experience:

All food and lodging accommodations are provided by BYU-Hawaii and all students will have the opportunity to experience a university tour during their stay.

Please direct FEE and REGISTRATION inquiries to
Dr. Ann Ngatai, DA therapist (801)701-3711.

Bugs and Teen Girls – An Unlikely Match

Tuesday, 19 November, 2013

Bugs & Teen Girls – An Unlikely Match at Discovery Academy

Stephen C. Schultz

“I was amazed at the kindness, manners and gentleness of these two young women. They had a good sense of humor and were easy to talk with. There was a sense of confidence in their communication and a sparkle in their eye. I only mention this because these two young ladies have struggled through some emotional concerns and family discord well beyond their young years. They have worked hard and most likely cried often as they have navigated the therapeutic process toward wellness.”

The air was cool, but not too bad. The sky was clear and there was a definite feeling that winter was taking it’s time this year. The temperature was about 50 degree’s, which for mid November at almost 5000 feet above sea level, is an unusual gift.

I was walking across the parking lot to attend a clinical treatment team meeting at Discovery Academy. I glanced up and saw two young women right at the edge of the grass. Suddenly one of the girls screeched and they both leaped backward a few feet, jumping up and down quickly. This immediately caught my attention and I started toward them. As I got closer, I could see a small green insect on the ground. The girls were now squatting down on their heels looking at the bug. They weren’t sure what it was or if it was harmful. Caution is always a good policy when interacting with insects. However, this particular insect happened to be a Praying Mantis.

I stepped up to the girls and said hi. They returned the salutation. I mentioned it was somewhat comical to see them jumping around the parking lot and I asked if they knew what kind of insect that was. Neither of them knew what it was since both were from separate parts of the country. I bent down and picked up a leaf that the Praying Mantis was perched on. I held the leaf in my hand and mentioned that it wouldn’t hurt them and they could even let it crawl on their own hands.

I stood there as they moved closer and put their hands out. I held the leaf while one of the girls coaxed the little critter onto her hand and watched it crawl to the tips of her fingers. I needed to continue on to my meeting so I said goodbye and headed off as they continued to observe and play with this unique looking insect.

As the father of four, three of which are daughters, I was amazed at the kindness, manners and gentleness of these two young women. They had a good sense of humor and were easy to talk with. There was a sense of confidence in their communication and a sparkle in their eye. I only mention this because these two young ladies have struggled through some emotional concerns and family discord well beyond their young years. They have worked hard and most likely cried often as they have navigated the therapeutic process toward wellness.

It’s a humbling experience to witness the hard work needed to work through some of the emotional issues that these girls worked through. It is also amazing to understand just how determined they are in their academics. Students at Discovery Academy score higher than the national average on the ACT and SAT exams. They also get accepted to major universities around the country.

If you are alumni of Discovery Academy and have moved on to university studies, I would love to hear your story. Where are you now? What successes have you enjoyed?

Click here to read PART TWO OF THIS STORY – NOW AVAILABLE! From the students perspective!

Putting Drama in Therapy for Best Teen Help

Monday, 4 June, 2012

Janeen Martin is a therapist who says drama’s not a bad thing when it comes to troubled teen therapy. In fact, she encourages teens to try on different “roles” as they work through issues that include trauma, substance abuse, and behavioral issues. Meet Janeen and hear why she uses her love of the arts to help adolescents find their own voice.

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