The Discovery Blog
Learn more about us and what we do.
Part 2 – Discovery Academy teen students share their thoughts on their moment with nature and the boarding school campus!
Read Part 1 Here
“I’ve come to notice that when your life is extremely simplified, even small decisions or tasks strike a long thought process.” -two of our favorite DA students
By Two of Our Favorite DA Students!
THE POT BELLY PIG
I’ve come to notice that when your life is extremely simplified, even small decisions or tasks strike a long thought process. With that, let me bring you into the life of a treatment center kid – or rather a particular scene of it.
Once upon a sunny day in Utah, my friend and I, who we will call Georgia, were contemplating which section of our “yard” to sit in. This looked like we were someone with amnesia attempting to pace, never knowing which way we were coming or going, just jumping around aimlessly. Maybe we were just looking for something to do, and maybe that’s why we became so intrigued by this gnarly looking praying mantis.
Georgia saw him first and when she swooped down to pick him up we discovered this obscure looking bug had wings! Of course, we quickly reached some level of excitement, almost to the point of making a scene. At last we captured this poor soul on a leaf and this is where our friend Steve entered the picture. I was holding Pot Belly Pig (that’s what we named him) to Georgia’s face because any bug is creepy when you are staring directly into their beady-black-eyes. Then, being the generous people we are of course, when stranger-Steve walks by holding no sort of insect, we offer up ours! Disappointingly enough though, he wasn’t squeamish towards what we he told us was a Praying Mantis, but he was wearing my wilderness jacket so we accepted him as a person because he could no longer be a victim!
Not going to lie, Pot Belly Pig was not the first and isn’t to be the last living species to crawl onto our campus and be forced to accept our love. And, as the newest member our our community we decided he needed a tour of the campus – which pretty much consisted of us walking around talking about our new lives with Pot Belly Pig and deciding where to sit. During this, we then came across a – I shouldn’t say – “prissy” therapist who we will call Oval. We FOR SURE thought Oval would squirm or scream but no, no, no…rather we had a quite interesting conversation on what brought Pot Belly Pig to us and what his life was like. We all agreed he was a Veteran and probably served in the Garden, but then honorably discharged when he was damaged by a tomato bomb. (Conditions: broken antenna and a perma case of the “stink-eye”. I thought since he probably had PTSD, Oval should take him on as a client. She felt that Pot Belly Pig would do better with a Praying Mantis therapist ’cause they could “relate better” … cop out!
Now at this point of my story…my point is the end, while finishing the tour, we came at last to a group of squeamish boys. Too easy of a target! The natural reaction was to transform our new friend into a bomb and launch him into their circle. Ah yes, we finally got the reaction necessary and all it took was a little sacrifice on Pot Belly’s behalf. Georgia and I then left that commotion, and our Pig, to proceed in finding the perfect place to sit.
…I must say, the weirdest part of the whole ordeal though, was being asked to write about it!
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?
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. http://www.discoveryacademy.com/videos/index.php?video=Janeen_Martin_Therapist
You may have hated us, then loved us, but have you “liked” us? In honor of our new Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DiscoveryAcademyUtah, we’re giving you a chance to enter to win an e-reader.
Just “like” us on our new page, DiscoveryAcademyUtah, and tell us why here on our blog and you could end up winning an e-reader.
Here are the official rules:
1. Like us on Facebook – Discovery AcademyUtah – and post a comment here about why you like us.
2. Post your comment here between April 1 and May 1, 2012.
3. No purchase necessary.
4. Winners may not be Ascent employees or family members of any Ascent employees.
5. Winners chosen at random and will be notified by email.
Thanks for being part of the Discovery Academy family and good luck! We can’t wait to hear from you.
Many people see their experience at Discovery Academy as an isolated intervention that stands alone from other attempts at family healing. In fact, enrollment at Discovery Academy is often part of a continuim of care that helps troubled teens find their way.
For example, some students come to Discovery after having completed a wilderness therapy experience. Discovery Academy therapists and staff respect the accomplishments of those students. For these students, therapy begins where they left off in wilderness. Academy therapists work closely with wilderness or other prior placement professionals to help the student build on their wellness momemtum.
Private therapy practitioners also become part of the Discovery Academy therapy team. Some have been under the care of a therapy professional in their home environment. If the parents wish, Discovery therapists can routinely include a student’s therapist at home in clinical consultations that keep private providers aware of the student’s progress and struggles. This kind of collaboration helps create a smooth transitiion for follow-up care once the student returns home.
Discovery’s aftercare program sets the stage for this transition. If the family chooses, their student’s therapist can provide two in-home sessions once the student returns home. An experiential activity that involves both parents and child is part of this aftercare visit. In addition, parents and student process with their therapist about the activity, the transition home, and other issues of concern.
Discovery Academy understands a student’s therapy journey doesn’t just begin when he or she walks through the doors. Their journey to wellness, like life itself, is an on-going effort at understanding and executing. A student is best served by committed parents and a network of caring professionals that can serve as a reminder and a resource for positive life skills.