Troubled Teens "Fish" for solutions!

By Stephen C. Schultz


The sky was blue and a gentle breeze fluttered through the aspens in a wave like motion. The truck strained a bit as it wound its way up the mountain pass at 9000 feet above sea level. Shawn Brooks and I were headed to the annual camp out for the students at Oxbow Academy. Each year, the students and staff head to the mountains for week of camping, hiking and fishing. While group and individual therapy still takes place throughout the week, it provides a more relaxed atmosphere for students and staff to interact.


 We pulled off the highway onto a dirt road that wound up the hillside to where the camp was set up. As we approached, there was a group of students and staff playing a game of “horse shoes”. I got out of the truck and walked towards the big tarp that covered the cooking/food area. As I approached, four or five students came running towards me with a stringer of fish. They were so excited and a couple of boys started cleaning the fish while a couple more stoked the fire. They were going to have their fish for lunch.


The look on these boys’ faces and the excitement they demonstrated wasn’t due to the fact they were having fun, and they certainly were, but it was due to the fact that they had attempted something difficult, mastered it, and were successful. There is a sense of accomplishment and joy when you develop competency in a difficult task. The other thing that was fun to see is that these kids were simply being kids having kid experiences.  It’s sad to think that there needs to be a place like Oxbow Academy, but to the parents of these boys who have struggled with sexual trauma, sexual abuse, NLD, attachment and aspergers issues at such a young age, it has been a relief and an opportunity to redirect the lives of these young impressionable teens.

Comments

Louise Slater said…
Fishing is a really fun pastime that I have done many times with my dad. It is a wonderful way to be outdoors, near water, and learn about both patience and nature.

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