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Showing posts from 2013

Oxbow Academy – Wins Telly Award for Best Teen Documentary

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Self Harm and the Process of Healing

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By Stephen C. Schultz 

With three daughters of my own, it’s always a moving experience to see and listen to teen girls in therapy. I am often saddened by the emotional struggles that these girls have endured in their short life times.
Some are forced to deal with grown up problems way too early through experiences with abuse, trauma, substance use and even self harm. Many times these issues are complicated with symptoms of depression or anxiety. There is something troubling when a teenage girl has a hard time seeing a reason to live.


I recall in the early 1990’s, working at a psychiatric hospital as the admissions and marketing director. I was in my office one evening and got a call from a local therapist. 
This therapist said; 
“Hi Steve, I have a female teen, 18 years of age. We were working through some of her trauma when she asked to use the bathroom. She left my office and did not come back in to finish her session. I sent my receptionist in to check on her and she was in the st…

The Positive Influence of Books

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Guest Blog  By Ryan C. Schultz Age 19
There have been many books that I have read that have helped to influence the person I have become and the way I live my life.  I have noticed that teens and young children spend so much time with their games and handhelds that they rarely read books anymore.
If you are a parent of young children or teens, these are some books that you may find helpful in getting your kids to read more. You can even have them read this post…maybe they will pay more attention if it’s not their parent suggesting they read more.


These are a few of the books that have had an impact on my life: Curious George, The Dumb Bunnies, Spot, The Thief Lord, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, Lessons for Life, The Traveler’s Gift,One Shot, and Dead or Alive.
Curious George fed my desire for adventure.  I would read those books about a curious monkey who had all these cool adventures everyday.  When I was little I lived for the adventure or exploration of anything. I often went f…

The Business of Reliable Third Party Endorsements

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By Stephen C. Schultz

My 16 year old daughter appears to have some talent and skill around volleyball. She is a good athlete period. But, she has a passion and desire about volleyball beyond her years. She has aspirations to play in college and has demonstrated the maturity, motivation, drive and focus needed to get her there.


I was attending a parents meeting sponsored by the school district about the process of college recruiting and how to navigate not only the rules, but the politics. It was interesting to say the least. The presenter said that college coaches rely heavily on “Reliable Third Party Endorsements” to determine if they even want to take a look at an athlete.
If athletic scholarships are being provided, that coach is essentially “purchasing” that athlete. The estimated costs associated with a single full ride athletic scholarship is somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000. Parents and athletes often make the mistake of thinking that the scholarship is there to entic…

The Roller Coaster of Life

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By Stephen C. Schultz

Over the last month I have been privy to some conversations by parents who are in the unfortunate position of having their sons in a therapeutic residential setting. No parent should have to go through this experience. However, in today’s society it is more needed and more frequent than most people are aware.
These conversations were heartfelt and emotional. In fact, some of the emotions felt by the parents were reaching a heightened and heated level. It started me thinking…which isn't always a good thing!
If I can share an example I had with my family, it may serve to provide some structure for how I express my thoughts around this situation. It also provides some principles that may apply throughout our lives.


My family and I were at Disneyland and we waited in that eternal line for the roller coaster; “Screamin”. My youngest daughter Emma and I happened to be placed in the front seat. She had a sparkle in her eye and a grin on her face… while I was fill…

Wilderness Therapy Assists International Students

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Guest Blogger Steven DeMille, LCMHC, PhD (Candidate)
Therapist – RedCliff Ascent


Wilderness Therapy provides many opportunities for teens and young adults to have life altering experiences. With an increase in international students attending school in the U.S., RedCliff Ascent has seen an increase in international students over the years.




These students come to RedCliff because they are struggling in their current academic setting or suffering from some emotional concerns that are getting out of hand. Please find below some helpful points associated with international students and RedCliff Ascent


·Wilderness therapy has a strong history as a character building intervention, which supports academic success.
·Emotional distress is a major contributor to failure in school.
·OutdoorBehavioral Healthcare (OBH) originally emerged as an intervention for struggling university students. It assisted in the development of the student’s emotional growth, resilience and self-discipline.
·Wilderness ther…

When international students begin to struggle

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By Stephen C. Schultz


“Making the decision to send him to the other side of the world to an American desert was not an easy decision; we now know that it was the best decision we have ever made in our lives.” Sandra - UK Parent
Discovery Academy, as well as our sister programs, have seen an increase in foreign students needing the very specialized educational opportunities we offer. Over the last few years, we have assisted students from the UK, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Brazil, Russia, France, Bermuda, Dubai, Guatemala, China and Spain to name a few.  
The students we work with struggle with an emotional concern of some kind and find themselves in the culturally embarrassing position of failing or dropping out of school. Often these students struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders or substance use. Concerns with technology use and abuse of “Gaming” and "Pornography" have increased over the last few years.  It may also be a complicated combination of two or more…

Is the “News Media” trustworthy?

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By Stephen C. Schultz
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing ~ Edmund Burke
I don’t frequent bars very often…mainly because I don’t drink. However, last week was an exception. Not the drinking part, but the being in a bar part. Corned beef sliders, a coke and the World Series baseball game. It doesn’t get much better than that! The guy sitting next to me on my left started a conversation with me about his car and how upset he was that someone backed into him and scraped the bumper. He then started a dialogue about the quality of cars now as opposed to thirty years ago. The conversation was simply a one way conversation with rants about insurance, auto body repair shops and his disappointment that he wasn’t headed to Hawaii this year…since every year at this time he is in Hawaii. I kept trying to turn back to the gentleman on my right, since he was the reason I was there in the first place. I was hosting a producer, Dan Frankenberg, from Special Edi…

A New Adventure for RedCliff Ascent

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By Stephen C. Schultz

For an organization that specializes in primitive living, the new age of technology is somewhat elusive. The idea of a digital newsletter and a blog are daunting tasks, but necessary. There are a few of us that got together to discuss what we wanted to accomplish through this new medium RedCliff was embarking on.



There was a lot of discussion about the “Marketing” benefits of newsletters and sending them out to everyone. There were discussions around collecting email addresses and managing email lists from the general public. We talked about different strategies to use the newsletter and blog as a way to generate new contacts and also as a way to increase the number of students we enroll in the program.

However, true to form for RedCliff, the discussion soon turned back to the students and families we have served over the years. We came to the conclusion that we did not want this newsletter and blog to serve the purpose of “Marketing”. We wanted this effort to…

My House Has Stars

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By Amanda Schultz
Written at Age 12      

My house is my sanctuary. Safe. Quiet. Home. A place where nature is overwhelming. Where every screech, scream, buzz, peep, squawk, whine and whistle means something different to everyone. My house is a log cabin, built by hand-and love-in the heat of summer. You can tell that it has been there for a long time, and will still be there for even after I grow old. The wood is scarred and worn, but it is strong. As the sun rises, so do I, the pitter-patter of my feet echoing through the house as I rush outside to greet the sunshine. So bright I have to look away, it warms my cold fingers and fills me with happiness. A gentle breeze rustles my hair and tickles my face, waiting for me to chase after it. I almost do, but the savory scent of crispy bacon forces me back inside. Breakfast is heavenly. Fluffy pancakes and fried fish caught fresh yesterday. Dad takes me fishing. We go out in the rusty, old rowboat and just float. My dad handles the oars, the s…

The Goal...Progress not Perfection

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Guest Blogger
Ryan C. Schultz Age 19

It is important to know that you don’t need to be perfect to be successful in whatever you do.So often in today’s world, perfection seems to be the goal. You need to realize that even the slightest progress is still progress and you are getting better.Setting goals is a good way to keep track of your progress.Every time you achieve a goal, you get more confident and motivated. You feel accomplished and develop a desire to achieve other goals you have set for yourself.

When I was playing baseball, I wanted to work on my swing. I felt I needed to get better to be competitive. So, I set a goal and established a system for improvement. I would do the same routine every day.I would start out hitting wiffle balls off the tee. Then I would move on to baseballs. I would do a few buckets of each, swinging the bat with my left hand, then switching to my right, and then I would swing with both hands.Next I would do soft toss or flip toss to work on having a …

The International Reach of RedCliff Ascent

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I was sitting in my office the other day and got a call from a therapist at RedCliff Ascent. He mentioned to me that he had met with an international educational consultant last week at one of the RedCliff Ascent wilderness treatment program graduations. This particular consultant had come to the States from Russia to act as a translator for the family of the student who was graduating. He was helping the family get the student placed in a traditional boarding school after his graduation from RedCliff. This consultant mentioned to the therapist that he may have another student to enroll in RedCliff soon. I did a little research and it turns out that RedCliff has had three students from Russia over the last few months. RedCliff Ascent regularly has international students attend. I have actually been out in the backcountry and visited at different times with students from the United Kingdom, France, Bermuda, Israel, Australia, Singapore, Italy, Russia, Netherlands a…

Wilderness Treatment Provides Perspective

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By Stephen C. Schultz


Editors Note: This is another excerpt from some of the material that teens and young adults learn while at RedCliff Ascent. Students gain physical competency, develop emotional insight and demonstrate improved maturity. This particular segment provides a thoughtful perspective for teens and young adults who have been raised in relative comfort. Earth
Many “primitive” peoples considered the earth to be their true mother and the sky their father, and that there was a grandfather, (Creator) somewhere beyond it all.In this you can see a basic difference between the worldview of the old ones and of our own.They thought they belonged to the earth; we believe that the earth belongs to us.You wouldn’t cut off your mother’s hair, or drain out her life’s blood.You wouldn’t blow smoke in your fathers face, or poison his breath.Yet we have no hesitation in destroying anything that is merely a possession.We seem to have this notion that we can just run down to Walmart and get a…

The Fire Within – A Life Metaphor

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By Stephen C. Schultz
Editors Note: This is an excerpt from some of the material that teens and young adults learn while at RedCliff Ascent. Much of the work that is done by students is to gain physical competency, develop emotional insight and demonstrate improved maturity.
Fire
“In the time before this one, there was a great excitement in the sky country. It was the day of giving. All of the spirit people were going to receive a gift from the Creator, whatever they wanted.There was a lot of pushing and shoving (even some fighting), in the long line that led up to the lodge of the sky father. As each spirit approached the Maker, they knelt and asked for a gift, one that they thought might help them in the world below.Some wanted cunning, some strength, or keen eyes or ears. Some asked for the ability to run fast, to fly high, or to dig low. There were also those who wanted to live on the land, and those who wanted to live under the water. To each one was given according to their need, …

RedCliff Ascent - Did You Know?

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By Stephen C. Schultz



Did You Know?
RedCliff Ascent tracks the physical effects of each student when they enter our program. We keep a database of each student’s body mass index. We can demonstrate empirically that males loose about 5lbs of fat and gain about 7lbs of muscle mass throughout their stay. Females loose about 10lbs of fat and gain about 5lbs of muscle mass. Students are required to have a 3500-calorie per day diet. Each week the students BMI is updated and adjustments are made to diet as needed.Oh…and we have been doing this for the last 10 years! This means Educational Consultants and families can be assured there is no other program more sophisticated in maintaining the student’s nutritional health and well being than RedCliff Ascent.

Did You Know?
That RedCliff Ascent leads the industry in evidence based practices and outcomes. Of the eight OBHIC programs originally featured in Dr. Keith Russell’s research over eight years ago, students attending RCA demonstrated the high…

A Place Where Families Heal

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The sky was blue and the air was dry. There was a faint smell of pinion pines and cedar in the air. The girls, in their early teens, rushed down to the water’s edge. There were the usual joyful screeches and high pitched screams as they hopped and danced into the chilly water. With life jackets secured, they swam and splashed like every normal teenage girl swimming at the local lake. With three daughters of my own, it’s easy to see these teens at Discovery Ranch for Girls as simply friends and neighbors that my own kids hang out with. It’s only when you have knowledge of some of their very personal issues and poignant concerns that you start to understand just how different their life experience has been. Having struggled with adoption, self harm, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance experimentation, these teens have found themselves in an emotional state of mind and exibiting behaviors that warrants being placed with a residential treatment center l…