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Something about work is good for the soul

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The banging on my bedroom door was sudden and loud. I was jolted out of my sleep, eyes wide open but seeing nothing. My head turned from side to side in an effort to make sense of the thunderous noise. No, this was not one of those slow, groggy wake ups. This was a fight or flight, increased heart rate, and covers flung off type of wake up!

Still dazed with confusion and now sitting on the edge of my bed, the door knob started to turn. Then my dad poked his head in the door and said,
“Steve, get up! Get up now! You’re going down to Oregon Rubber Company to work today!”
I thought I was going to spend the day in the back pasture cutting up fallen trees with my dad. I turned to look at the clock next to my bed and I had to wipe the sleep from my eyes before it came into focus.
Thoughts raced through my head,
“5:30am! 5:30am on a Saturday no less! Doesn’t my dad know that a sixteen year old adolescent boy needs his rest? Apparently not!”
As my dad stepped in the …

Trust and Respect - The Value of RedCliff Ascent

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The fire has almost died. The embers are glowing a light orange with grey ashes sneaking up around them. Some of the other students are getting ready to slip into their wiggy’s. He could sit here all night, just looking at the stars. They don’t look this bright at home. Everything seems clearer out here. He looks across the fire where Scott is sitting. Scott, or Medicine Bull as he is known, gives him a head nod and asks how he is doing on his fires. He remembers the first time he busted a fire with only his bow and drill set. Scott showed him the way. Scott never makes him talk. Through his example he simply encourages him to try.


RedCliff students learn firsthand the power of teamwork and the importance of individual contribution. They also learn they can count on their counselors. Staff members eat, dress, hike and otherwise live in the back country no differently than the students they lead. The result is the development, over time, of mutual trust and respec…

The Healing Nature of Art and Healthy Relationships

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By Stephen C. Schultz



The white lines zipped passed at a strobe light pace. The song, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey played on my car stereo. Traffic was heavy, but still moving fast at a pace between 75mph and 80mph.



I was on my way to Discovery Academy. DA is a therapeutic/clinical boarding school for students who are preparing for the transition back home. These teens have been making steady progress throughout their very personal therapeutic journey. They have all dealt with some pretty difficult concerns. Many of the teens are working through clinically complicated family situations that include depression, anxiety, self harm, trauma, attachment, substance use or any combination of these or more. These teens have demonstrated courage, determination, sacrifice, insight and resilience as they move through the process of growth and healing.

This particular day I was on my way to a meeting being held in the conference room at DA. I was walking through the parking lot…

Addiction...Recovery...Sobriety - The Pathway to Healing

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By Stephen C. Schultz


Leaves fluttered to the ground as a crisp wind bit my cheeks. The tears welling up in my eyes were not based in emotion, but the chill in the air. The small creek to my left meandered down the canyon. The soft gurgling sound of running water as it crosses over ageless boulders is like music to my ears. A flock of Mallards bob their heads and glide effortlessly in the current as the water swirls into a back eddy just around the next curve. This is truly a "Place of Peace".



For many families and individuals alike, finding a place of peace seems to be a fleeting proposition. Whether it's a teenager, husband or wife, addiction is no respecter of person or societal status. Addiction doesn't discriminate. Addiction will bring emotional pain, family discord and misery to everyone it touches.



Addiction is a lier. It tells us there is no problem. It tells us we can handle it. It seduces us into thinking that any problems or personal issues are not our d…

When giving up on your teen is not the solution!

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By Stephen C. Schultz



We’ve all been there! Whether you have experience in a private therapeutic practice, a hospital setting, educational consulting or other residential treatment environments, we have all expended energy and additional resources in dealing with a student, patient or client who is headed toward a bad outcome. Every therapeutic environment has a certain percentage of their clientele that struggles.


One of the main culprits is the student's inability to connect...connect with peers; connect with parents; connect with adults and authority figures. Most importantly, they struggle to authentically connect with themselves through a healthy therapeutic process. These students are often considered “Treatment Resistant”. The students enrolled at Connections find themselves being transitioned from their current treatment program or environment and needing a higher level of clinical care.
For this reason, the “Connections” program administered through Discovery Academy was cre…

Why do we do what we do?

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By Stephen C. Schultz 


(Editor's Note: This is an email I received from Scott Schill at RedCliff Ascent yesterday morning. It reminded me that a very wise man and co-founder of our organization once said; "...yeah, no one comes back to visit the company that helped them...they come back to visit the people!")





Hey Schultz,

In the fall of 2001, I went to the field with my little boy Colton. He was 5 at the time. I came to a group hiking near Mt. Springs and we stopped to go visit with them. Colton held my finger as we walked through the sagebrush to the group. A new girl in the group wanted to talk to me so we stepped aside and she said; 
"Mr. Medicine Bull sir, I've been here 4 days and no one has come by to get my laundry." 


It was hard not to laugh. I told her she would be ok and to stay positive. In those days, the only way a student got clean clothes was by taking them off and washing them or by wearing them out and getting new ones. 
This young lady went on t…

Lessons Lived are Lessons Learned #2

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By Stephen C. Schultz




I stepped out through the door and noticed a crispness in the air. The leaves are changing, the evening light is slowly fading and we are left contemplating this last year.




I was on my way to visit Oxbow Academy with some therapeutic program admission professionals on a tour. We were engaged in the normal "Road Trip" banter and general conversation that makes its way into an hour long trip in the car.
The conversation turned to work, job responsibilities and company culture. One of my colleagues made a statement that stuck with me. It was a normal comment that is common at virtually every place of business. 




She said; "...yes, but they need to be held accountable."
I thought about this for a second and then responded;
"So...what is the difference between holding someone accountable and having a culture of accountability? Is there a difference?"
We went on and had a great conversation. In fact, this is a great principle to discuss not only a…

"Good 'ol Days" - Fact or Fiction?

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The ’72-’73 school year was looking to be a good one! With the wind whistling through my hair, I coasted down City View Street on my green Schwynn Stingray headed to school at Westmoreland Elementary. Even though it had been a couple of weeks, I was feeling comfortable and getting settled in Mrs. Mansells third grade class.


I came to a stop at the corner of 18th and City View and waited for the light to change. The school was directly across the street.I stepped off the curb and into the cross walk. Once I was safely across, I rode on to the space behind the gym where the bike racks were.
I took the combination lock off my bike and rotated the tumblers to 9399 and pulled the green vinyl coated chain apart and ran it through the front tire and around the bike rack. I put the chain back together and rolled the tumblers to random numbers. This was the routine just about every day, rain or shine, for many of the students living in Eugene, Oregon.


There are young kids al…